Brian Kearney joined Tillable in October 2019 fresh off a successful run as a financial advisor with a well-known investment company.
Born and raised in El Paso, Illinois, Brian is no stranger to the farming community. His grandfather operated grain elevators in the area and his father put up grain bins, then later branched out into trucking. Brian recalls that his first job, at the age of 13, was baling hay and working with livestock.
After studying history at the University of Illinois, Brian found himself waiting to begin a training program with Edward Jones, so he spent eight months writing for the local paper while also selling ads.
Brian knew early on that he wanted to be an entrepreneur, so even after he finally became a financial advisor, he continued to look for interesting opportunities. “One venture capitalist I reached out to pointed me toward Tillable,” Brian says.
As he was deciding to sign on with Tillable, Brian says two things clinched the deal. “First, I believed in what the company was trying to do,” he says. But even more important was the challenge laid out for him by founder and CEO Corbett Kull.
“He said, ‘In everyone’s life, you have a few instances to really change your trajectory,’” Brian recalls. “’And this opportunity might be one of those for you, but that’s something you have to figure out on your own.’ Most CEOs would be pushy, trying to convince you this is the best place to be. But he wasn’t. He just said, ‘This could be—you need to figure it out.’”
Even though he grew up in a farming community, Brian says he was surprised to learn how much farmland is rented out and not farmer-owned.
A second surprise, he says, was even more unexpected. “There’s really no hierarchy here at Tillable, which is wonderful. During my interview, they said that would be the case, but I really didn’t expect it to be true. But it is—the company leaders value outside opinions.”