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Good leaders never stop learning. One way I continue my development is to uncover what’s worked for others. The Columbus Chamber’s CEO Insights series provides a platform for some of our region’s brightest leaders to share their ideas and the stories behind their successes and challenges.

Most recently, I enjoyed the highly engaging CEO Insights discussion with Darci Congrove of GBQ, a top tax, accounting and consulting firm. Darci has been with GBQ for two decades, and became a partner in the firm in 2003. She was elected managing director in 2010. Not only has she led the firm through growth, she is recognized as a community leader, as well. Here are some highlights from her conversation with the Chamber’s Don DePerro.

Hire for Personality

While accountants may be stereotyped as being introverted, as part of the professional services industry, they also need to develop strategic relationships with their clients. At GBQ, they understand they are in a high-touch, intensely client-service focused business. So, in addition to hiring for accounting skills and experience, they look for maximum personality.

Address Gender Pay Equity and Family Issues

Gender pay equity is a top commitment for GBQ. Right now, four of 27 partners are women. They will continue to evolve, and will do so not only by focusing on needs of women, but of families.

Strive for Innovation

Consultants must step out of the box and become strategic advisors to their clients. Darci says the key to innovation in the accounting profession is to learn from the data they have and use it to inform the ways they advise their clients. That way, they are able to draw meaningful trends and insights from data, and they train their team to adapt and do new things.

Engage in the Community

Excited people do better work and take better care of their clients, so little things set the tone for success. The team members at GBQ want to be a part of something bigger. Community engagement begins as soon as they walk through the door. During onboarding, each associate chooses a cause that they are passionate about. GBQ helps by supporting and subsidizing the cause.

Darci advises others to find what’s meaningful in both your work and your life. They can’t be separate.

For strategies on how to develop a leaderhip identity, download my ebook.

* Photo courtesy of the Columbus Chamber.

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