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A Personal (and Professional) Message of Thanks in this Season of Gratitude

I pondered whether or not to contribute yet another cliché-ridden note of thanks to the many posts, blogs and messages to that effect during this time of year. However, I realized that I truly am grateful for many things during this season of gratitude: my family, my friends, my colleagues, and the professional experience that Deloitte provided me for 38 years and needed to share my thoughts.

This is my first holiday season as a “retiree” from Deloitte. For almost four decades, at this time of year I was in the middle of planning for year-end audit engagements, negotiating fees, and generally working with my colleagues from first-year staff to other partners. This year, however, I am heavily involved in establishing my own consulting and advisory firm. It is both exciting and a bit scary at the same time.

While I could spend paragraphs on personal-level thankfulness (and which I greatly feel), this post deals with professional gratitude. My friends and colleagues know that I spent my entire professional career with Deloitte. I started on June 6, 1977 with Haskins & Sells, fresh from my MBA graduation a few weeks earlier. I stayed with the firm through at least one name change (to Deloitte Haskins & Sells), one major merger (with Touche Ross in 1989) and many significant changes to the firm and the profession. (The creation of the PCAOB under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 being the most significant to me.)

I had the pleasure during my career of working with the finest professionals one could ask for -- highly intelligent, motivated, dedicated, and ethical. We were taught that client service was our objective, our “raison d'etre,” while at the same time demanding that we act in an independent and ethical manner at all times. It was a fine balance -- serving clients and fulfilling our obligations to the public. A privilege and an obligation at the same time…each to be taken very seriously.

I also grew from a newbie with very little business experience to a seasoned, experienced businessperson. My clients initially included companies and organizations in the higher education, publishing, real estate, natural resources and consumer goods industries. Eventually, I became specialized in the investment management sector of the financial services industry. All along the way, there were mentors, advisors and teachers. I learned from all of them about what it means to be a part of Deloitte…and what it means to be a professional.

I also had the joy of seeing my younger team members over the years mature, evolve, learn, and succeed -- seeing my “children, grandchildren and great grandchildren” progress and grab that golden ring of partnership, if that were their desire. And, of course, many chose not to pursue that career path and have succeeded in private accounting positions and in other careers.

So, what is the point of this note? Well, simply, it is to express publicly how thankful I am for the professional career I have had so far. I’d like to think that I contributed to whatever success I may have had, but without a firm like Deloitte backing and supporting me, I would not have learned, matured or evolved in the way I did. We talk about “nature or nurture.” Well, Deloitte and its culture of ethics, learning, respect, and professionalism became part of my own DNA – and made me a better professional, and, yes, person.

So...thank you Deloitte...and thank you to those I have had the privilege to work with and for over the years. Mentors, colleagues, clients, and friends - you each have in some way affected me and remain with me to this day.

On a more personal level, I wish all a happy, healthy and safe Thanksgiving and holiday season – one of warmth, joy and love. And given the recent global events, one of peace.

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