When Grant Thornton was approached in 2006 by the Daniels College of Business to help support a new speaker series known as Voices of Experience—the firm was excited to get involved.
Under the direction of former managing partner, Jim Burton—now the national partner of audit methodologies—Grant Thornton has supported the School of Accountancy and the College since 2000. A platinum-level member of the Daniels Corporate Partners Program, Grant Thornton is a lead sponsor of Voices of Experience and supports the Accounting Scholars Development Program. The firm also recruits on campus, hiring graduates from the School of Accountancy and the University’s Graduate Tax Program each year. Approximately 15 percent of professionals in the Grant Thornton Denver office are DU alumni, and 10 percent are Daniels alumni.
Voices of Experience has become more than an event that Grant Thornton encourages its employees to attend—it has become a community. The firm invites 25 clients and contacts to each event, after which Grant Thornton professionals and their guests attend a backstage VIP reception with the speaker and other sponsors. “It has resulted in this amazing environment where friends of our firm and other Voices of Experience sponsors can network and share ideas,” says John Genell, business development executive at Grant Thornton. “Voices of Experience has created a rich community that benefits all of us—Daniels, Grant Thornton, our guests and the others in attendance.”
A number of Grant Thornton employees also serve the University and the College in various capacities. Genell is on the Advisory Board for University College’s master’s degree in Leadership and Organizations. Burton serves on the School of Accountancy Advisory Board and on various committees. Senior executives in the firm guest lecture in classes at Daniels. And several employees take advantage of Grant Thornton’s annual gift campaign by giving personally to the University—gifts matched 100 percent by the firm.
“Grant Thornton’s mission is to make a difference to our colleagues, clients, profession and communities, and by supporting the universities in our communities; we are doing that,” says Lori Davis, Denver office managing partner. “At the same time, Daniels and DU are a great source of talent for our Denver office, and we want graduates to know about our firm. We’re very happy to support the University and the College.”
Dr. Sharon Lassar, director of the School of Accountancy says that Grant Thornton is a valuable partner of Daniels. “The firm has always been very supportive of and engaged in everything we do at the School of Accountancy,” she says. “The firm makes a point to get to know our faculty and the faculty of the Graduate Tax program so they can find ways to support us and our students. We’re tremendously grateful for their passion for Daniels and DU. Partnerships like this one are exactly what make this a great college for students and the greater community.”
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