Continued from Part I

Six months into Sagacious Partners, 9/11 happened… of course, it was very scary for a multitude of reasons, but by the end of 2001, I had 3 clients (including David Campbell who was with Chernoff Silver at the time and is still a client today). I was “full,” so I started to outsource the things I did not have time to do. I got a lawn guy. Then I hired Tory Sojourner, who had been our part-time accountant at the internet company. 

Once a week, Tory would come to my house, walk through the kitchen, through the den and up the stairs past all of the bedrooms and into the FROG where she would do the books. This was well before everything was cloud-based, so she had to be there in person. 

Tory became my first part-time employee and as we added clients, I gave her more and more work. She went from part-time bookkeeper to full-time assistant and bookkeeper; from working from full-time in her home, to full-time working at our home, and eventually, in our first “real” office (shared with client New Carolina, now called the South Carolina Council on Competitiveness, circa 2006). 

A few years in, we started taking on more project management work, particularly with EngenuitySC. I hired some really smart young talent…. Josh Gowans and then Rachel Card. It all started to come together with Greg Hilton and Katherine Hutton, who were both hired as project managers. I found clients, managed the big picture, and relied on Greg and Katherine to deal with all the details. They grew into the key leaders and project managers for Sagacious Partners. 

In 2012, I made what would really become a game changing hire for Sagacious Partners: Meghan Hughes (now Hickman). I knew the day I met Meghan she was a special person. A lot of people say a born leader isn’t possible, but she really is. And Meghan did many things really well that I don’t. I knew Meghan was a keeper when every three to six months, one of our partners or clients would try to hire her away. In 2015, I knew the only way to keep Meghan around was to give her the thing that no one else could: I made her my business partner. 

These were busy years for us. Greg and Katherine had moved on for different reasons, and we needed more project managers. Kristin Hamilton, Whitney Williams and Lauren Liles came to work for SP during the same time. Together with Meghan, I dubbed them “Angels” (like “Charlie’s Angels”). It was really fun because everyone was friends, we all enjoyed working together, and we were doing great work. The business was growing and we were busy. 

We’ve been really lucky to make great hires through the years. There have been many talented people who made a big impact in our company, including George Hutton, Franklin Buchanan, Will Schenk, Katie Fox, Anton Dela Cruz and others. 

I want to share my gratitude to every person, full-time or part-time, Intern to Senior Project Manager, who helped us get where we are today. “Right People” who took a chance on a small and emerging company and helped blaze new trails, creating a great reputation for our work along the way. Meghan, now our Managing Partner and Integrator, is my thinking partner and has helped my ideas (as the Visionary) come to life. And I’m so grateful for the support from the home team – Deb, Veronica and Thomas – I haven’t messed it up yet, Deb!

You’re only as strong as your weakest link. I’m grateful to have been linked to a strong team for 20 years.