The I2L Story
Intend2Lead is a leadership development firm created in 2016 by Sarah Elliott and Brian Kush to help accountants access the Dimension of Possible. Now, I2L has grown into a team of incredible leaders in the accounting profession. Read on to learn more about the personal journeys of Sarah and Brian, how they combined forces to create I2L, and the I2L difference that sets us apart.
How Sarah Got Here
2013 was a year of transformation. It was my second year of marriage and my first year as a partner at a regional CPA firm. The youngest and newest of 20+ partners, I was appointed to the firm’s executive committee and as the National Audit Partner-in-Charge for our audit team of approx. 60 professionals. Saying I felt overwhelmed is an understatement!
I knew I needed to change to take on these new challenges. I immersed myself in personal growth. First, I took control of my health and well being by taking control of my mornings. I participated in a group-coaching program. I joined a MasterMind group of inspiring entrepreneurs. I read powerful books in my spare time. I attended workshops, conferences and local business events. I soaked up learning like a sponge, wherever I could find it…in my work, in my life, and in every interaction with another person. I pushed myself even farther outside my comfort zone, joining the board of directors of a not-for-profit organization and co-founding a local women’s professional networking group. I started observing myself, my thoughts and my words. I started journaling and envisioning my future with intention. I learned how to shift my thoughts and language to more positive and empowering beliefs.
I discovered who I really am and began to live from that place. I discovered that my purpose, my Why, is to inspire positive change in the world, one person at a time. Each of us makes an impact in the world in every moment, with our thoughts, our words, our actions. I am energized when I think of what we can contribute to the world when each of us is more intentional with our moments!
Once I knew I was a creative entrepreneur at heart, I had to strike out on my own. I founded Ellivate Coaching in 2014 to live my purpose more fully. I became a mother less than six months later, and I expanded the way I live my purpose in a new and beautiful way.
Nothing brings me more fulfillment than connecting with others in an authentic way and supporting their personal growth. I see the best in other people, even when they can’t see it for themselves. I love empowering others to create success in their own unique way. I enjoy learning new things every single day.
It is an honor to share this journey with you.
How Brian Got Here
In 2005, tasked with more sales responsibility at the consulting firm where I worked, I hired a sales coach to help me reach some goals. I discovered that coaching allowed you to claim an environment where you escape the daily grind and take a long hard look at who you are and what you are doing. I grew up professionally in a fast-paced world where “more work” was usually the answer. I realized more did not always mean better and especially not more meaningful. Slowing down to become better was not a habit, but once I realized the power of it, I was hooked. And the coaching worked. I became more intentional in my life with all of my relationships, including with my wife, friends, and work colleagues.
And coaching felt so authentic to me. I realized the natural way I was excelling professionally were more in smaller group and one-on-one settings where I was able to empower others by being curious about their aspirations, their challenges, and their “meaning.”
In late 2007 our consulting firm was acquired by a much larger company and I decided to start my own coaching practice. A few months later, with very little work, my wife and I found out she was pregnant. I felt guilty and discouraged. I pressed on with help from a lot of people. I went back to school and received a certificate in leadership coaching from Georgetown. Since then, I have grown my coaching practice and been fortunate enough to attract some very special opportunities, including this one to create Intend2Lead with Sarah.
I feel most alive when I am present and connecting with others in conversations where we discuss challenges, failures, success, and what is possible.
Combining Creative Forces
Sharing the labels of CPA, entrepreneur and executive coach, Sarah and Brian were speakers at the AICPA EDGE Conference in August 2015. Although we didn’t meet in person at the conference, a mutual colleague at the conference thought we should know one another. He made an e-mail connection a few days later.
When we first spoke via phone, we had no agenda. During the course of our “getting to know you” discussion, we found we had a lot in common at a surface level. We both combined a practical and coaching approach to our work, considering our past leadership experience as CPAs and our coaching education. We also each made a leap of faith to start our own business while we were expanding our families. We set up a second call.
On this next call, we discovered we had even more in common at a deeper level – we share much of the same values and professional passions. We each feel that our purpose is to empower others and to make a difference. We also shared the same professional dream – to create transformational leadership development programming.
Energized by this, we quickly understood that we could contribute much more together than we could apart. Brian flew from Washington DC to meet Sarah in Austin for a day of brainstorming in December. Things quickly snowballed from there, and we are thrilled to share Intend2Lead with you!!!
The I2L Difference
We know the accounting profession. We’ve experienced it from two perspectives – as practicing CPAs and as service providers to the profession. Combined, our founders have 25+ years of experience as practicing CPAs and 15+ years of experience as leadership coaches and consultants serving the profession.
We are coaches first. As classically trained, ICF credentialed coaches, our primary objective is to partner with you in a thought-provoking and creative process, inspiring you to maximize your potential. This is the lens through which we see the world, and we bring it to everything we do.
We empower you and your organization. We do not simply provide training. We empower your organization to make meaningful cultural change on a large scale, in a way that consciously allows you to take the lead.
We take an inside-out approach. This is the only way transformation occurs. We dig deep to uncover your vision, what success means to you and your most challenging obstacles. This paves the way for us to co-create meaningful change, for you and your organization.
We focus on sustainable change. Our standard is transformation. We strive to help you and your organization reach a new place where you can never go back to old ways of thinking or being. We strive to create a holistic development experience that creates momentum well beyond your learning and coaching experience.
We use a strengths-based and solutions-focused approach. We do not believe anyone needs to be “fixed.” Instead, we help you and your organization uncover more of your best selves – your gifts, passion, purpose and energy – so you can contribute more to the people and ideas that matter most.