Key Takeaways

  • It is fundamental to prioritize the well-being of team members, emphasizing listening, effective communication, and policies that foster a positive, collaborative work atmosphere.
  • Maintaining an inclusive and supportive culture is crucial as an organization grows, ensuring that expansion does not dilute core values and practices that contribute to a strong sense of community and teamwork.
  • Community engagement and volunteerism are integral to Withum’s identity, reflecting a commitment to societal well-being and reinforcing the connection between team cohesion and community service.
  • Embracing a growth mindset and continuous development within an organization’s culture is essential for personal and collective advancement.
  • Trust and transparency in relationships, both internally among employees and externally with clients, are pivotal. They require consistent ethics, effective communication, and the capacity to acknowledge and learn from mistakes.
  • Leadership and resilience play critical roles in shaping a culture in which challenges are viewed as opportunities for growth. This fosters an environment that values continuous effort and a positive outlook.


In this episode of The Leader Show with Lou Carter, Patrick Walsh, CEO of Withum, highlights the critical role of a positive workplace culture in enhancing employee satisfaction and success. Emphasizing integrity, inclusivity, and innovation, Walsh discusses how these values support a thriving environment. 

He also touches on Withum’s recognition programs and community contributions, crediting his Irish American heritage for his resilience and optimism. The conversation underscores the significance of trust, communication, and a growth mindset in fostering a beloved and successful workplace.

Executive Summary

Hey folks, thanks for joining us on a brand new episode of The Leader Show with Lou Carter. We are joined by Patrick Walsh, CEO and Managing Partner of Withum, a top 25 accounting firm in the U.S. renowned for its strong workplace culture and being recognized as a Most Loved Workplace®. 

Patrick, a first-generation Irish American, brings a blend of positivity, resilience, and an entrepreneurial mindset to the firm. Under his leadership, Withum has prioritized integrity, inclusivity, and innovation, creating an environment where employees are encouraged to thrive. 

In this episode, we’ll delve into how Withum’s values align with employee aspirations and the impact of these principles on both the team and the firm’s success. We’ll also learn about Withum’s innovative recognition programs and the significance of creating a positive workplace. 

So, without further ado, let’s jump right in.

Withum’s People-First Approach And Expansion Strategy

Firstly, Lou delves into Withum’s culture of putting people first, a principle Patrick credits to the firm’s founders, Fred Withum, Len Smith, and Ivan Brown. Patrick emphasizes the importance of listening to team members’ needs, communicating effectively, and executing plans to meet those needs. Withum has established a “no-jerk policy” to foster a collaborative and enjoyable workplace.

Patrick then discusses how Withum maintains its culture while growing and staying relevant to new generations. With 2,500 team members in the U.S. and 300 in India, the firm focuses on creating a sense of belonging through annual events and a commitment to acting like a “big firm that acts small.” 

This approach includes celebrating achievements and living by “the Withum way,” which encompasses ten principles emphasizing client focus, community involvement, and integrity. Patrick strongly believes that by celebrating small achievements and fostering a sense of unity, Withum strengthens its culture and team cohesion.

Withum’s Week Of Caring And Its Impact On Employee Engagement And Social Responsibility

Moving on, Patrick discusses the Withum Week of Caring, a core initiative reflecting the firm’s commitment to community engagement. This event, held during the three days leading up to Thanksgiving (Monday through Wednesday), allows team members to volunteer up to a full day’s time to a charity of their choice. 

The initiative allows offices to support diverse causes, letting employees volunteer in soup kitchens, environmental cleanups, Habitat for Humanity builds, or Boys and Girls Clubs activities. Highlighting the firm’s people-first ethos, Patrick emphasizes the importance of investing in employees so they can deliver world-class client service and contribute to strong, vibrant communities. 

The Withum Week of Caring is a direct reflection of the firm’s dedication to its core values, including a deep commitment to the communities where employees live and work.

The Symbiotic Relationship Between Withum’s Community Engagement And Business Success

Next, Patrick discusses the intrinsic connection between volunteerism, community engagement, and the success of Withum. He notes that giving back is not only a moral imperative but also a strategic business practice that fosters company growth and internal development. It is viewed as a virtuous cycle, where investing in communities and team members leads to recognition, infrastructure improvement, and overall success. 

Patrick shares a personal perspective, noting that the act of giving often feels rewarding, suggesting that it’s a mutual benefit rather than a one-sided gesture.

He recounts the philosophy of his predecessor, Bill Hagen, that Withum grows to provide opportunities for team members, not just for the sake of expansion. This growth is tied to fulfilling employees’ career goals and aspirations, which motivates Walsh daily. 

He takes pride in the firm’s consistent growth over its 50-year history, a testament to the intentional efforts of leadership and team members alike. This growth, coupled with a commitment to people and community, exemplifies the firm’s successful business model and its positive impact on society.

Withum’s Dedication To Growth Mindsets And Continuous Personal Development

In the same vein, Patrick mentions the importance of a growth mindset and continuous challenge within Withum’s culture, which is essential for both personal and company-wide success. The conversation highlights how Withum supports its employees through professional coaching, development programs, and opportunities to engage in community and cultural activities. 

According to Patrick, this comprehensive support system is designed to encourage employees to step out of their comfort zones, fostering an environment where growth and development are paramount.

Patrick mentions “Pat’s Pubs,” a section on Withum’s website featuring recommended readings, including works by Angela Duckworth and Carol Dweck, to inspire resilience and a growth mindset among employees. He underscores the significance of grit, using Duckworth’s research to highlight the value of perseverance over inherent talent or intelligence.

The discussion also covers Withum’s approach to feedback and performance reviews, stressing the importance of continuous communication and trust. Patrick highlights that career progression in public accounting typically involves grooming successors, a task demanding trust in the firm’s dedication to nurturing talent. 

He strongly believes that this approach has been key to maintaining high levels of employee satisfaction and trust, contributing to the firm’s reputation and success.

The Pivotal Role Of Trust And Transparency In Withum’s Client And Employee Relations

The conversation shifts towards the importance of trust within Withum, both internally among employees and externally with clients. Patrick underscores the critical nature of trust in professional services like accounting, where transparency and communication are key to avoiding surprises and maintaining strong relationships. 

He underlines that becoming a trusted advisor, the client’s first contact for any issue, requires building trust over time with consistent ethics and effective communication.

Additionally, Lou and Patrick discuss the significance of admitting mistakes and the power of a sincere apology in building and maintaining trust. They touch on the broader implications of trust, positive intent, and forgiveness in both professional and personal contexts, highlighting these as foundational elements of a successful and resilient company culture.

Patrick’s Leadership And The Resilient Culture At Withum Inspired By Irish Tenacity

As the conversation draws to a close, Patrick delves deeper into the role of grit, resilience, and optimism in both his personal life and professional leadership at Withum. Reflecting on his Irish American roots, he credits his parents, teenage Irish emigrants, with sheer determination, as epitomes of grit, overcoming adversity to pursue success against the odds.

Patrick highlights the importance of creating a supportive environment at Withum where failure is accepted and seen as an opportunity for growth and learning. He argues that choosing optimism positively influences others, promoting a culture where challenges are welcomed, and setbacks are seen as opportunities for growth.

Patrick also touches on the significance of continuous effort, learning from failures, and the power of maintaining a positive outlook. His leadership philosophy underscores the value of perseverance, the willingness to learn from mistakes, and the belief in a better tomorrow. 

Thank you for your time!


Lou Carter : Today on The Leader Show, we welcome Patrick Walsh, CEO and Managing Partner of Withum. Patrick leads one of the top 25 accounting firms in the US, Withum. Known for its strong culture and being a certified Most Loved Workplace, a loved place to work. A first generation Irish American, he brings positivity, resilience, and an entrepreneurial mindset to the firm.

Under his leadership, Withum emphasizes integrity, inclusivity, and innovation, fostering an environment where employees can thrive. In our conversation we'll explore how Withum’s values align with employee aspirations, the impact of these principles on the team and the firm's innovative programs for recognition.

Join us for insights into Creating a Positive Workplace on The Leader Show, coming right up. We're here today with Pat Walsh. I can't wait to join you in this conversation today, Pat, because we're going to talk about the importance of grit, of enabling an awesome work environment because you're a loved place to work. Congrats on that certification and how you got to this 600 million this year within a workforce who loves what they're doing inside of typically a professional service firm where that's hard to do. It's not easy.

This is today learning about how A CEO with great grit and entrepreneurialism and innovation with a care for people, a deep desire to develop a culture that truly supports the career aspirations and motivation of each individual is going to create a great success factor. Pat, great having you on the Newsweek Leader Show and joining us to teach people today exactly how you do it?

Patrick Walsh : Thanks, Lou. Thanks for having us and we are honored to be recognized as a Most Loved Place to work. We are very intentional about putting our people first and be recognized for that. We don't do it for recognition, but it's always very nice to be recognized for the efforts our great firm makes on an everyday basis.

LC : And that's one of the things that's great about you is that your employees voted you in for this, right? Literally you took the index and you're right, not looking for it to tap in for you, right? Because you went through the process and it worked and you're going to learn about so many things today, what a people first culture looks like, right? For you with them. I want to hear more about that and then the kind of recognition programs, but also what you're doing with CPA Pathways, Shadow Stock, all these awesome things that you have that perhaps others don't do right in the accounting profession and advisory firm.

So let's dive into the people first culture. Then let's learn about you, Pat, because I want to get into who Pat Walsh is as well. So tell me about the kind of Withum culture and what you have created there and what you're seeing for it right now. Tell me more about that.

Building A Legacy Of People-First Culture [03:10]

PW : Sure. Thanks Lou. When we say what we've created, it goes really back to our founders. It goes back to Fred Withum, Len Smith and Ivan Brown. They created a culture back then that, and back in 1974, corporate culture wasn't a word, and Ivan was talking to us at our annual event, the state of the firm, and she's talking about what they were trying to do. They were trying to be better every day and they realized that to be better every day and to serve our clients better every day, that it took a culture where we put our people first and by putting our people first, we try and do some things that are different than other firms and we identify those things I think in a couple of different ways.

We identify them first and foremost by listening. We have to listen and understand what our team member needs on a daily basis and percolate that up through our leadership group, and we have to communicate what we think really is needed. So we listen, we communicate, and I think we execute very well. I think we execute on the things that we hear our team members need. We execute on the things that we think will bring our team members together in a collaborative manner.

In a world where we've had a pretty rigid no jerk policy, Ivan is very proud of that and I'm very proud of it as well. I think it's a place where people enjoy each other's company and to really do work collaboratively with one another and just we're all trying to be a little bit better tomorrow than we were yesterday.

LC : One of the things I also noticed about Withum, and this is good for the audience to learn this because we all want to know how to be a living organization, right? MasterCard, CEO. Main thing he had in his mind is about 20 years ago was how do I become a living organization? Right? You're celebrating 50 this year, right? For the company? That's substantial. It's significant, right? You get to another 50, another 50, right? So tell us how do you maintain this culture as you grow sort of and refresh the relevancy for each newer generation?

PW : So, I think one of the things that we do is we do a lot of events annually, so we try to get our team members together. As you mentioned, we are a large firm. We have 2,500 team members around the country, about 300 team members based in an office in India as well. So I think what we really focus on is trying to be a big firm that act small and the way you act small is to make sure that everybody has a sense of belonging.

And some of the things we do is we have a lot of great culture events. I mentioned our annual state of the firm, a firm of our size. I think we're one of the last, if not the last firm that flies all of our team members from all around the country into New Jersey to get together in January to celebrate the prior year to talk about what we've done well, to celebrate things we call strength awards, where acknowledge people for great client service, giving back to their communities, leadership, living the Withum way.

The Withum way is 10 principles around the way we want our team members to act, focusing on clients, focusing on our community, focusing on integrity. So when we get people together and we celebrate all the little things, I think that allows us to get to know one another a lot better and to realize that we're in this together and we're a lot better together than we are individually.

LC : The Withum week of caring, how does that work? The full week, is there volunteerism? Tell us more about that. It sounds like an interesting.

Empowering Communities Through Caring: Withum's Commitment To People And Places [06:09]

PW : The Withum week of caring is the way we get back to our communities. We talk about our core values. You've always heard me talk about our people. We are a people-first firm. We invest in our people so our people can deliver world-class, client service, and the last piece of our core values is our communities. We are very intentional about giving back to the communities in which we live, in which our clients live and operate because everybody deserves to live in a strong, vibrant community.

And the Withum way of caring is a core piece of that. It's the three days before the Thanksgiving break, the Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. We give all of our team members the option to choose a charity in which they want to donate their time up to a full day of time. They're coordinated by the offices. So there's a various selection of organizations each office can work with and we have great participation and it gets the team members together either in a soup kitchen or in cleaning up their environment or working with Habitat for Humanity or working the Boys and girls clubs from around the country.

So those are some of the really exciting things our team members do to give back to the community and sometimes give back to some more at-risk communities that are in areas in which our team members live and operate. So it's part of our core values. We think about our communities on a regular basis.

LC : So volunteer really is a central component of being a Most Loved Workplace for you. That's one of our actual tenets is volunteerism as well. And that really can make a company unite because you have this sense of purpose around giving back. You and I talked about before the show what Giving Back is really all about, and it actually is an inherently selfish thing, right? Because certain type of people, we both were discussing this like you and I, we get a lot out of giving and there's a reason for it.

It is kindness of our heart and it is because we want to create a community like that and for our families and people around that we see how wonderful it could be for everyone. It also helps to sustain growth inside of companies and a lot of companies, a lot of leaders don't fully get that. And it sounds like you've tapped into that and why it's so important financially growth wise developmentally. Tell me how that has worked out for you and how that manifested in your own life where you said the light bulb went off and you saw it working, and how did you make it work for you and your company?

The Virtuous Cycle Of Giving And Success At Withum [08:24]

PW : A bit to unpack there, Lou, but whether between the giving back to communities and the growth, I agree with you, it is all interconnected. We do not lose sight of the fact that we are a business, so we do need to be profitable to provide for our team members and our communities, but it's a virtuous cycle in my opinion. The giving back to the communities aspect is something that gets us recognized in the communities.

It provides infrastructure for people to be more successful. And for me personally, you mentioned it's the act of giving back. People can refer to as being very charitable, very generous, and I quite often get embarrassed it because I feel it's a selfish act for me in that I get more out of it than I give when I'm giving time or giving energies to a charitable organization. I think that's the way a lot of our team members feel and a lot of our partners feel.

And it does drive the growth of our great firm. My predecessor, Bill Hagen had a great line that we are a collection of growth junkies and a platform for entrepreneurs and we grow not for growth's sake, but we grow for the sake of the opportunity of the team members that we are trying to fulfill their career goals and aspirations. That is really what gets me out of bed every morning. I mean, it's the ability to see our team members interact, see our team members get together regularly, see team members get promoted. We're at June 30 year end, so in the next few months we'll be going through raising bonus promotion time.

So seeing them promoted to various levels of the organization is what's instilled in us as part of the growth driver of our firm's success. And we've grown actually every single year for the 50 years we've been in business, which is something I'm incredibly proud of. I know our entire leadership team is incredibly proud of and that doesn't come by accident. That's an intentional effort by all of our team members, by our leadership, and I think it's just a fallout of our commitment to our team members and all of our team members commitment to the communities in which we live and operate. So as I said earlier, it is a virtuous cycle and we think it's not only the right thing to do, but it's a good business thing to do.

LC : It is. I like how you said that about how employees can succeed in their job. There's a succession path for it and how you're happy to do that. I would be too, by the way, because there are reasons for succeeding and those reasons are typically connected to the outcomes of the company. Number one, you being a managing partner, there's a reason for that and CEO, and that comes down to really being a family-oriented company that is trusted, known and loved for helping the success of others. And that only comes from being a great human being and clarifying how do you succeed? So if I were a Withum employee or a candidate, I really want to join you guys and I might be an entrepreneurial spirit or not. I want to be part of a company. What can I look forward to in the career path and how do I succeed inside of Withum?

Empowering Withum's Team Through Challenge, Coaching, And Culture [11:04]

PW : We’ve got a great talent team here that from, I'll talk from our entry level team members that join us from whether we are onboarding our team members, our new hire class we referred to as our Empower class. Easy for me to say right. This year we brought our Empower class together for their kind of introductory training. We did that in Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida this year was really exciting. Got a chance to meet a lot of the team members there and from there on in, everybody's connected to an office or to an industry vertical, to a service line audit, tax advisory. And what they can expect as part of their career is professional coaching. We have a whole team of professional coaches. Outside of the professional coaching, they'll get on the job from the accountants and advisors at the consultants that the team members work with.

We have full-time professional coaches that aren't accountants. We think that's really important for people to learn the soft skills around the technical skills that we balance and as they advance through their career, they'll be given all the opportunities to continue to challenge themselves, to make themselves, you know, to be comfortable being uncomfortable. As a phrase, probably the people in this firm have gotten tired of me saying, I think that's really important that you continue to challenge yourself and if you get into a routine where you're comfortable, you're not getting better.

So we'll provide all the support around you to do that through our l and d team to development, through our coaching team, through our team ERGs for example, we have a team member someplace from employee resource group. We have team member resource groups that allow team members to interact with those of backgrounds in order to support each other and be successful. And we're open to various different ideas. As I said earlier, we listen. We listen to our team members to how do we continue to provide them the unique opportunities that particular individual needs for them to be successful, whether it's working with their coach, whether it's working with a partner in charge of their office or whether it's working with others at their peer level to continue to challenge themselves and be successful.

LC : And guide them really right inside of your culture so that when people go out of guardrails, right, or if they sort of fall back or around it can be helped. They come back on track. So important, we talked about grit before, which is a great segue especially into what you had said about be confident in being uncomfortable, right? It's so important because it's applied to sports, it's applied to performance teams and if we get too comfortable in our routines, we can't build up that muscle, right? We're kind of atrophying.

So that growth mindset being now 600 million, you're continuing growth throughout your 50 years. It's got to happen with employees, right?

PW : Yeah, you've got to challenge 'em. And we did spend a little time talking about grit and you just mentioned mindset there as well, and Carol Dweck and Angela Duckworth too, kind of thought leaders in that. And I'm a bit of a book nerd, so we have a place on our website called Pat's Pubs, my Irish heritage play on the words there about publications that I read, and anybody can pick up a book and read it and charge throw or expense report anything that I'm reading. And one of the books I was a big fan of was Grit written by Angela Duckworth, and we had Angela at our state of the firm to talk about those skills and get yourself up, dust yourself off and don't give up. Great example in that book is when she did an analysis of the, I think the West Point Academy in terms of who was most successful there and it wasn't the most athletic, it wasn't the smartest.

It's people who had this intangible, that intangible of Grit of really trying to fight through it. That comes from people of all shapes and sizes and all backgrounds. And our job as leaders to this firm is to identify those folks and give those folks the opportunity to be successful and to challenge 'em on a daily basis and not let the people get complacent or comfortable and make sure that they are reaching their full potential.

At the end of the day, that's what everybody wants. You want to read your personal full potential and it's a one size fits one. And I think between the time we spend with them coaching, the time we spend with them in the time we spend with them on a softball field for our softball events that we have on a regional basis, those are ways we continue to get better every day and get to know each other a little bit better every day.

LC : We found that too, Pat, is that when you look at Glassdoor reviews, Indeed reviews, our reviews, the people, the companies like yours that stay in communication, coach, develop care for, have more contact with, have better frontline reviews, period. Having this human connection with people, you're talking to 'em constantly, asking them questions, getting feedback, giving feedback rather than this quarterly performance review where they're just punched in the face, if you will. It's more nudging, right? And guiding gently versus, Hey, I'm going to take you out now end of year with a laundry list of items.

PW : Yeah, well, Lou, I hope no one here's getting punched in the face during their performance reviews, but I understand what you're saying there. It's the no surprise factor. We think it's really important that when people are getting feedback that none of it comes to surprise. It's a constant circle of feedback. And sometimes that's easy, sometimes that's not, but it's really important to build the trust. You had mentioned the word trust a little while ago when we were talking, and it's all based on trust, especially in the public accounting world, because in order to advance to that next level to come from a staff two to a senior, we're telling everybody, well, you've got to train that staff one to be a staff two.

You've got to train people and develop people to take your job. And that's scary thing to say, right? I mean, I spent 10 years in industry and I don't think it was very common if you wanted to train someone to take your job, you didn't know there was another job after that.

But I think an organization that builds trust with its team members and you really focus on the ability for you to train someone to take your job with the confidence and the belief that the organization is going to support you and give you something more challenging to do so you can continue to get better. You continue to fulfill your career goals and aspirations. That takes a lot of trust and trust is developed over a long period of time and it's lost really quick. So we have to be very, very careful as an organization, as leaders, as team members, that we invest a lot of time in that trust and we walk the talk.

We have to stand behind what we say and live behind it, and we've done a lot of things to support that. We put our people first. We've got a bunch of, I think, very unique programs and benefits that other firms in our profession don't have.

LC : Pat, you were talking about how different it is in your industry than perhaps other professional services firm about that trust because investment, banking, finance or accounting, in your case, you could lose it in an instance, you give a bill that's higher, you do too many hours during that month and you didn't tell 'em all the things that go around the rules really.

So if it happens on the inside, it could happen on the outside. And that's where the trouble comes in and attrition both inside the company with employees as well as customers come into place. And to have those structures, systems you're describing is super smart for a company that's living like you're saying right now.

The Foundation Of Withum's Client Relationships And Internal Culture [17:55]

PW : It's a great point, Lou, in terms of the trust has got to be internal and that trust internals hack, we want to be the most trusted advisor to our clients. We want when something goes sideways for them, we want the first phone call to be to us. It doesn't have to be a tax or financial statement or consulting question. It's just a business question. We want to be that trusted advisor to be the one you relied on. And that takes time.

And to your point about surprise bills or surprise overruns, surprises are bad. We don't want surprises to our team members. We don't surprise us to our clients. And when they do inevitably happen, no one's perfect when they do inevitably happen, that trust you built up over time, over doing the right thing and saying the right thing paves a long way to get through those challenging times when someone makes a mistake or when something unexpected happens or the necessary communication didn't happen in a timely manner, all those things happen. No person or organization is perfect, but if you've built that trust, if you've done the right thing on a daily basis over a long period of time, you can get through the challenging times.

LC : It's funny, doing the right thing is the right thing, number one, right? In any company for ethical and integrity, and the hard part is doing the right thing sometimes isn't enough, right? Because people don't always assume positive intent. So creating a culture to assume positive intent that you're doing here too, and the growth mindset says now we're having a relationship with our customers that enables them to know that I'm here to help you. I'm not here to hurt you, and I will do the right thing if I might've misstepped, and I'm sorry just saying that, I'm sorry, I will do this better next time, right? Because it's worth it to take the hit in the short term to get that long-term strategy thinking, right? And that's what, again, the living company that you are, that's how you're thinking.

PW : It is amazing how far I screwed up, I'm sorry, goes as opposed to trying to talk your way out of it, trying to talk your way out of it, generally I think I'm owe for my career in doing that. I screwed up. I'm sorry. Whether you did or you didn't, I'm screwed up. I'm sorry. You move forward and you move forward together and you build off that situation, that learning opportunity.

LC : Dale Carnegie got it right back in the Tony to fight against someone's perception of intent is completely futile. What you can work with is what's here, what's now, right? We can work with anything now to say that you have the power to redo the past means you're potentially insane. Oh, you have a time machine you want to redo how I see in the past? No, I don't think so. Right? You're right.

PW : As you know, I’m Irish Catholic, and the last guy that could do that was we're going to celebrate this upcoming weekend. So that didn't happen.

LC : That’s right, Sunday. Yeah. And there were consequences that obviously, unintended or not, we have to have that in mind about that. You're right. Sunday's, what all about [inaudible] intent, loving others no matter what, no matter what. That's not easy to do. That is not an easy human trait and forgiving. Wow. Whoa. That's a huge one we're going to do at Sunday and there's, oh, there's incredible personal work that goes into being a CEO to being a leader, being any level of the company that you're coaching. It's constant inner work. Constantly.

PW : Yeah, nonstop.

LC : Nonstop. Okay, good. Well, this is awesome. Pat's Pubs. I want to know what's in your pub’s list, at. We're going to have to talk about that. I'm sure. It sounds like we have a lot of pubs in common. Look at this. There's a book right in there. I want to make sure you see this one. So that's my book. I'm going to send it to you. I got a lemon out there. We are all about how to create a loved workplace. It's all about.

PW : I am a big fan of organizational psychologists. I mean, if you look at my Pat's pubs, you're going to see a lot of one of your colleagues, Adam Grant's books, Adam Grant and a fan, and you won't get a lot of Stephen King on my list, but you'll get a lot of nerdy books that some people enjoy.

LC : Stephen King, he's a trip for a long time. It's funny, my dad read a lot of Stephen King growing up. I'm like, dad, do you really need to escape this much from us. Man, it's escapism and the books, the leadership books that you're talking about, Grant Grit, the way you think about it, and this is kind of how I would like other coaches who are, I can see this right now on LinkedIn, so if you think about how Pat is thinking I'm going to comment, is that you're thinking of how successful you've been, number one.

And how you've done it is by understanding and learning so much around you and you, being an Irish American and using that grit that you have since beginning here in the United States. And we connected on that before about my family being in the twenties originally, is how you view this thought leadership, right?

You're like, oh, that grit is me. I can do that and I can resonate with that. So that thought leader's out there, think about how you're positioning your work, right? It's like how do you position it so Pat will want to connect with it, right? So I wonder, since you mentioned grit, how do you see yourself as being Irish American and being a CEO now? Do you see grit as that sort of supporting force around you? Do you see others that are important to you, like Adam Grant, other type of philosophies that are important to you?

A Guide To Resilience, Growth, And Leadership At Withum [23:33]

PW : Yeah, there's a whole lot of others around me that are responsible for me or very influential in me getting here. Adam Grant is just a book I read, but certainly there is countless people throughout my career that has allowed me to get here. My predecessor being certainly high on that list and the current leaders on our board that I'm very close with all those folks in terms of how to get here. But certainly no more influential than my mom and my dad who left Ireland as teenagers, flew here, knew nobody and figured it out.

I think my father who left Ireland at 14 years old, I look at my son when he was 14-year-old, so I'm like, I'm not sure I was going to let him cross the street on a bicycle, no matter get on a plane and come to the United States. So you start on your own at 14 years old and you figure it out, and that's the definition of grit in my opinion.

That's who was unwilling to fail, and that's my very simplistic kind definition of what grit is, you're unwilling to fail and you will do what it takes to make sure you're successful and those that you care the most about are successful. And in a nutshell, that's my philosophy on life. Get out of bed, and as you said earlier, someone's going to punch you in the face. Mike Tyson's famous line is, everybody's got a plan until you get punched in the face and when you get punched in the face, it's not about that. It's about that time immediately after that, how do you react, how continue to move forward and remain an optimist and believe you're going to be successful? Life is much better when you're an optimist. I think that's a choice. I'm a firm believer in, an optimism is a choice and how you go through life, the half empty, half full glass analogy is one, but if you think in a positive, optimistic way, I think that exudes to optimism to people around you and if those folks, if you can make someone a little more optimistic on a daily basis and you have to believe it, you can't fake it.

That's not something that people are going to believe. It's something that's got to be in your DNA to believe that we're going to be better tomorrow. We'll get through this together, and we spoke about it a little bit earlier, that if you keep doing the right things, the right things will happen for you.

LC : Right on. Right on. It's not about how hard you get hit, but you get back up Rocky, right? Rocky Balboa, all the one through five, and let me just say, this is awesome to hear this from you being unwilling to fail, unwilling to fail. What I've always found is that with failure, the learning from the failure, as long as you don't become a failure, because that's an acceptance of being a failure, it's not about that. It's not about accepting. It's about keep going. So you have that one win and all those mentors you talked about, I love that.

What I love about that, about your mentors is that those mentors didn't say, I love Pat's experience, his expertise, his training. That's all good. I love Pat because he kept going, I love Pat. He kept having grit. I love Pat. He kept working to succeed, right? People have this thought that it's all about experience, expertise, education, Uhuh, that's maybe 10% right? Maybe 10%. It's about to keep going, keep fighting no matter what. I mean, it's so important. Yeah.

PW : Yeah, keep moving forward, stay optimistic and make those around you a little bit better. Failure is not succeeding in a task. I mean, if you're succeeding in every task, then you're not comfortable making yourself uncomfortable. You're not pushing yourself hard enough. So failure is fine, but you got to learn from it. You don't want to repeat it. I think what's really important here is that we've really tried on a daily basis to create an environment where people can be okay in failing. You got to realize that I want everybody of our firm to realize making a mistake is fine.

If you make a mistake and you work through it together as a team, we'll get everybody through it. Don't hide it. Let's be transparent about it. Let's learn from it as a group and let's get better. Errors happen. Failure happens. You get up and you keep moving forward. That's grit. That's the optimistic way forward and Withum is here to support all of our team members in getting up and moving forward.

LC : Well, a lot of people are resonating with that right now, unwilling to fail. Love that. I love this one. Life is definitely much better when you're an optimist. You learn from your mistakes. It's okay to be failing fast, so a lot of resonance with this.

PW : Yeah, failing fast is really important. We talk about that all the time. It's okay to fail. Fail fast and move forward, and we'll work through it together.

LC : Absolutely. Pat, well you were here with us today, have been such a great time knowing you in this context, interacting with you, learning from you and with you. Wow. Right? We've learned a lot today. We've said so much today and learned so much about your success, the success of Withum, your people around you who clearly resonate with your ideas, your wisdom, and your thought leadership, and as a CEO, a growth company, a 50-year-old company now, a living organization that keeps going and he keeps getting better.

Pat Walsh, thanks for being with us here today. Thanks for being with me today.

PW : Lou, thanks so much for having me and really enjoyed our time together and look forward to talking again in the future. Thanks.