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Bryan Riggsbee ’94 Believes Empowering Others Will Lead to Success

The latest installment of the Wells Fargo Executive Leadership Series was held on January 30 and featured Brian Riggsbee, chief financial officer (CFO) and EVP of Myriad Genetics. Riggsbee is a ‘94 Poole alumnus with a Bachelor of Arts in accounting. The discussion with Riggsbee was led by Frank Buckless, Stephen P. Zelnak Jr. Dean of the NC State Poole College of Management.

Riggsbee joined Myriad Genetics, a molecular diagnostics company, in 2014 where they work continuously to understand the role that genes and proteins play in the onset, progression and treatment of diseases. Prior to joining Myriad Genetics, Riggsbee worked for Laboratory Corporation of America (LabCorp) for 10 years and was responsible for financial planning, analysis and treasury functions for the company. 

In addition to his bachelor’s degree from NC State, Riggsbee holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Master of Business Administration from Northwestern University. He is also a certified public accountant licensed in the state of North Carolina. 

During his time at NC State, Riggsbee was a student of Dean Buckless in his ACC 450 class on auditing. “Dean Buckless, the faculty and the college are some of the reasons I am where I am today,” said Riggsbee. “I would say without hesitation that my experience with coming to Poole College and NC State was one of the best experiences of my life.”

Key Highlights

1. Setting Your Path is Your Responsibility

Today, most students work towards internship opportunities to build their professional portfolio before graduation. Knowing what works for you as a student and as a professional will help you find the best career path. Riggsbee knew that a smaller big six environment with more guidance would work best in his favor for his first job.

“It really gave me the opportunity by going to a smaller office to experience a much broader portfolio of clients and gain exposure to other audit areas,” said Riggsbee. “The close-knit environment was my deciding factor.”

2. Have Diverse Experience

Along with his accounting background, Riggsbee used his background in political science and his MBA to drive his career forward. He recommends students diversify their portfolio with usable skills like data analytics, information technology or marketing to understand all aspects of the business.

3. Question the Objective 

“The common mantra of some entry-level jobs is to simply complete the work papers the exact way the person before you did without question,” said Riggsbee. “My piece of advice would be to question the purpose and the objective behind the work to help you grow as a person and as a professional.”

Understanding the meaning behind the work you are doing is crucial to understanding the big picture of a company. Finding a purpose in your work allows you to become motivated to set and achieve goals for yourself and the company.

4. Empower Others

Riggsbee described his managerial style as empowering and supportive of those around him. Allowing his employees to take responsibility for their own roles and make their own decisions builds trust and respect.

“Nothing happens without the team,” said Riggsbee. “Though cliche, I can’t accomplish everything by myself and I need a skilled, qualified team behind me to make decisions.”

5. Find the Right Mentor

When looking for a mentor, finding someone who takes an interest in being a mentor and in your success is key. The right mentor wants to help you grow as a professional and achieve professional goals.

“I have always taken a keen interest in helping my employees direct their career,” said Riggsbee. “I would be happy if an employee came into my office and told me they were leaving to become a CFO because I want to see them succeed.”