Chief Listening Officer, John Anthony Smith, founded Conversant Group in July of 2009 as an outgrowth of his passion to cultivate people-focused business. Engaged on numerous projects and consultations with companies both large and small throughout his 26-year career, John Anthony understands the unique challenges of conducting business on a human-centric level – its strategy, quality, and process. He especially understands the practice of law, manufacturing, logistics, trucking, and construction, as he has served these types of firms’ technological and business needs since 1998.
John Anthony started his IT career in 1994, at the age of 14, at Thompson Machinery Commerce Corporation of Lavergne, TN. While working with Thompson Machinery, John Anthony was involved with the initial rollout of multiple industry-leading technologies including: Citrix Winframe, IBM NetStation, Window NT 3.51, Windows NT 4.0, Windows NT Terminal Services Edition, remote access via Shiva, ISDN Internet, and WebSense.
During his time at Thompson Machinery, John Anthony founded his first company, Computech, in 1996. In 1998, John Anthony consulted, while attending college, regional law, construction, logistics, trucking, and manufacturing firms at Systems Integrators Development Corporation (SIDC). After three SIDC acquisitions/mergers [Senator/Mayor Bob Corker acquired SIDC, renamed the company Stonefort Technologies, and subsequently sold it to a group called Freeliant], John Anthony decided to join another local consultancy that focused mostly on the practice of law and construction. In 2002 after a short stint as the IT Director of a local plaintiff law firm, he founded his second company, NetAlliant Technologies, which he subsequently sold in 2008. He then worked with a group of friends at Whit McIsaac’s Client Profiles & CRM4Legal. At Client Profiles, John Anthony worked with law firms all over the world. He cultivated long lasting friendships with his Client Profiles’ clients.
In 2009, he founded Conversant Group, a technology conglomerate based in Chattanooga, Tennessee, serving clients across North America.
John Anthony studied Computer Science at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and holds a degree in Organizational Management from Covenant College, Lookout Mountain, Georgia.
Some of his favorite quotes are:
- “If you don’t go, you can’t grow!” Bob Iger, CEO of the Walt Disney Company.
- “Success is not an entitlement. You must earn it every day!” Howard Schultz, Former CEO & Executive Chairman of Starbucks.
- “Don’t let the crazies grind you down.” Paul Krugman, NY Times Columnist & Economist
- “Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.” John F. Kennedy, 35th US President
- “Uncertainty must be embraced.” Unknown
- “A strategy of status quo is a strategy of death.” Bob Iger, CEO of the Walt Disney Company.
John Anthony is an outspoken advocate for privacy, history, and education. He is the father of three amazing children, and the husband of a talented wife. As all who know him can attest, John Anthony loves helping others, is passionate about most things, and loves learning.
As the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Conversant Group, John Anthony’s role is very dynamic. He leads Conversant Group’s leadership team by setting our corporate goals and strategy. He helps his direct team strategically align their groups to the overarching direction of the company. Further, John Anthony is a passionate and active servant to all Conversant’s stakeholders [Conversites as he likes to call us].
John Anthony sees it as his and our company’s duty to solve our customers’ complex problems and to protect their most valuable resources. You will often find John Anthony presenting to clients, talking tech with prospects and clients, engaging with our team, writing studies, supporting vendors, traveling, smiling, and reading. He loves to speak regarding bringing down the walls that divide us. He has built and continues to cultivate a culture of servant-heartedness, openness, acceptance, diversity, growth, relevance, and agility. As he likes to say, “I love our stakeholders, and I see it as my duty to allow them all to be their best selves. At Conversant Group, we have three basic high-level expectations: (1). Be you, (2). Provide excellent advice and service to our stakeholders, (3). Always be learning.”
He will often also say, “I will jump through fiery hoops for you.” That saying pretty much sums him up.
Like the Proclaimers sing, he would “walk five hundred miles and walk five hundred more just to be the man that walked a thousand miles to fall down at your door!”