I was buying some furniture the other day and as part of the deal I had to fill out a credit form. We came to the part where they asked me ‘how long have you worked at your current place of employ?’ I said 13 years. It hit me when I said that. 13 years. It doesn’t feel like it. I remember how I felt the day I started here as an account coordinator. Like I could conquer the world. Like I may have no idea what I’m doing. Like I might pretend I do. Like I have so much to learn. Like I’m incredibly lucky. Like there’s nothing else I’d rather be doing.

Funny thing is, I still feel the same way now, as the new president of AKHIA.

Imagine working at a company where everyone came to work with one goal – how can they help others succeed. It doesn’t matter if it’s a client, a partner or a supplier – you need to be selfless to work at AKHIA. And it shows every day.

It’s as humbling as it sounds. And for me, it’s a perfect fit. I’ve never cared about standing out in a crowd. I wasn’t raised that way – personally or professionally. My parents taught me a lot about doing what’s right, instilling the principles of the golden rule in me from as early as I can remember. Jan, AKHIA’s founder, picked up where they left off teaching me that you can be successful AND treat people the way you would want to be treated.

I’ve seen Jan do some things a lot of people would criticize. They’d say ‘you can’t run a business with your heart.’ Or ‘business isn’t personal’. Those people would be wrong.

AKHIA has been built through people who believe in themselves and each other’s ability to deliver. People who believe trust, accountability and tenacity are tangible skills. People who believe they are defined by their work, not where they work. Thank goodness she built her business this way. I can say this as I look around at the nearly 60 people who now work here—all who believe the same thing.

So now it’s my turn. Our turn. To elevate this simple vision Jan had. To be different. How will we do this? That’s going to be the fun part.