The Biggest Non-Event in Our Firm’s History

by | May 26, 2021 | Forward Thinking, Perspective, Wise Firm

Joey Havens


There’s an old saying, “When you see a turtle on top of a fence post, chances are he did not get there on his own.” In my case, truer words have never been spoken.

This week, I officially transitioned from HORNE’s executive partner to my next role as managing partner for strategic growth. Thanks to our board’s foresight to establish a 12-month transition plan and through working closely this past year with my successor, Neil Forbes, it was a nonevent for our firm. What a celebration for our firm, our people and our clients in how to plan and execute succession the right way.  

At a personal level, the week and the transition have been emotional, slightly disruptive and yet very rewarding. Over the last nine years, I’ve received lots of wise counsel, love and support from my dear friend Tim Bartz, who made a similar transition several years ago.  

Tim said that upon stepping down as president of Anderson ZurMuehlen, “Your world changes overnight as the relationships with partners shift, your duties and priorities change, and you have a languishing feeling as you are so accustomed to being the center of activity for running the firm.”  

I’ve experienced all these things and thankfully, I am overcome with a peace that the firm is in a great spot and Neil is the right person to lead us forward. 

I am a natural introvert and after nine years in this role, I am spent — emotionally, mentally, spiritually and physically. I need to recharge my batteries.   

I share this because it has been a valuable life lesson for me. It is okay and healthy to acknowledge being spent. Only when we acknowledge it can we prioritize recharging. Recharging allows us to continue to serve and pursue our full potential. And I need to recharge because God has given me the peace and confidence that He has big plans for me.

Serving as HORNE’s executive partner has been the greatest honor and privilege of my career. This transition has shown me how much I underestimate our influence and impact on people’s lives, and what God is doing despite us. Our words and actions matter and they flow beyond our immediate world. Our future view matters! 

I’ve made many mistakes. Yet, I know despite my shortcomings, we made progress in growing the #WiseFirm. The trust and support from our partners and team members over the years has left me in awe and certainly humbled.  

I am grateful to have been a turtle on top of a fence post. The turtle that so many people helped to get there.  

Thanks to my partners at HORNE who elected me for three terms. Most importantly, after electing me, they dug in with advice, support and open minds.  

Thanks to our incredible team members who have embraced building the #WiseFirm with a strong sense of belonging while pursuing their full potential. Our journey together has been amazing.  

What words can express my love and appreciation for CeCe? She has been by my side the entire journey — supporting and praying for me through the good times and the tough ones. She certainly is the love of my life and along the way, she has become this blog’s favorite character, too.    

My parents, Joe and Mary, who loved me, prayed for me and instilled in me strong Christian values. My mentor Hugh Parker and coach Joe Paul who challenged and helped me to #beBetter. Bruce Walt, my partner, friend and fishing companion who is always there for me. My late partner Jim Martin who recruited me to HORNE and our early founding partner, Roy Ward, who took a chance on me back in 1984. Kassi Rushing who so masterfully helped me communicate the #WiseFirm vision.  

Truthfully, there are so many people that have helped place this turtle on the fence post, and I am thankful and appreciative to each and every one.  

Most of all, I want to give all glory and praise to God and to my savior Jesus Christ for blessing me beyond my dreams. Just as John O’Leary teaches us in his new book In Awe to embrace the gift of daily joy and live a life of meaning, as I turn to my new role, I will do so with renewed energy and a sense of expectation of big things to come. Stay tuned! 

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