Our Stories

Building New Confidence

Accomplished consultant gains skills to achieve even more

Nathan Rightmer
Customer Service Manager, Innovatia, New Brunswick, Canada

Vanderbilt Executive MBA 2019

As he describes it, Nathan Rightmer has “a rich background in helping high-risk industries operate more safely and efficiently.” What does he mean by “high-risk industries”? He started as a nuclear engineer in the U.S. Navy, operating the reactor on a wartime aircraft carrier.

When he returned to civilian life, Nathan worked on improving operating procedures and human performance for commercial nuclear power-generating facilities. Then, he consulted across a range of industries, from oil and gas to biotech and pharma. He expanded his experience to sales, business analysis, product management, and project management.

In his current role with Innovatia—he works from his home in Franklin, Tennessee—Nathan supports innovation in sales, product development, and operations. He creates new service offerings and is responsible for their pricing, margins, and scalability.

For all his experience and responsibility, however, Nathan “lacked confidence to take the next step” and build his own company, he says. “I realized I was weak in finance, accounting, and data-driven decision making.” Not any more: Nathan says he saw a big return on his investment while still in the program. In building out two new service offerings for Innovatia, the NPV and IRR tools he learned in finance proved instrumental for a data-driven approach to selecting the right offerings to develop. To price the offerings, he drew on what he learned about fixed and variable costs and about the dynamics between value, price, and cost. What he learned in Innovation helped him better understand customers’ pain points, and he relied on Marketing to develop the right messaging.

“Without these tools,” he says, “I used to go off instinct. With the knowledge of how to apply each one in the right context, I have confidence that we’re heading in the right direction. For me, this has been an absolute game-changer. I approach problems in a completely new way and feel better about the solutions I’m implementing.

“I approach my work and my life now with heightened confidence. I feel it in how my co-workers respond to my leadership in the workplace. And now I have the confidence to set a path to my ultimate goal of owning my own business.”

For me, this has been an absolute game changer.