Johnathan Prunty: Driven by excellence and relationship-building
Finding a fit: In his first six months at Wipfli, Johnathan has made a big impact.
Selling encyclopedias door-to-door might sound like an unrewarding slog to many college students, but Johnathan Prunty, now a healthcare consultant focused on business development at Wipfli, discovered a life-changing opportunity in the 13-hour-a-day summer job. With his knack for connecting with people, coupled with his natural perseverance, the sales job in Southern California was a perfect fit.
Lured by the possibility of making $10,000 in commissions in less than three months in 2005, Johnathan blew past that goal, earning $23,000 in the summer of 2005 after his freshman year at the University of Iowa, and well over $30,000 in each of the two summers to follow.
By the time Johnathan landed at Wipfli last February, he had gone on to become an indisputable rock star in medical device sales, having managed an $11 million product portfolio across 13 hospitals, and later as an enterprise account executive selling AI and other technologies to healthcare organizations. While working, he earned a tech-focused MBA at the Illinois Institute of Technology in 2022 and decided to expand his professional sights again.
How Wipfli stood out
Johnathan began a full-court job hunt that eventually brought him to Wipfli — and he couldn’t be more excited.
“I had offers from Microsoft and Salesforce, but I didn’t want to be one of 100,000 employees or be restricted to selling one type of product,” he said.
During the interview process, Johnathan did his own due diligence on the firm, which solidified his feelings that Wipfli would be a great place to land. The firm’s core values, especially excellence, caring and perseverance, connected well with his own.
“As they were vetting me, I was vetting them. The culture here was what I was looking for in terms of openness to ideas. People seemed genuinely happy,” he said. “After you talk to 15 different people and they all say similar things about what it’s like to work here, I was sold.”
Global explorer: Johnathan paused his interview process with Wipfli last winter to complete a long-planned trip to Antarctica, the seventh continent he has visited.
Leveraging his background in the healthcare, medical device and technology fields, Johnathan explained, “I’m gaining experience in holistic solutions for the industry, from tax and audit to organizational performance, cybersecurity to data and analytics.” He was excited recently for the chance to present an overview of the state of healthcare for leaders across the firm.
The journey from Englewood
Johnathan is based at Wipfli’s downtown Chicago office, just 8 miles and a world apart from the Englewood neighborhood where he grew up on the city’s South Side.
“I knew from a young age I wanted to make it out of the neighborhood. But there were no expectations that I would go to college,” said Johnathan, the middle of five children. “A lot of people I knew growing up were destined for jail or death. Fortunately, I was not drawn to the drugs, alcohol or gangs that many people succumb to. I was determined to create my own destiny.”
In addition to his close-knit family, Johnathan said his curiosity, sense of humor and high-energy personality helped keep him on a positive path. “I played basketball in high school, and I was pretty good, so that helped me meet people around the city. I got more serious about school by my junior year of high school,” he said. His mom, who worked as a team lead at a major retail store, was a strict and caring single parent and a consistent cheerleader.
Strong roots: Johnathan at 29 and already a rock star salesman with some of his biggest supporters. From left, his mother Shirley and sisters Naleasha and Tyler.
Although Johnathan never had a formal mentor to encourage him during his teen years, he has been a committed volunteer through a Chicago nonprofit called PEAK that helps prepare high school students with untapped potential for bright futures and lives of leadership and service. He also serves on the board of the Catholic high school where he has been a mentor to a student for the past three years.
Within a month of arriving at Wipfli, Johnathan was forging more connections, representing the firm at a variety of speaking engagements. He says he is always eager to say yes to those opportunities, which call upon the presentation skills he honed as a long-time member of Toastmasters International, a nonprofit that helps people become proficient public speakers.
This spring, he was a panelist at the Driehaus College of Businessand the Junior Achievement program at two Chicago public high schools, talking about his own personal and professional journey, as well as the culture and opportunities at Wipfli.
At one of the visits, he met a manager for a national relationship-building program called iMentor and introduced her to Embrace, Wipfli’s business resource group that advocates for diverse perspectives with respect to race, color, religion and national origin. One of Embrace’s aims is to build stronger connections with promising high school students who would be first-generation college graduates and educate them about the consulting and accounting professions.
His eagerness to take on the speaking gigs earned him Wipfli Way recognition by the firm, and one led to Johnathan’s first adjunct teaching job this fall, a business development course based on the teachings of Aristotle, at Dominican University in River Forest, Illinois.
Johnathan is committed to advocating for diversity, equity and inclusion at the firm, a value that serves as a strong indicator of the health of any organization. “It’s great to get a variety of experiences and opinions brought to the table,” he said. “It’s important to me as I grow my career to be able to continue to promote that diversity and be an ally for groups that may be underrepresented, whether it’s through Embrace, Wipfli Pride or other business resource groups. We will continue to increase our DEI footprint.”
His most high-profile engagement to date was emceeing TEDx Chicago last year. Impressed by his captivating hosting skills, the organizers quickly asked him back to host this year’s event in October.
The upcoming program, with the theme “We Dare,” features seven speakers on diverse, thought-provoking topics, including the science of motivation and the future of cancer. “When I applied last year to volunteer, I just wanted to help any way I could,” he said. “I hit it off with the director, built a relationship and he saw the value in my public speaking. I’m super excited to be back.”
Return engagement: Johnathan was invited back to host TEDx Chicago in October after his successful hosting debut in 2022.
And this year, he was able to enlist Wipfli as a TEDx Chicago sponsor for the first time. “It means a lot to me that Wipfli is supporting it,” he said.
While Johnathan concedes it can get hectic juggling his regular work responsibilities with myriad volunteer responsibilities, he said he wouldn’t want it any other way. “I feel it’s my duty,” he said. “It gives me an opportunity to give back, connect and help others. I like sharing my perspective and my story.”
Going the extra mile for Wipfli has become his latest source of pride. “The firm has taken a chance on me by giving me a platform to represent myself on their behalf. It’s what I signed up for.”