Martin Schlaeppi is retiring as our Chief Growth Officer at the end of May and will transition into the role of Managing Director for DHG Corporate Finance. Martin has had a profound effect on me and the entire firm in a number of ways, and I thought it only fitting that I recognize him and his many contributions this month.
I cannot recall many meetings with Martin that were not highlighted by The Rolling Stones’ “Start Me Up” ringtone cranking from his cell phone. It is a familiar sound that many of us have grown to love and expect when in the same room as Martin, but aside from his signature ringtone and the laughs that ensue, there are many things about Martin that I will carry with me after he moves on to his next role. These are just a few of the highlights.
Persistence in the Pursuit
First and foremost, Martin has taught us the importance of persistence in carrying out any and all pursuits - whether that is the pursuit of a client, a strategy or even a new partner candidate. And with persistence comes accountability - being accountable to our commitments to the firm. Persistence and accountability are the necessary ingredients to stay focused on our long-term goals and remain aligned with our mission, strategy and values.
Having the Right Players on the Team
Our talent acquisition process has truly evolved over the years in part due to Martin and his influence, especially at the partner level. He has taught me the importance of making sure we have the right leaders in place and the right players on our team to ensure successful growth. People think that growth is simply a result of winning new clients, but it actually begins a lot earlier than the initial client pursuit; it begins with talent acquisition. Growth happens when we hire or promote the right partner who then helps build the best team to go out and pursue that client. Martin has really infused this strategic talent acquisition philosophy into the firm and has helped fine-tune it to make sure it is successful. Once on-board, Martin would continue to coach and mentor these new partners, along with our firm leaders, encouraging them to set goals that were often higher than they could have imagined. He sees great potential in our partners and teams, and his love for them and the firm has been the driving force behind his continuous push to achieve more with each passing year.
Growing Strategically and Operating Profitably
While many people know Martin as being particularly strong in fostering growth, he is also one of the firm’s best practice operators. Martin has led many practices during his tenure, including offices, markets, regions, industries and service lines, and he has consistently delivered not just growth results, but strong overall operating results as well. Many of us have learned from him over the years, and this legacy will continue long after he steps down from his current role.
Martin has been very instrumental in helping us grow our advisory practices, about which he is very passionate. He has helped determine which service offerings are relevant and beneficial for our clients and how we can go out and grow those practices. From our Risk Advisory practice and our Private Equity group to our Transaction Services practice and many other advisory practices in the firm, we can really look to Martin as one of several key leaders who has helped us make great progress in these areas. Additionally, he has helped to further strengthen and grow our industries to make them significant on a national scale.
“Ringing the Bell”
Uniformly, the one thing leaders across the firm agree on is the fact that Martin loves to celebrate when we win. Not just himself, and not just one person, but the whole team - what he calls “ringing the bell.” That celebration and the uplifting fun that comes as a result is something he has instilled in all of us. No win is ever attributable to one person - a whole team wins and occasionally loses together. That notion of teamwork is one of the leadership principles that he has certainly engrained in me, and is at the foundation of ONE DHG.
Passing the Baton
Leading up to his retirement, Martin has spent a great deal of time with current and future leaders to help them develop their own unique ways of thinking and the confidence to make their own decisions. Tim York (Managing Partner of Industries) and John Roberts (Managing Partner of Services), who will be carrying on Martin’s hard work around growth, are passionate about continuing the discipline, accountability and process-driven thinking that Martin has taught them to help us continue to flourish as ONE DHG.
At the end of the day, Martin has taught us that while we are different people we have one thing in common; we want to build valuable careers with our people and help our clients achieve their goals while being successful from a performance standpoint. We will continue to “ring the bell” and will long remember meetings with quick bursts of “Start Me Up” after Martin steps down from his role as Chief Growth Officer. His legacy, wisdom and passion around ONE DHG will continue to influence and inspire all of us.