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The Upstream Leader Podcast
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The Upstream Leader Podcast

Jeremy Clopton, Heath Alloway, The Upstream Academy

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High-yield and low-maintenance: This is your ultimate goal as an accounting firm member, regardless of where you are in your career journey. Brought to you by Upstream Academy, The Upstream Leader Podcast is your source for insights and education on becoming a high performing firm leader. Join hosts Jeremy Clopton and Heath Alloway for interviews with insightful, engaging and entertaining experts, who share knowledge and expertise on firm best practices, processes, technology and more! With ...
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The Upstream Leader’s Heath Alloway makes a new connection with Ed Warren from Sage Intacct to discuss the evolution of client accounting and CFO services that are resulting in rewarding personal and firm growth opportunities, all while making a significant impact on clients. Get the full show notes and more resources at TheUpstreamLeader.com.…
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The Upstream Leader Podcast’s Jeremy Clopton opens up with Heath Alloway to share how past life events influenced his workaholic tendencies. Too often, the individuals struggling with balance are those who meet the characteristics of a great team member, and that is hard to change. He shares his personal story that goes much deeper than productivit…
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The Upstream Leader’s Jeremy Clopton and Keith Dolabson, Gursey | Schneider LLP, explore effective networking in the digital age. Keith advocates for genuine connections and dispels the notion of needing to be the most interesting person in the room. The discussion covers virtual networking challenges and emphasizes the importance of regular, conti…
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The Upstream Leader’s Heath Alloway has a crucial conversation with Amy Kelly and Julie Nee from The Jon Gordon Companies about the profound impact of positivity in our professional and personal lives. In a world surrounded by negativity, this episode will help you grow the skill of positivity to make a difference in your own lives, careers, and ev…
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The Upstream Leader’s Jeremy Clopton talks with Justin Grant, Founder of Professional Productions, about turning adversity into opportunity. In a conversation that covers so many life experiences, Jeremy and Justin tackle topics including mental health challenges, support, and what leaders can do to overcome challenges and create opportunities for …
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The Upstream Leader’s Heath Alloway talks with Alyssa Taylor, a manager at Windes, and Eric Tuffnail, a manager at RLB, to gain valuable insight into their leadership journey. They share personal experiences and advice about the importance of the manager role, lessons learned, and how partners can prepare the next generation of leaders. Get the ful…
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The Upstream Leader Podcast’s Jeremy Clopton and Heath Alloway have a conversation about the recent HeadWaters conference hosted by Upstream Academy. They cover their key takeaways, reactions, and reflection they’ve done since the conference. Get the full show notes and more resources at TheUpstreamLeader.com…
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The Upstream Leader’s Jeremy Clopton talks with Kyle Turriff of RLB Digital about how he turned his dream into reality. The conversation winds through Kyle’s journey from aspiring golf pro to ultimately leading the digital practice in one of Canada’s top firms. They discuss goals, side hustles, persistence, and strategies for creating something new…
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The Upstream Leader’s Jeremy Clopton chats with Amy Vetter about her new book, Disconnect to Connect. The conversation covers various topics based on the idea that disconnecting from our backstories can help us create more successful futures. Amy shares stories from her career and other leaders she has worked with on how they have and are currently…
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The Upstream Leader’s Heath Alloway takes a deeper dive into a unique approach to the Kaiser Consulting business model with Lori Kaiser. She shares insight into her journey and how it influenced flexible schedules, client projects, and honoring work preferences. She openly shares we believe in our business model, but it may not be for everybody. Ge…
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The Upstream Leader’s Heath Alloway has a heartfelt conversation with Karen Scott and Gen Nelson from the Lost & Found Grief Center to gain insight into the language of grief. They share invaluable insight into those that experience loss, what to expect, and approaches to being there for those going through one of the most challenging times in thei…
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The Upstream Leader Podcast’s Jeremy Clopton and Heath Alloway continue to hear challenges around capacity, burnout, and stress, so they decided to have a conversation to share personal struggles, victories, and strategies to recharge and rejuvenate when the tank is running on empty. Get the full show notes and more resources at TheUpstreamLeader.c…
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The Upstream Leader Podcast’s Jeremy Clopton talks with Jonathan Clark, partner at RKL, about managing stress and keeping our joy daily. Given the prevalence of burnout, overwhelm, and stress in the profession, this topic is focused on how we can make improvements at an individual level. The conversation ranges from stories from Jonathan’s career t…
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The Upstream Leader Podcast’s Jeremy Clopton talks with Parker Pell, co-founder at Abode, about recruiting the next generation of talent. The conversation explores the challenge that firms face in recruiting and retention, which is more foundational than many believe. The discussion also includes what Gen Z is looking for in an employer, how to con…
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The Upstream Leader’s Heath Alloway connects with Marty Brown, President and CEO of PYA, to learn more about their intentional investment and development of young professionals. Although Marty shares a glimpse into challenges in our profession, he has a contagiously positive outlook on why public accounting is a promising career. He shares ideas to…
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The Upstream Leader Podcast’s Heath Alloway and Jeremy Clopton talk about the concept of quiet quitting and what it means for the profession. The conversation starts with a definition of the phrase and includes the importance of how we communicate our expectations, redefine success in terms of true productivity, and re-engage our workforce. Get the…
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The Upstream Leader’s Heath Alloway catches up with Bert Purdy, a Financial Services Partner at FORVIS, to talk about the time he almost left public accounting. He shares experiences about what he was going through, why he stayed, and ideas to help others with similar thoughts. Get the full show notes and more resources at TheUpstreamLeader.com.…
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The Upstream Leader Podcast’s Jeremy Clopton talks with Rebecca Sanborn about the role community plays in recruiting and retention. Perhaps more importantly, they discuss what community is, how diversity plays a role, and how belonging factors in the conversation. A strong sense of community is one element that improves retention, and this episode …
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The Upstream Leader’s Heath Alloway has a meaningful dialogue with Joey Havens, Managing Partner of Strategic growth at HORNE, about the difference between a “good” culture and developing a compelling people-first culture. The conversation hits some of the most pressing topics impacting the profession around people, flexibility, diversity, the fear…
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The Upstream Leader’s Heath Alloway catches up with Josh Tyree, Partner and CEO at Harris CPAs, to learn more about his transition to firm CEO and approach to driving meaningful change. Once you acknowledge we live in constant flux, change becomes a proactive responsibility for continuous improvement. Get the full show notes and more resources at T…
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The Upstream Leader Podcast’s Jeremy Clopton talks with Randy Crabtree about his experience with mental health challenges while leading a firm in the accounting profession. The discussion includes how Randy overcame mental health challenges, his thoughts on how organizations can support employees, and steps individuals can take to improve their men…
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The Upstream Leader’s Heath Alloway has a conversation with Melissa Biron, Principal at Nathan Wechsler and Company, and Ryan Hurst, Partner at RKL, to share their unique experiences and lessons learned on their path to partner. Both guests shared the importance of soliciting input and providing transparency to those that may have similar questions…
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The Upstream Leader Podcast’s Jeremy Clopton talks with Jonyce Bullock about her journey to becoming a managing partner. Along the way, they discuss how she broke down barriers, created a path for others, and strives to leave the profession better each day. Get the full show notes and more resources at TheUpstreamLeader.com…
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The Upstream Leader Podcast’s Heath Alloway talks with Jeremy Johnson, the lead pastor at North Point Church, on defining and finding purpose-driven leadership. It is easy to get confused on the quest for significance if you focus on your own agenda. Jeremy shares how he found purpose in refocusing everything from the inside to help someone in need…
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The Upstream Leader Podcast’s Heath Alloway and Jeremy Clopton talk about the concept of time and the importance of creating space to work on the business and ourselves. Investing the time can be a challenge when “busy” is viewed as a status. When you get out of “busy” you have an opportunity to create a firm, career, and life you desire. Get the f…
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In this episode of The Upstream Leader, Jeremy talks with Jake Thompson from Compete Every Day. The discussion focuses on how leaders can compete every day without getting burned out. Other topics include the importance of clear communications and learning how to do hard things. Get the full show notes and more resources at TheUpstreamLeader.com…
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The Upstream Leader Podcast’s Heath Alloway talks with Sara Choate, the managing director of KPM’s Human Capital Solutions practice. Sara shares her story and a splash of humor to debunk frequent HR misconceptions, how HR can play a strategic role within a firm, and how those exact solutions can benefit firm clients. Get the full show notes and mor…
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In this episode, Heath Alloway talks with Bryan McKenzie, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Director of Football for the Midwest Region. Bryan shares his leadership journey, which includes making it to the NFL, a career-ending injury, and how he worked through adversity to find his love for coaching. Bryan shares impactful insights on how to be …
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In this episode of The Upstream Leader, Jeremy tackles the capacity challenge that firms face. He starts with a discussion of the actual issues and how capacity is simply a symptom. He then discusses solutions at the individual and firm level that can collectively help address this challenge. Solutions include everything from managing energy and fo…
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To kick off Season 2 of The Upstream Leader, Jeremy Clopton hosts Sam Allred, Director at Upstream Academy, a firm dedicated to guiding accounting firms to high performance. Sam loves Mondays, which is the focus of the conversation. Jeremy and Sam discuss cultivating a love for Mondays. They talk about what to do if you're struggling to find enjoym…
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Jeremy Clopton and Heath Alloway team up for The Upstream Leader’s final quarterly recap of season 1. They discuss both the difficulties and opportunities inherent in adapting to change and embracing failure. Sharing personal anecdotes from their own professional journeys, they make an unassailable case for the importance of change and failure in y…
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On Episode 23 of The Upstream Leader, Jeremy Clopton speaks with Randy Crabtree, co-founder and partner of Tri-Merit Speciality Tax Professionals. Randy discusses the life-changing experience that led him to shift the course of his career to align with his passions. He highlights the importance of leading with open-mindedness and enabling employees…
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On Episode 22 of The Upstream Leader, Jeremy Clopton hosts Pete Miller, Shareholder at Clark Nuber, an accounting firm in Bellevue, Washington. Pete is what Jeremy calls “an expert at becoming an expert,” having established three different practices within the firm. Pete reveals that it was his passion and courage that were vital in helping him est…
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On Episode 21 of The Upstream Leader, Dennis Sherrin, CEO at the Avizo Group, joins Heath Alloway. Dennis discusses how leaders can cultivate insights from their life experiences and maximize their unique strengths. He also talks about the aspects of accounting that keep him excited about the profession, the importance of soft skills, and the trans…
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On episode 20 of The Upstream Leader, Heath Alloway discusses the importance of the debrief with U.S. Air Force and commercial pilot, Taylor Fox. Taylor explains the Air Force’s approach to the debrief as a fact-finding exercise, not only to determine who was responsible for things that went wrong, but what the cause was for what went right. Throug…
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On Episode 19 of The Upstream Leader, Jeremy Clopton speaks with John Sensiba, Managing Partner of Sensiba San Filippo LLP. John discusses how his firm transitioned to a purpose driven, client-centric model through changes in compensation structure and B Corp certification. He emphasizes the impact purpose can have on retention and recruiting, and …
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On Episode 18 of The Upstream Leader, Jeremy Clopton and Heath Alloway come together to discuss the podcast’s first year. They look back at key insights they’ve gleaned from their guests, and their own work in the profession, while discussing strategies and mindsets to aid firms and accountants in forging their futures. Get the full show notes and …
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On Episode 17 of The Upstream Leader, Heath Alloway talks to Katie Tolin, the CEO and owner of CPA Growth Guides, about the important role marketing professionals play within CPA firms. Katie stresses the importance for marketing professionals of finding one’s own career path, treating the members of a firm like one’s clients, with whom you’re shar…
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Alexandra Bond Burnett, host of the Ambition to Impact podcast, joins Jeremy Clopton on episode 16 of The Upstream Leader. A speaking and impact coach, Alexandra breaks down the elements of communication, offers advice on how to make your communication impactful through a focus on three pillars—influence, connect, and affect—and demystifies the ent…
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On Episode 15 of The Upstream Leader, Jeremy Clopton talks to Natalie Gillard, the creator of FACTUALITY the Game, which simulates structural inequality in America. Natalie shares the origins of FACTUALITY and discusses how she cultivates positivity and practices holistic minimalism to sustain her momentum in her work. Get the full show notes and m…
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On episode 14 of The Upstream Leader, Heath Alloway talks to Joey Havens, Managing Partner for Strategic Growth at HORNE LLP. Joey’s recently published article in the Journal of Accountancy outlined the benefits and opportunities that have been presented by the Covid pandemic. He explains some of the details of his article, as well as touching on t…
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On Episode 13 of The Upstream Leader, Heath Alloway talks to Rachel Anderson, director of the efactory, about innovation and the importance for leaders to embrace it. She discusses her own leadership journey, the process-driven nature of innovation, and how conquering micro-goals can lead to bigger, better developments. Get the full show notes and …
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Heath Alloway and Jeremy Clopton come together for their second quarterly recap in episode 12, and the focus of their conversation is viewing people as people, rather than generations. They talk about the misperceptions that can get generalized to entire generations, the nearly generic buzzword that “millennials” has become, and how important it is…
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The role of analytics continues to grow in the accounting profession. Jeremy Clopton is joined by Steve McDonald, managing partner at Abdo, Eick and Meyers, who shares his practice management expertise. He discusses the key insights into virtually every facet of an accounting firm that the proper data analytics tools can help provide, and what that…
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Jeremy Mhire of Proximal Strength, a CrossFit gym in Springfield, Missouri, joins Heath Alloway for Episode 10 of The Upstream Leader. Jeremy discusses his journey from member of a boy band to fitness expert and entrepreneur. He stresses the importance of developing a culture of togetherness and shared accountability, and shares his insights into h…
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Grace Horvath, Vice President at CPAmerica, joins Jeremy Clopton for Episode 9 of The Upstream Leader to talk about networking, community, connections, and the power they hold. They discuss surrounding oneself with inspiring people, the benefits of collaboration, how to escape the “win at all costs”, “zero sum game” mindset, and more. Get the full …
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On episode 8 of The Upstream Leader, Jeremy Clopton is joined by Amy Franko, founder of Amy Franko Associates, whose specific focus is on sales and leadership excellence. Amy discusses the importance of distinguishing between marketing and business development, stresses the need to engage in relationship building to be successful, and much more. Ge…
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On Episode 07 of The Upstream Leader, Heath Alloway is joined by his brother-in-law, Chris Jones, for an important discussion about diversity, equity and inclusion. Chris has worked as a youth pastor and specializes in youth mental health, and he discusses his experiences with making diversity, equity and inclusion an important part of everyone’s l…
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Jeremy Clopton and Heath Alloway come together in Episode 06 of The Upstream Leader to discuss what they've learned over an enlightening first quarter of podcast episodes. Though they cover a range of topics, intentionality, capacity, and the "High Yield, Low Maintenance" concept that is central to the Upstream Academy's approach take center stage.…
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On Episode 05 of The Upstream Leader, Jeremy Clopton speaks to Bethmara Kessler, Certified Fraud Examiner, about “Same as Last Year,” the idea that falling back on what worked last year limits the potential of companies, professionals, and reduces client service opportunities. They discuss ways to combat this attitude and maintain professional grow…
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