An In-Depth Look at Leadership Transition

A Conversation with Chris McKee

Join us as we explore the journey of Chris McKee, founder of Venturity Financial Partners, and his transition from CEO to mentor. Discover insights on leadership, growth, and the future of Venturity.

Exclusive Interview

Gain exclusive access to Chris McKee’s thoughts on leadership and company growth.

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Podcast Episode

Henry Harrison Interviews Chris McKee

Listen to Henry Harrison as he sits down with Chris McKee to discuss the evolution of Venturity Financial Partners, leadership challenges, and future aspirations.

Entrepreneurs, Business, and Finance

Transcript from Henry Harrison's Interview with Chris McKee

Transcript

HENRY:  Well, hello, Chris. Welcome to our podcast Entrepreneurs, Business and Finance. We’re fortunate to have Chris McKee on the show this morning. Although I’m concerned that maybe Chris has taken a fall because supposedly, he has his company chair of Venturity Financial Partners, but instead of him being on the cover of D Magazine, he’s got this other lady named Deanna Walker on there.

So I’m wondering if there’s a hostile takeover or what’s going on, but I actually do know this story. So Chris is the founder of and chairman currently of Venturity financial partners. Deanna was early on with Chris and Chris has decided to.  Step down partially from the day to day, at least step down from being CEO and pursue some other avenues, like perhaps teaching and Deanna Walker, who’s a very talented and wonderful person… I actually knew her from MBA at SMU taking over CEO. And that’s why she was featured on, the cover of D magazine, and also it shows it’s a pretty well known company here in Dallas, Fort Worth and beyond to be on the cover of D magazine. So what brought on that change? Because you had this company for is it 24 or 25 years now?

CHRIS: It’s 23 plus. Henry first, thanks for having me on today. I appreciate the opportunity to chat and, you and I have had a long relationship over the years as, as business owners and as friends. And so, I appreciate the opportunity to chat a little bit and you know, tell you a little bit about the story.

So, yeah, so you know, I founded the company back in 2001, Deanna joined. In early on in two thousand and three. And you know, we so what we do is outsourced accounting and we’ve grown the company over all those years. And, and you know, as I got into 2022 and 2023 was really feeling like it was time on a lot of levels to really think about handing off the reins and that.

So that’s really what I’ve done is handed off the reins to it. To Deanna, and that was effective last December 1st. So then almost six months. That would be six months on June 1st. How about that? So yeah, and really you know, 50 percent of it was I’ve been a CEO role a long time and was ready for some new and different challenges.

And then I also feel like and felt like in conversations with Deanna in particular that the organization was ready to grow in ways that, I think suit her leadership style better than mine. I think she’s the right next leader of Venturity, if that makes sense. So, I got to hand off the reins at some point and felt like this was really, she and I felt like this was really the right time to do that.

HENRY: Well, go back to the beginning because it’s very interesting your history and how you got started with this company. But before we do that, another thing that you have done that is really, I think, unique and really fantastic for your employees is the whole self-ownership. Why don’t you explain, you know, how that worked and what the motivation was?

Because company owned businesses are, they’re not that common. And there’s a lot of advantages for the people that work there and some advantages for you too. But I feel like a large part of that also was a way that you were, you know, knowing you get giving back to the employees and preparing for the continuation of Capital Partners, which provides a great service to business owners. People like me can assure that continuity for a long period of time.

CHRIS: Yeah. Now I think that you know, so it’s funny because the ownership transition strategy really predated the whole leadership transition strategy.

And I was really starting, oh, probably in about 2015 or so, you know, 15 ish years in, I was starting to think about, you know, I was hitting my fifties and I was thinking about, look, I need to have some sort of strategy as to what is going to be the next step for this company because my kids have no interest in being accountants.

So that wasn’t really going to be an option. And so, I went on a journey to sort of figure out what the best way to transition my ownership. And Venturity was, and my hope was that I could do it in a way that would create longevity for the company because we’d created a great environment for accountants and have what I feel is a great product for our clients.

And we handle their day-to-day accounting and it’s an important function for them. And so I didn’t want to sell the company in a way that would put all of that at risk.  in jeopardy, that important function that we serve for our clients and that great environment for accountants. And a lot of the alternatives that I looked at, you know, involved kind of potentially putting that at risk selling to  maybe a strategic acquirer or a financial acquirer in terms of private equity.

I have heard a lot of stories that didn’t go so well. And so you know, I started investigating different options and came across this idea of employee ownership and especially employee ownership through an employee stock ownership plan and ESOP is people may know it. And it’s something that was created back in the 70s.

And it’s a great idea. It’s a tax efficient way to transfer ownership to the employees over a period of time, or actually on a specific date if you want to do it as well. And so, we’ve sold 20 percent of the company into our employee stock ownership plan. It’s a separate entity that now owns 20 percent of Venturity, and then that stock gets allocated to the employees over a period of time.

And so they have real ownership stake in Venturity, and so the idea is over the next It was over 10 year period, so we were about three years in, so maybe over the next seven or eight years, I hope to sell the balance of Venturity to the ESOP, and that will get distributed to the employees. And then they have those shares, and then if they leave Venturity, say when they retire, the company buys that stock back to them and allocates it to the remaining employees.

So it provides a way to have perpetual ownership transfer. So it was a way that not only ensure the longevity of maturity for our team and for our clients, but also to reward the people that really helped me build it. I’m going to have a liquidity event when I sell to the ESOP, but they are also going to have that opportunity if they have a long career of maturity… to be able to sell their share for hopefully, multiple hundreds of thousands of dollars, you know, when they, when they leave Venturity. If they stay for a good amount of time. So yeah, so, you know, it’s, we’re three years in and it’s gone really well so far. Our share price has more than doubled in that period of time and we’re starting to create a little bit of wealth for some folks.

And it’s really fun to have, everyone alongside me as an owner versus me, the owner, and then the employees. We’re all kind of rowing the same boat now, which is, which is nice.

HENRY: Really nice and inspiring story. And I know they’re glad to to have that opportunity without even knowing, you know, all of them and how many people are at Venturity now?

CHRIS: So we’ve got really around 50 folks here in Dallas, and then we’ve also got about 50 folks overseas in India as well through a partner firm. So, they’re dedicated to us full time, but they’re actually employees of that partner firm. So, we’re, you know, really a hundred plus person firm these days. But the people here in the U.S., it’s 50 folks, and they’re the ones that will really be part of that ESOP and taking it forward, so.

HENRY: You know, my, my, one of my internships was in college, it was the summer was Coopers and Lybrand. It was on the management consulting side, but I kind of looked into the accounting side. And Emory University had I got a major in economics, which was, you know, business oriented, but they had a BBA program where you could take classes.

So when I got the experience on accounting even though not sure if I would have been a good accountant I really was fascinated with it because that was the way that I was interested in business and you can track your business and find out what’s going on from the financial number side.

And, you know, I think people think it’s boring, but when you’re looking at numbers about your own business or what’s going on in your own life, it doesn’t seem very boring. It seems.

CHRIS: Yeah, I think that’s one of the things that’s been great about you know, maturity and the relationship we’ve had with our clients, because, you know, what I, what I tell the team, and I think why they enjoy what we do here at maturity, because they get to work on a lot of different clients rather than just being an accountant at a company you know, I, I think we’re never going to be the most important thing that happens for any of our clients. They’ve got to make revenue and make their customers happy and service their customers. And so, you know, sales and revenue and operations are certainly going to take precedence. We have a really important role to play, and that is providing really solid, accurate, timely financial information to the decision makers in an organization to help them make better decisions.

And that’s what I really talk to my team about here is that if we can help our clients, while we’re never the most important thing that happens in our clients, we can help them be more successful by giving them great financial information and helping them understand it and understand their business through the numbers. And that’s how we can have an impact.

And, and I think, you know, over the last 20 plus years, that’s what we’ve been able to do. And it’s, it’s fun. It’s what, it’s what makes it fun to get out of bed and do accounting because it’s not just the debits and credits, it’s what we can do with those and, and help our clients be more successful.

HENRY: So important for the smaller firms. I’ve had a company where we had in-house accounting and then a mother-daughter team that had done with Venturity does, but there aren’t that many, you know, mother daughter teams out there that you can find. And so I was lucky. And so, it’s a real asset to have that.

CHRIS: Yeah, it’s tough when you’ve got a one or two-person accounting shop. If you like you said, if you find somebody good and you can hang on to him, that’s great. A lot of companies, it’s a real struggle because if it’s a one-person accounting department, that person is only going to see so much growth in that role, and they’re going to have to leave to go find an opportunity to grow. And so, you’re constantly going to be replacing that person. And so, option outsourcing is a great option.

It doesn’t have to be… It’s not the only way to go. But it does help solve that issue for a lot of companies that they’re getting the information they need without Having to be responsible for the care and feeding of an accountant You can have a situation like you had it. It really can be a great situation as well

HENRY: One of the things too and it’s interesting about it not being the most important thing You’ve got some case studies on your website It is the most important thing if you have a big problem with your accounting

CHRIS: Yeah, unfortunately it, yeah, it can, it can suddenly become the thing that really becomes a huge, it becomes, as you say, the most important thing because you’ve gotta get it straightened out. If you don’t do it well, you don’t know sort of where you’ve been or where you’re going. You can’t make decisions. Do I have the money to make this investment? Do I have the money to hire this person? Are we making money on this sale to this customer or not? You know, where are we making money and where we’re not? If you don’t have that information, it can be paralyzing.

HENRY: I’m sure, you’ve seen your share of people that have come to you with some issues that they need to straighten out and you’ve had to full force, you know, team on to help them get that resolved so they could get through their crisis of you… They’re only where they are.

CHRIS: Yeah, that’s a big piece of what we often do is usually don’t people don’t come to us. Oh, our accounting is great. We just want to outsource it.  Unfortunately, usually it’s they’ve reached some sort of inflection point. They’ve outgrown what they have, or they do have a situation where it’s a triage situation.

And fortunately, we’ve got a robust team that can come in and hopefully pull them out of that situation relatively quickly. Quickly. I mean, usually it’s not an overnight thing. It takes  some weeks or sometimes months to sort of tease everything out and get it all straightened out. It doesn’t get messed up overnight, so it doesn’t get fixed overnight.

But we do have, we’ve done it so many times now, we’ve got a little bit of a playbook and can kind of help them. Like when I say sort of they’re off in the woods and we help kind of lead them out of the woods and get all of that straightened out. And, and yeah, we, we do see quite a bit of that. So

HENRY: Talk about SMU, they had an entrepreneur class there, an institute. Talked about a precipitating event, becoming an entrepreneur, and I think that may have been the case for you where, because you were had a really solid accounting pedigree background with a Major in accounting and then you worked at a big, I don’t know if it was big eight or big six or big four then but One of the big ones which accounting firm was it that you worked at?

Yeah. Yeah, so, you know, I graduated 89 in the early 90s I actually worked with was very fortunate to get on with Arthur Anderson and so I was there for five years and people joke about Arthur Anderson that was more in the 2000s when all that fell apart But you know, it was at the time the premier Of the big eight and I’m just very fortunate to get on with them and had a wonderful five year career with them and then you know really realized I liked being a lot more hands on with accounting. So I was an auditor with them and I went in house with the company and you know worked in accounting departments for the next five years or so and really enjoyed that as well, leading accounting teams. And at first I was over planning budgeting, and then I was a controller and then a VP of finance. And so it was had a, had a really realized how much I enjoyed being part of the internal accounting department. And so the last company I was with in 99 didn’t get their next round of funding.

And so found myself out on my own, started helping people clean up their books while I was looking for a full-time job. And then That’s sort of turned into really what I saw as a need out there for smaller businesses that, as I said, can’t attract and retain great accountants to really bring that accounting that I’ve learned at Arthur Anderson and some of these larger companies I worked for, bring that discipline of a solid accounting department to some, some small to medium sized businesses.

And so in 2001, started Venturi with a couple of clients doing their accounting. Just me and then I hired somebody and then got some more clients, hired a few more people and it just sort of went from there.

HENRY: When you first started accounting, was that in high school or was that a college or when did you develop an interest in it?

CHRIS: Yeah, you know it’s crazy. I actually I went to a high school where they had accounting classes, which is not usual today. It’s unusual now. But the school I went to,  they offered accounting as a junior. They had accounting one and accounting two, junior and senior year. And I sort of had a choice between chemistry as an elective or accounting.

And I decided I was going to be more business, businessy than sciencey. And so I took accounting and like two weeks in, I was like, Oh wow, I could do this free for the rest of my life. This is like what I love. And I know that sounds crazy, but I, as a junior in high school, I was like, yeah, this is, this is what I’m going to do.

And in the accounting book, like in the first chapter, it said, You know, there’s expected to be 100,000 jobs a year every year created in accounting for them to go. Yeah, I need a job doing this. This is great. I’ll do it for free. So that’s kind of how I got into the world of accounting. So yes, I’m an accounting geek from a very young age.

HENRY: Is neat to hear because we all want to have our career be something we’re passionate about. Well,

CHRIS: I found my passion early, but I’ve told my kids look, that that’s really an unusual thing. And so you don’t need to have that question answered at the age of 16, 17, like I did.

HENRY: Talk a little bit about I know your website you talk about, I’m looking at right here. The external CFO. So fractional CFO advisory services. So, obviously, there’s the books and there’s preparation of the books, but then there must be some advice and some financial guidance that you’re giving along with the books as and if a client chooses to desire to have that.

CHRIS: Yeah, you know, it’s not something we’ve, we’ve always done. You know, we, we started out really doing the day-to-day accounting. So, you know, in a, in an accounting department, if you have a larger department, there’s a controller that really is responsible for the department and you have, you know, accounts payable and receivable and payroll that sort of rolls up underneath that.

But the the controller is ultimately responsible for the accuracy of the books and records of the of the company. And so they they’re the ones that do accounting, quote unquote, if you will. And so that’s really what we did. That was the problem we solved initially. But as we grew and as our clients grew they were coming to us with more questions about, all right,  your financials are great. I have a really good idea of where we are financially, but I need more strategic advice. And can you help us with that? And my initial answer was, well, I mean, I might be able to help you a little bit, but I’m trying to run Venturity Financial Partners at the same time as well.

And so Deanna, who is now our CEO, and at that time was chief revenue officer, really identified this need. And so we need to really add some additional expertise. We need to add fractional CFO services because our clients are pulling us in that direction, and they need that additional help. I guess the way I would describe it is what we’ve always done is very tactical, and it was a tactical need that companies had, and that’s their accounting.

A CFO really operates at a more strategic level and takes that accounting information and other operating information and helps the CEO, business owner, other management team members really decide based on that information, what strategic decisions or advises them on strategic decisions that they make and particularly through a financial lens.

And that was the piece that our clients needed, and we were missing. And so about five years or so ago, we introduced that service, and we’ve got, oh, a half dozen or more folks now that have been that come in alongside our accounting folks and client situations and really advise them at a more strategic level.

And it’s obviously been a real growth area for our business, but it’s also just something that’s really rounded out our service offering for our clients. And given the best, the ability to take the information that we give them the accounting information, but help them use it more strategically and advise them more strategically.

So, yes, it’s really, really deepened our client relationships.

HENRY: Yeah, yeah, that’s fantastic. I also see system support and consultation. So I’m assuming that, you know, you’re all are experts dealing with different systems and different people’s offices. So some people need help with that. And you can help them set that up or fix problems or upgrade.

CHRIS: Yeah. Yeah.

And I would say it’s, it’s a growth area for us and we get involved in it opportunistically. We have, I think you put it well, we have a lot of expertise that we’ve developed over the years just through the work that we do around accounting systems and operating systems and how those things fit together because we’re what I would call software agnostic.

We don’t force our clients to work on a certain accounting software. We just learn whatever they have. And from that, we just learned a lot about how Software works and what works well in certain industries or certain size companies. And so we end up helping our clients implement different pieces of technology, whether it be the core accounting system or things that plug into that that help make it more of an ERP type situation or automate things that were previously manual.

So, it’s sort of an expertise that we bring to the table as necessary. And hopefully over time, as we continue to grow the number of people who are proficient at that it’s something that we can maybe lead with from time to time as well. But I think to, I think a lot of times when we get involved with companies, part of the reason that their accounting is not giving them the information that they need is the technology platform that they’re working on. It’s not the first thing that we look to, but sometimes it is, it is the problem. And so, we’re, whereas maybe in our early days, we’re really small, we said, okay, this is the problem that you need to find somebody to solve it. We’re able to help them solve that problem now.

And which is helpful because we know the outcome that we’re looking for and the output that we’re looking for. And we can use our expertise to help manage a software transition in a way that doesn’t get out of hand, which we’ve all heard stories of how it can get out of hand. So

HENRY: We met in the entrepreneurs organization… In fact, you’ve always been a leader because you were president of the chapter at one point, as was I, the Dallas chapter you’re widely known in the community here. D magazine, for those of you that don’t know, is big D short Nickname for Dallas. So that’s kind of the Dallas magazine that you’re now a CEO.

Deanna Walker was on the cover of, but you didn’t start out that way. You started out doing accounting yourself. And transitioned as a lot of offers do and people in corporate as well. They might become accountants and then they might become a management accountant. And the next thing that they might be CFO of a corporation.

But that’s a step because you mentioned how you love accounting, but I don’t think you’ve been doing accounting for your clients for some time. I’m guessing.

CHRIS: Yeah, it’s a funny journey. And I, I’m glad you mentioned the Entrepreneurs Organization because it came along really at an inflection point for me in my career because I had you know, started Venturity in 2001 and I, I did it to, you know, service this need in the market and create a place where accountants could come and apply their trade, including me. I thought this would be a great job. I love doing accounting for a bunch of different companies. That would be fun. And at first, I was selling the accounting and doing the accounting, you know, and, and then I was selling it and doing some of it and hiring people to help and you know, one of the first key decisions that I made was I was a little better at doing the accounting than selling the accounting.

And so, I brought Deanna in in 2003 to start to be my first salesperson so I could focus on the doing the accounting part. Well, she quickly became very successful at selling the accounting and we started to grow relatively quickly. And before long, I couldn’t keep up with doing all the accounting and running the company and we really identified the need in 2005.

So not too long after she got here, it was like, okay, we need to decide that Chris is going to either run the company or he’s going to do the accounting, but he can’t do both. And so we, we had what we called an accounting exorcism for Chris in 2005. And I let go of all my clients. And it really took the better part of a year, not because it was, it was complicated to turn over my clients.

It’s because it was hard to turn over my clients. I love, I’ve always saw him, saw myself as an accountant. And so, I had to see myself as not an accountant anymore. I’m a guy that runs a business. And that was, that was a difficult transition. And, and, you know, a friend of mine in Yale recommended a book Jeremy Brand actually you know recommended the e myth, which talks about how, a lot of people who start businesses or technicians like myself, they’re really good at something that they do, and they face that point where they’ve got to make the decision.

Oh, I started this company to do this, but there’s so much going on. I don’t have time to do that thing that I love to do. And  they they revert back to that and say, Okay, I’m going to keep the company really tiny so I can keep doing counting in my case, or they choose to grow into that leadership role where they hire somebody for that leadership role

And the path I chose was to figure out how to be the head of Venturity at that point. It wasn’t certainly CEO in those days. It was just sort of the head dude, you know, I think we call it managing partner for what it was worth in those days. But that was even a little high and mighty for where we were.

But yeah, that was a really, it’s been well over 15 years damn near 20 years now, although since I really did accounting on a daily basis.  And there were days where I just said, I don’t want to be CEO anymore. Just give me a bank reconciliation. But yeah, it’s a key decision point for folks.

And, and I, I wouldn’t, I don’t know that I would have made that decision and I not had my friends and fellow business owners and E.O. around me and Jeremy recommending that book to me. I was like, oh, okay. Now I see the decision I have to make and it wasn’t as obvious a decision as everyone would think it would be. Oh, CEO. Sound great. We run the company. You know you know, there’s a lot of responsibility that comes with that. And I had to give I had to give up something I love doing every day, which is accounting. But, you know, I flash forward to today, and I wouldn’t make a different decision for a minute.  I’ve learned and grown in ways that I never would have had I not made the choice that I made.

They weren’t, it wasn’t always easy. In fact, a lot of days it sort of sucked, to be honest with you. But I’m a much, better person and you know, I think we’ve been successful as a company. Hopefully Maybe in spite of the fact that I made that decision. I don’t know  But we’ve been fortunate. So…

HENRY: I don’t think so…

Jeremy Brandt was on the podcast too so we got a chance to hear from him as well. What is a that’s maybe one challenge but Talk about day stocking pretty much every entrepreneur we’ve had on everyone. I’ve known have had their downtimes. I repeated this before, but Elon Musk talks about his book and he’s richest guy in the world and almost bankrupt a few times.

So if he’s going to have downturns and what about the rest of us mere mortals, so to speak. Not that you were close to going bankrupt, but what’s the challenge that you had to work through that you feel might be interesting for people to hear about?

CHRIS: Let’s not make a mistake here.

I did almost run us out of cash twice. So there is the we tell stories about the time Chris almost ran us out of cash once and then we don’t Chris almost ran out of cash second time. So even as an accountant. And I should know better. You know, we make decisions as business owners that don’t always play out the way that we think they do.

So, you know so, you know, there are a couple of those instances. One in, in 2008 you know, like a lot of people, I was overly exuberant going into 2007 and 2008 and you know, committed to more on the expense side than I should have. and was too slow to cut costs, you know, we’re never going to have a layoff, all those kinds of things.

And, you know, you just learn some hard lessons about some of that stuff. So you know had some other very difficult times with losing key team members you know, lost a long time right hand person for, for many years. You know, Deanna and one other person were sort of right and left hand and lost a person to some real personal challenges that she had as well.

And so, you know, they’re just some really some really, you do go through some really difficult times. Had our servers taken over by ransomware. Really early before a lot of people knew what ransomware was and so had a week of not being able to process anyone’s accounting. That was a super scary time.

Thought I might not only lose my business but my reputation. You know, every, the accounting records for our clients. I mean, I thought I might go to jail. I mean, I didn’t know what was going to happen. So yeah, that was probably a, it’s probably one of the most significant low points I would say.

It was a very scary week.  And just when I was about to give up hope, our IT guys called and said, “Hey, we got it all back.”  Oh, okay. Great. That’s wonderful.

I might not go to jail. So yeah. Yeah. You know you would think someone is, as a measured and disciplined as, as you would expect an accountant to be you know, it’s, it’s there are days that are super difficult in owning a business, as we all know.

HENRY: Well, Jeremy mentioned being over optimistic, maybe the natures of entrepreneurs, maybe the nature of the business people to kind of have to be to take some of the chances.

And there’s a young lady that started Mercator AI. She was on the podcast too, got some  funding and she’s working with construction folks, but a relatively new entrepreneur. And she’s talked to some other people who said, well, you know, “It doesn’t get easier.” They tell her “you just have to get stronger”.

CHRIS: You know, I’ve got another spin on that, which is you know, about halfway through our existence as a company, I met this guy, Ari Weinzweig, who has a deli up in Ann Arbor, Michigan called Zingerman’s, which in certain communities is really well known. It’s just a great business and a great place to work. And, you know, they’ve grown that into a series of food-based businesses in the Ann Arbor community that’s probably well over 50 million now. And he started and they started in the 80s and have just grown a phenomenal business. And, but one of the, and one of the things that he says is, you know, as you, as you get bigger and become more successful your problems don’t go away, you just get better problems. And I think that probably is true. There are sometimes bigger problems, but they’re also better problems. Some of those existential issues go away and they tend to be things that are more, how are we going to grow? How are we going to, you know, how are we going to get over this next hump? How are we going to solve this growth challenge? I think I found that to be true. I think certainly once you cross that $10MM mark. 0 to 5 million was super difficult. 5 to 10 less difficult. And I think once you get to a certain state as a business, I, I think I’d be disingenuous if I didn’t say that, you know, you do get to the point where you are more stable on those existential potential life threatening issues can still come,  but they’re less likely to happen because you’ve got a bigger team that can help solve problems and losing one person or one client or even two or three people or two or three clients isn’t as life threatening to the business as it was when you were smaller.

So I always like that. You know, look, you’re probably everyone thinks, oh, you get bigger problems. No, your problems go away. You know, here’s become it’s not you just get better problems, but you still have lots of problems to solve. And we certainly do. And I think that’s what Deanna is enjoying about her time in the CEO role.

HENRY: And I know you mentioned also that there are some other people that have stepped up. Under Deanna that have given chances now that you’ve moved on. So they’ll be solving problems as well.

CHRIS: It’s been great. Deanna’s told me some stories. We get together for lunch every Monday. So my role as chairman, my, my main role now is to, coach the CEO and supervise the CEO, if you will, and I’m the only board member at this point, but as we grow, we’ll add some additional outside board members.

And so, but yeah, the story she’s told me about how people in just the six months since I’ve left, it really blossomed because there’s things that I previously Just sort of took care of and they’ve had to figure some of those things out. And it’s just opened a space for them to really step into and it’s been, it’s been so cool to hear some of the stories.

So, it’s one of the more satisfying things about having, having handed off the reins.

HENRY: And then  I’m sure you’re still young. We’ll say anyhow, we’re young, we’re young in spirit and you got a lot of time left. What are your next steps or. I know you may not be sort of entirely involved, but I think you have some things in mind

CHRIS: Yeah, I’m certainly retired from being a CEO. That’s well, I, I really enjoyed the journey. It’s not a role I want to step into again. You know, one of the things I’ve always enjoyed about being a leader, being a CEO the time leading the company was really teaching others. It’s, well, it’s part of the reason I started Venturity in addition to that need in the marketplace was to bring people in and take them through a journey on their career and teach them some of the things that I learned along the way.

And so, I did, I helped with a lot of the development of our internal training programs, taught a lot of the classes over the years. And just always had a passion for teaching. And so, the next thing I’d like to do if, if the opportunity works out is I’d love to teach at the college level and teach accounting at the college level.

And I hope that what I can bring to that is the experience of kind of what accounting looks like out in the wild, like what actually happens. Marry that with the theory foundation that you get when you get an accounting degree, sort of bring that perspective to it as well. So, you know, I’m going to take a little bit of a break and hopefully by next fall, fall 2025, I will be on with the university here in town somewhere.

Hopefully one of them will give me the opportunity to teach and I’ll get to spend that time in the classroom. That’s really where my next passion is, if I’m lucky. We’ll see how it goes.

HENRY: Well, I admire you for taking that step. And if folks and I admire the company you built, if folks wanted to contact Venturity, I mean, I’m looking right here to give us a call button. They could probably email as well. There’s an info at and I know that you would like to hear from them.

CHRIS: Yeah, yeah. So obviously, you know, website Venturity. net. But also you can, if you’ve got questions for me outside of accounting, I mean, I can always answer accounting questions. I love doing that.

But, you know, about some of the things that you have heard about here, whether it’s employee ownership. We didn’t really talk about open book management, but it’s something I also, we also do that I’ve got some expertise around. You know, or my journey as a CEO, EO and my experience in the Entrepreneurs Organization.

I’d love, love to talk to anybody about that. Just Chris@Venturity.net, VENTURITY.com

HENRY: That’s fantastic. What a great way to wrap up. Look forward to seeing what you do in the future, what Venturity does, and of course staying in touch, my friend. So thank you for coming on.

CHRIS: Hey, thanks, Henry. It’s been a pleasure chatting with you.  All right. Goodbye.

I’ve learned and grown in ways that I never would have had I not made the choices that I made.

Chris McKee

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