Kent Satterfield: A (Slightly Different) Monk’s Tale

Just one week after retiring in 2017, former DHG Chair Kent Satterfield found himself growing mushrooms and scouring floors at a Trappist monastery near, where else, Moncks Corner, South Carolina. And it was one of the most meaningful times of his life. We recently talked with Kent about his ‘brotherly’ experience along with more of his remarkable career and retirement journey.


So how exactly did you wind up in a monastery?

It was actually part of my retirement transition plan. After 40 years of the demands of public accounting, I was looking for something that would force me to unplug and reflect. So, I spent 30 days with the monks at Mepkin Abbey, working on their Shiitake mushroom farm. I remember one day scrubbing a toilet on my hands and knees and laughing out loud: just two weeks ago I was chairman of a top-20 accounting firm! Still, it was very cool experience, and I made many dear friends there.

What did you learn from your experience?

One thing, it taught me to appreciate the beauty and serenity of silence, which is extremely important there. From the evening meal through the next morning there is virtually no talking — it’s a bit surreal. Living among the brothers also helped me see what total commitment and discipline really looks like. And, on a lighter note, I discovered that, when I’m not speaking, I’m really not all that interesting company!

How do you follow up a stint at a monastery?

Well, I spent a couple of months in Santa Fe just relaxing. Then, during the summer of 2018, I volunteered as a chaplain at Greenville Memorial Hospital. Providing comfort and care for hurting people — people dealing with extraordinary grief — was another eye-opening and deeply moving experience.

What keeps you most busy these days?

Today, I spend about half my time serving as Chairman of the Board of the North Carolina Outward Bound School. I became an instructor in 2019 and assumed the chair role on April 1, 2020 – which was just great Covid timing!

What is Outward Bound?

It’s a global organization that teaches leadership, teamwork, conflict resolution and overcoming challenges though wilderness expeditions. It has courses for everyone from middle-schoolers to CEOs to veterans. I recently led an eight-day expedition with a group of school teachers. It was neat watching how quickly they evolved from a highly diverse group of individuals into a highly diverse unified team. Outward Bound has taught me much about myself in retirement — I don’t have to change the whole world, but I do need to use my time and mind to the best of my ability.

Looking back at your DHG career, what are you most proud of?

I’d say it was being on the ground floor of building DHG Wealth Advisors. To start with nothing — literally zero dollars of revenue, to helping recruit Woody Hoyle to run it, to watching it grow into a multi-billion-dollar practice was and still is deeply gratifying.

In fact, you’ve got a unique memento of that success …

I sure do. In the fall of 2000, Woody and I were sitting in the Minneapolis airport. And I remember him joking that when our wealth advisor practice reached $1 billion dollars in assets under management, I should buy him a Swiss watch. Well, we hit that mark on February 9, 2012, and now we both have Swiss watches with that date and “One Billion Dollars” inscribed on the back.

What legacy do you hope to have created at DHG?

I hope it’s that we will always care about each other more than we care about growing the firm - that we are as compassionate with our colleagues as we are passionate about serving our clients. And that we keep our egos out of the way while figuring out how to help and contribute to each other’s success. From my view that’s always been our ‘secret sauce’ and I don’t see it ever changing.

More about Kent:

  • Born and raised in Greer, SC
  • Received his BA in Finance and Masters in Accountancy from the University of South Carolina
  • Began his career with KPMG in Greenville, SC from 1978-1983
  • Joined predecessor firm Crisp Hughes in 1983
  • Previous firm leadership roles include: Greenville Office Managing Partner; Western Carolinas Managing Partner; Chief Operating Officer; Chairman of the Executive Committee
  • Married for 27 years to Linda. Previously married to Jeanne, who passed away suddenly in 1993

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