Support in mobility and chasing a dream

Julie Hopkins’ story


Space needle Strangely, moving from Dallas to Seattle still seems like a dream. You’d think it would feel very real after months of preparing ourselves, our kids and colleagues; packing up and saying good-byes; setting out on a three-day drive; unpacking; and finding our way around a new neighborhood, city and region.

It is a dream, and it has come true thanks to serious talks between my husband and me, lots of research, a decisive family vacation to the area, and the flexibility shown to me by Grant Thornton.

Moving from Dallas to Seattle still seems like a dream. But it has come true, thanks in large part to Grant Thornton’s flexibility. We love Dallas. The stereotypes are true — friendly people, great cost of living, the state’s deeply ingrained pride and everything really being bigger in Texas. But as great as Dallas is, we just felt drawn to the Pacific Northwest. It was partly because of family history, partly to experience more of the country and show our kids how to make choices and adjustments in life, and partly because we couldn’t help falling in love with the area.

Julie Hopkins with family at Dallas    
Our family loves Dallas, but we were drawn to the Pacific Northwest.              

With all this in mind, I sat down with Grant Thornton leaders to discuss the possibility of my relocation. They were very supportive. No one questioned the fairly fast timing I proposed. They were concerned that my workdays might need to start earlier because of time zones. No problem, I told them; as a mom of young children, I’m used to early mornings. With this assurance that I’d be fine with a shifted schedule, leadership gave me a complete thumbs-up.

This sensitivity to individuals’ ideas is one of the important things I value about Grant Thornton. The firm appreciates employee inspiration to try something new, professionally or personally. You’re supported in finding a practical way to chase your dreams. I found a way to chase my family’s dream. And in a win-win, I express my mutual appreciation at work — happy people tend to stay happily productive and engaged.

Cannon beach     Sunnies

By appreciating its employees, the firm is showing recognition of service. In my 11 years here, I’ve held multiple roles and moved up in the ranks. My current role is leader of the firm’s pursuit center of excellence, theStudio. My team serves as pursuit leaders and creates proposals that help articulate the firm’s best story and value to the client in compelling, differentiated ways that ultimately generate revenue. We help personalize messaging to specific C-suite buyers to address requests for audit, tax and advisory assistance. My team serves as pursuit leaders and creates proposals that help articulate the firm’s best story and value to the client in compelling, differentiated ways that ultimately generate revenue.

When a request is received, we assign a project manager/writer. This individual collaborates with the engagement team and our content team, and helps articulate our value proposition. The writer is responsible for researching the needs of the prospect/client and trends within the company’s marketplace. He or she works with team members as well as partners and other Grant Thornton professionals to answer essential questions such as these — What does the company care about, and what are its pain points? How will the company be affected by anticipated changes to the business landscape? Does the company need help in wide-sweeping areas or with specific strategic, operational or process issues? Exactly how can we work with the company to create solutions? I provide direction for the team, oversee the operations, share best practices, focus on continuous improvement/innovation and ensure that we’re aligned with the firm’s strategic goals.

Chicago crew     Bangalore teammates
Our international team works in different U.S. locations — Grant Thornton and home offices — and in Bangalore. We work at a fast pace, producing more than 200 proposals every month. In a given day, we could receive up to 20 requests, with fee potential from $10,000 to $10 million. Whatever the size, we conduct careful research, follow a consistent process and deliver a comprehensive response. Annually, our efforts add up to 2,400+ proposals with the potential to bring hundreds of millions of dollars to the firm.

The work is carried out by my talented national and international team of 30+ professionals; 20+ team members (plus our amazing contractor network) are in different locations in the United States, and 10 are in Bangalore, India.

Many of us, including me, work remotely. Being the only member of theStudio team in Dallas, I was in the office about 20% of the time. Now, in Seattle, I work 100% from my home office. There has been no business disruption. In fact, the team continues to deliver on a challenging workload and is rising to meet new goals to employ digital proposals, videos and self-service. Meeting our goals will make our center of excellence that much more effective. The firm’s flexibility allows the team to stretch and achieve new goals.

Julie Hopkins - working from home    
I’m facing a lot of exciting unknowns; Grant Thornton’s support helps make it possible to balance work and family.         

With a pressure-packed job, a new home and a new city, I’m facing a lot of exciting unknowns. Balancing work and family is always an interesting challenge, especially now. With Grant Thornton’s flexibility and support, I’m able to make it happen.

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