Development through coaching and teamwork

Tom Forse’s story

Appreciating a rich mix of people and placesCoach Todd and his appreciative coachee
In my three years at Grant Thornton, I’ve grown tremendously in my career because of the coaches and other leaders who’ve invested in my development, projects that have challenged me and colleagues who’ve become friends in and out of work.

Not long before college graduation in 2016, a friend who worked at the firm suggested I apply, telling me how much he enjoyed his job. I looked into it, applied and had a great interview with a senior manager, a principal and the managing partner — high-ranking people who are decision-makers and who invited me to pick their brains. It was different from other places where I’d interviewed with people only a couple of years older than me or a university recruiter. In the Grant Thornton interview, I was able to get a feel for what the job would entail and who my Pittsburgh office co-workers would be. I also received the message that my time was important to these senior leaders. When I was offered the job, I was certain it would be right for me.

Appreciating a rich mix of people and placesGrowth and development heading in the right direction
After graduation and joining the Business Applications practice, I decided to take the CPA exam, even though I wasn’t hired as an accountant. The managing partner in our office told me the firm wanted to help me follow up on this interest and would cover my study materials. And when I passed the exam, there was even a bonus. It was a great start to my career.

In my years at Grant Thornton, I’ve had two coaches, each of whom has worked directly with me on client projects. The personal connection and collaboration add tremendous meaning to our relationship; my coach has known exactly what I’ve accomplished and what more I’d like to do. The coaching structure at the firm encourages this kind of relationship, providing for periodic check-ins that are comfortable and laid back, with practical feedback for professional development. Because my coaches have been so familiar with me and my individual style,
Appreciating a rich mix of people and placesOur office league-champion softball team
I feel trusted to do my work well, with no one watching over my shoulder and no micromanagement. I am able to exercise flexibility in my schedule, working remotely when it’s convenient. This is a huge benefit, especially because of travel to client offices. Some of them are across the country and one is a manufacturer based in Europe. All of my projects have taught me a lot; the international work was a whole different level of learning that I’ll always carry with me. As I return from each trip, I welcome the chance to work from home for a day or two. And then I’m ready to be back on the road or stop by the Pittsburgh office and catch up with everyone there.

Another aspect of flexibility that I appreciate is a healthy work-life balance. When I’ve requested a few days off for vacation, managers have actually urged me to take more time, saying I work hard and deserve it. This support means a lot to me. And because they take time off, too, they lead by example.

Appreciating a rich mix of people and placesTaking a break during our office Adopt-a-Block cleanup
Our leaders also take part in our outside-of-the-office activities. Many of us volunteer in the community through efforts such as fundraising walks. And as a team, we’ve adopted a section of the city highway; on a given Friday we head out for a cleanup after lunch. Then all of us — from a new-hire associate to our managing partner — are side by side, picking up trash and talking about anything and everything.

After joining my team in making this positive impact in the community, I’m ready on Monday to go back to making my mark at work.

Appreciating a rich mix of people and places
Appreciating a rich mix of people and places A big day for sweaters in the office
The best thing about my job is the people. A close second is the chance to work with interesting clients in a variety of environments.

I can’t say enough good things about the people I work with in my practice, nationally and locally. On any given project I could be working with colleagues from Denver, Austin, Miami, Minneapolis or my home office of Pittsburgh. The breadth of experience of colleagues from across the United States is a tremendous source of help during those times I have questions, run into roadblocks or am looking for a best practice. This amalgamation of insights, ideas and personalities focused on a common goal is an exciting approach to solving our clients’ challenges.

Appreciating a rich mix of people and placesHeading into the Dublin office
As a senior associate in the Business Applications practice, I work with a variety of teams to build client systems, and every day is different. My specialties are planning and budgeting, and I’ve had the opportunity to work on client projects in health care, manufacturing, banking, insurance, technology — all kinds of industries across the country and the world. I’m at client sites 70−80% of the time, which offers a lot to someone like me, who is still fresh out of school. I get to learn the ins and outs of many industries, and what life is like in other places, which is a pretty cool part of the job. And it’s a good schedule, since generally I’m traveling a few days during the week and not over the weekend. On Fridays I can choose to work from home or go into the office.

Appreciating a rich mix of people and placesA worthwhile stop in my working trip to Amsterdam
Appreciating a rich mix of people and placesTaking a break with my sister in my Ireland work trip
Over the last few months, I’ve worked on international projects and have taken three overseas trips to help meet project deadlines for a large manufacturer headquartered in Europe. During a trip to Dublin, my sister flew over to traverse Ireland with me for stunning natural sights and fun touristy spots.

BRG ALPFA career fairFriends from work at my cabin
I’m very thankful for these chances to experience new places. I can always get out to explore the flavor of the area, and sometimes it’s with a client, doing things like grabbing a beer and hot dog at a baseball game. Then when I’m back in my home office, it feels like a family is together. We enjoy each other’s company there and outside of work.

Spending my time with fantastic people in all the locations I find myself is the reason I’m glad to be exactly where I am.