When Springfield Tax Manager Lindsay Dale walked into a lobby full of people, she thought she had interrupted something. Little did she know the crowd was gathered to surprise her with the news she'd won the 2017 Employee PRIDE Award.
“I was just trying to get out of the way!” says Lindsay. “I don’t think I realized what was happening until he [CEO Ted Dickman] actually said the words.”
The Partner PRIDE Award winner—Managing Partner Wally Wetherill—was just as confused when he walked into a similar crowd gathered at the Fort Wayne office.
“I had no idea,” Wally admits. “I would have never thought of myself from a PRIDE Award standpoint.”
BKD employees submit nominations each year for who they think best embodies the firm’s PRIDE values—passion, respect, integrity, discipline and excellence. One partner and one employee are chosen from many nominations.
While neither Lindsay nor Wally expected the honor, those who work with them couldn’t think of two people more deserving.
“If we could clone Lindsay, we would,” says Springfield Partner Jamie McDonald. “She’s got all the qualities you’d ever want in a BKD professional. I don’t think anyone embodies BKD quite like Lindsay Dale.”
Lindsay began her public accounting career at the Springfield office in 2012. She currently works with BKD’s Private Client Services team in the areas of trust, estate and gift taxation.
“This is an awesome firm,” Lindsay says. “I’ve been here from the start … and I hope I’ll be here until the end. I have a lot of passion for BKD. I want to help grow the firm and get good recruits.”
Lindsay’s personality was repeatedly described as contagiously positive. Her enthusiastic spirit and passion for her job are a big part of why those around her nominated her.
“She has such a can-do attitude. She never says no, she helps with recruiting all the time—all the things she does, she does with passion,” says Springfield Partner Kim Hamm.
That passion doesn’t go unnoticed. When asked why he nominated Lindsay, Springfield Tax Manager Nathan Fitzgerald says, “It’s a matter of someone who always exemplifies the PRIDE values, who day in and day out has a lot of passion for their job and passion for the people they work with.”
Wally has served BKD for almost 29 years, specializing in the not-for-profit (NFP) and governmental industries. Because of his dedicated expertise, he serves as a regional team leader for the NFP industry.
Tom Cottrell, a retired partner from the Fort Wayne office, says Wally’s dedication to unmatched client service was always evident. “He really does exemplify the values–both individually and collectively–and he really does live them every day. He always puts everybody as a priority over himself.”
In his nearly three decades as a public accountant, Wally has built a reputation for being honest.
“He embodies each one of our traits to the fullest, and he lives it daily,” says Fort Wayne Senior Manager Stephanie Carper. “Whenever we’re talking about clients, whenever we’re talking about different situations, it’s always, ‘What’s the right thing to do?’ That’s number one on Wally’s mind.”
His choices influence those he works with too. “I think the integrity he has is very inspiring to everyone,” says Fort Wayne Manager Lauren Denton. “Always do the right thing. Always treat people the way you would want to be treated.”
Humility & Teamwork
Co-workers kept observing how humble Lindsay and Wally were in light of receiving the prestigious award.
“Lindsay has probably done a great job at everything she’s ever done in her life, but she does not like attention,” says Springfield Partner Gary Garwitz. “Her receiving the PRIDE Award was priceless in that she didn’t like it at all.”
When asked to describe Wally, Fort Wayne Partner Jeremy Carnahan says, “He’s someone who is incredibly humble, is a tremendous leader and does it really quietly. He doesn’t carry a big stick.”
Even during the PRIDE Award Ceremony held during BKD’s annual Leadership Conference in St. Louis, neither recipient kept the attention on themselves for very long. During their speeches, they focused on the importance of their respective teams to their individual success at BKD.
“We’ve got so many good people here who come to work every day, loving what they do and making the people around them better,” says Wally. “For me, it’s a joy to work side by side with them.”
While no one possesses all the PRIDE values in full, BKD intends for the annual award to inspire those at BKD to be the best version of themselves and perform at the highest possible level. The values the PRIDE Award stands for have brought success to BKD for the last 94 years, and that’s why so many clients choose BKD as their trusted advisor.