Chief Financial Officer / Vice President, Finance, Panraven Inc., Cambridge, Mass., Age: 35
When W. Cecyl Hobbs took a summer internship at one of the oldest Black-owned law firms in Chicago, he didn’t know his career path would change forever. The experience awakened his desire to live and work in a major city and pursue a business-related career. Today, he’s the chief financial officer and vice president of finance at Panraven Inc., a Web 2.0 startup in Cambridge, Mass., but he insists that his greatest successes have yet to come. “Good work alone is not enough. It is increasingly as important for me to see and access the ‘right opportunities’ and to also develop a much broader professional network,” he says.
Hobbs previously held notable titles at Deloitte Consulting L.L.P. and IBM. From the mentorship of his father and the examples set by several accomplished uncles, he learned to approach his career with fortitude and tenacity. He graduated magna cum laude from Florida A & M University with a bachelor’s in accounting on a full academic scholarship and from Harvard Business School with an MBA.
“Seek excellence, vary your experiences and stay in touch with people,” he advises those younger than he. Following that advice, Hobbs is active in the community, serving, among other organizations, the Boston chapter of his fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha, and on the Young Professionals’ Advisory Board of the HIV Law Project. An avid music lover, he plays the drums and has performed at noteworthy venues, including the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Quote: “Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present.” – Marcus Aurelius
Favorite book/author: The Lucifer Principle by Howard Bloom
What actor should play you in a movie: Denzel Washington
Favorite sports team: U.S. Men’s National Soccer team
First Car: 1978 Firebird
First job: Cleaning churches for my father’s janitorial business
Number of countries visited: More than 10
Favorite charity: Boys & Girls Clubs of America
Other languages spoken: Some Hindi, Mandarin and German