Chapter 8Coming HomeLessons from Barry Salzberg, Johan Aurik, and Steve Davis

Photo of Barry Salzberg.

Midway through his career, Barry Salzberg, a young rising star at accounting firm Deloitte, was offered a promotion. He could become partner. It would advance his prestige and salary and consolidate his rise in the company. There was only one condition: he would have to move to an office other than New York, where he had been for about a decade. It could not have been a worse timing for that. His son was suffering from a “lengthy illness,” and leaving New York would also mean leaving behind his trusted doctors.

In 1988, Steve Davis, who had just graduated with a JD from Columbia Law School in New York, also faced a choice between professional advancement and personal priorities. His human rights law degree in hand, he could return to China, where he had spent time on and off since the end of the 1970s. He could help China on its way to less authoritarianism, fewer human rights violations, and more economic development and global engagement. Or he could go back to Seattle, which his partner preferred, even though it wasn't “the center of anybody's universe.”

In June 2013, recently elected global managing partner Johan Aurik of A.T. Kearney was scheduled to lead his first U.S. partner and principal meeting in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The importance of the three-day meeting was clear: the United States ...

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