Michelle Keenan has had a long fascination with understanding and improving complex systems. After earning her bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, she went on to earn an MBA in finance. She then took a position with Accenture, where she worked in the organization’s technology group. There she consulted with Fortune 500 companies, helping them implement processes and technology to solve key business issues. Over the course of six years, she went from developing software and processes to the managing teams who do, and recognized that she had found her passion – leading the way to solve business challenges.
“Over the same period of time,” Michelle recalls, “I also fell in love with one of my clients, Microsoft, and decided to leave the consulting business to join the company.” She worked at the software giant for the next 11 years. One of her most memorable accomplishments at Microsoft was helping to scale up a startup business unit within Microsoft that grew from 300 to 3,000 people in 150+ countries around the world and $2.5B in revenue in the space of eight years.
In 2015, Michelle made another career change, when she accepted a position serving as COO of Darnall Sikes Wealth Partners and its sister firm, Darnall, Sikes & Frederick CPAs. She is focused on the wealth management business now – as COO and as a financial advisor, serving local clients as well as Reinsurance clients nationally. “At Darnall Sikes,” Michelle observes, “my COO role is similar to what I did for my business unit at Microsoft: managing the business and its systems end-to-end, leading change to improve how we work, and increasing our ability to serve the needs of our clients. As an advisor, I love to help people put in place the financial plan they need to achieve their goals.”
I find great satisfaction in helping to paint a strategic vision for an organization, and more importantly, putting in place the business systems required to achieve the vision. Over the course of my career, I’ve developed a strong skill set that has helped me oversee and interconnect the right people, technology, culture and processes within an organization to help it prosper. Whether helping an organization or an individual, I love working with people to put together a plan and execute it to see their goals come to life!
— Michelle Keenan