“When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind.” – Dr. Wayne W. Dyer
Perhaps nothing sums up Sean Turner’s personal philosophy toward life and work better than that precept. The quote is scrawled in chalk on a tiny blackboard hanging in his family’s kitchen, where it serves as a daily reminder to treat people with the utmost kindness and respect.
With that mindset, Sean is the perfect person to head up CFGI’s burgeoning Washington, DC, office and serve as its Managing Partner. What started as a one-man operation has grown by leaps and bounds since Sean single-handedly opened the office in 2018, quickly building out its headcount and client portfolio.
But let’s back up. To understand why Sean was tapped to lead CFGI’s DC office, we have to take a closer look at his career, his journey and how he got here.
From the Massachusetts Bay to the Beltway
Growing up outside of Boston, Sean didn’t get his first taste of DC life until his senior year at the University of New Hampshire. He was accepted into the esteemed Washington Center program and spent a semester working at a small investment bank based in Washington.
He instantly fell in love with the area and, in particular, its residents. As the nation’s capital, the city draws in people from all over the country and from all walks of life. And Sean is, first and foremost, a people person.
“You get exposed to a lot of different perspectives and points of view,” he says. “It really opened my eyes during the 4 months I spent down here.”
Sean jumped at the first opportunity to move down to Washington and start working in public accounting. He joined BDO in 1994 and followed a colleague over to Coopers & Lybrand in 1996, staying on through the firm’s merger with Pricewaterhouse. After cutting his teeth with BDO and PwC for 7 years, Sean went on to help build a regional consulting firm targeting the DC region.
All of that DC love doesn’t mean he’s forgotten his Boston roots, of course. He’s still a diehard Bruins fan (although, he’s since adopted the Caps as his No. 2 team). He even coaches his son’s travel hockey team.
It seems that no matter what Sean gets involved with, he’s always building and managing teams composed of the best and brightest.
Bringing the CFGI culture to DC
It was around the start of the 2000s that Sean first met Nick and Shane from CFGI, but it would be another 15 years before he joined the CFGI team himself.
Then, a couple of years ago, The Carlyle Group acquired CFGI, and everything changed. CFGI was growing – and fast. The partners wanted to take their regional success and build out a national network. To do that, they would need like-minded professional service veterans who knew how to tap into local markets and build a strong culture from the ground up.
When CFGI decided to open a DC office, Sean’s name rose to the top of their dream-hire list. He had the industry expertise, local experience and Big 4 pedigree needed to hit the ground running. Sean used his networking connections to quickly build a team of intelligent, skilled and highly qualified consultants.
But he’s not done expanding CFGI’s DC presence. Not even close. Sean spends a lot of time vetting potential new hires and making sure he brings only the best of the best onboard.
He works hard to instill CFGI’s core principles and values into the DC office. Every member of the team comes from a Big Four firm and gives it their all, day in and day out.
“Your team of professionals – those are the most important resources for the firm,” Sean says.
Laying the foundation for national expansion
Of course, Sean also devotes a large chunk of his day to business development and nurturing client relationships. As a partner, he manages several accounts himself, giving each client his undivided attention and personal touch.
Time and again, his approach goes back to that chalkboard quote hanging in his kitchen:
“I’ve always tried to handle things with my clients and other professional relationships with that in mind,” he says. “In the end if you can provide expertise with humility, you’ll do alright.”
That commitment has paid off: CFGI’s Washington, DC, office has doubled in size – both in terms of personnel and client accounts – each year since 2018.
But Sean isn’t slowing down anytime soon. He fully expects his team to continue growing at that pace for the foreseeable future.
So, what keeps him going at full steam? In short, it’s the people. Every day, Sean looks forward to working with folks on both sides of the client-consultant relationship.
“The people element is really what motivates me,” he explains. “The time we get to spend together as colleagues is phenomenal. And being able to help clients with their pressing needs is ridiculously rewarding. It’s one of the things that has meant the most to me throughout my career. It keeps me motivated and inspires me.”
Personable, humble and whip-smart, Sean is one of a kind. We’re lucky to have him spearheading things down in DC.