In October 2022, TPG announced major changes to our executive leadership. As of January 1, 2023, company founder and longtime CEO Rod Cruickshank transitioned to the role of Executive Chairman, overseeing our strategic vision and serving as Chairman of the TPG Board of Directors. Former TPG President Brad Nantz took over as CEO, while former Executive Vice President Sarah Friend was promoted to President.
This news was met with great enthusiasm and congratulations from both TPG staff as well as clients and colleagues across the nation. While those of us who work directly with Brad and Sarah know who they are and why we enjoy working for them, we thought we’d give you a chance to get to know them.
[Responses were edited for length and clarity.]
What is your personal motivation for your new role?
Brad Nantz: I look at the role of CEO as being the captain of a ship that was built long before I came aboard. My job as current steward is to keep it safe, protect it, and keep it moving forward so it’s in even better positioning than when I took the helm.
Sarah Friend: To have a positive impact on our team, clients, and community. To chart a path for our next 10 years of growth. And to be an example of an unexpected leader in our industry and break the mold for the next generation. I feel it’s the responsibility of the president to create an environment where our employees can thrive, do their best work, feel appreciated and valued, and know that their strengths and talents are making a difference.
What specific goals are you most excited about?
BN: What has me excited is our growth potential as an enterprise. As I think about our future, I think about how many new people will be joining the TPG community. Being able to extend our company culture as ‘the last great place you’re going to work’ is really exciting.
SF: Our Give30 campaign (to give $30 million in time and donations back to our communities by 2030) and broadening ownership to 100% of employees. That is huge. It demonstrates our values and sets us apart from our competition and will have a long-lasting, positive impact for our employees and our community.
Our core values are so important to us – how do you “have fun and live well” or “play well with others”?
BN: When we were building our core values, what kept coming up was “don’t be a jerk,” which turned into “play well with others.” [laughs] Fortunately, the founders of the company (Rod Cruickshank and Bruce Kerr) played well with every single person, customer, client they met. There is no “that’s not my job” here. We truly own our work and create a kind, curious, considerate environment.
SF: I grew up camping in the Northwest with my family. That was about the only vacation we could afford, so I learned to love the outdoors. I am happiest when I can get outside and be active and ideally near water. I am not a great golfer, so if anyone wants to connect, I am always up to go explore a new hiking trail!
Another core value question – what’s one thing that has ignited your curiosity recently?
BN: I’ve been reading a lot about the push to return to work and to the office, and it’s a fascinating sociological experiment. You interact differently face to face – work is better with proximity in a shared space.
SF: In my new role, I have a lot to learn so I find myself asking questions and really wanting to dive in and learn more about the business units that I haven’t worked as closely with historically. It’s a challenge, but I am really enjoying learning more about all aspects of our business.
One of the great things about TPG is that we are encouraged to put our families and home lives first – how did your family react to your promotion?
BN: When things are right in our personal lives, we show up as the best version of ourselves for our customers and teammates. My first priority is supporting my wife of 33 years, our three kids (adults 😊), two son-in-laws, and grandchildren. It’s a simple reality that you have to take care of yourself and your family first in order to give clients the best. In fact, during our executive leadership meetings, we spend half the time talking about people – not budgets, or numbers, but our teams and how they’re doing.
SF: My husband Todd and I have been married for 27 years and he has been my constant supporter and chief encourager since high school. And then, pretty typical, our three adult(ish) kids don’t really think of me in terms of my job. I am Mom to them and I don’t think they really think of me as a professional. When I told them the news, I think I got a “cool” from one of them! [laughs]
What do you envision for TPG in the next five years?
BN: We have a significant growth story in place – we plan to be twice as big and in more communities in different regions. We focus on major professional growth for the staff we have, propelling them to new and bigger things. Our first-team leaders are the best in the industry and lean into training, tools, staff insight to continually grow. Technology will continue to play an important role in our growth. We are intentional about identifying and implementing the newest tools to improve our customers’ experience.
SF: We have the teams in place to really make progress on scaling our organization. I am excited about creating more efficiencies within our business units that improve the work experience of our team members, allow teams to automate routine tasks, freeing up time to work on higher-level engaging work that is more rewarding and energizing. That focus on efficiency will allow us to grow comfortably while caring for our teams and ensuring consistent delivery of excellence to our customers.
Can you discuss the company’s plans for expansion?
BN: We absolutely have an expansion mindset. We don’t always know where the expansion opportunities will be, but it has to be the right firm at the right time. Mergers and acquisitions are unpredictable, so instead we focus on cultivating relationships and aligning company cultures in the markets we want to grow.
SF: We will continue to grow in two primary ways: organic growth of new business fueled by a growing sales team and also through opportunistic merger and acquisitions that align with our culture and growth goals. We will expand our footprint in the west by having TPG offices in more states.
How do your personal values align with what TPG offers and has in store?
BN: We are in the people business and encourage everyone to “show up” as they are. No masks, no telling others what you think they want to hear . . . just be yourself. This has created a tremendous culture of hardworking, curious, caring teammates. Personally, I have so much trust and confidence in my TPG colleagues that I get energized every time we tackle a new initiative. We live by our core values. They are included in our interview questions, posted on all our walls, part of our recognition systems, and our guiding light as we grow as a team. Simply put, my personal core values align directly with TPG and that’s likely why I love coming to work every day.
SF: Our core values at TPG align strongly with my personal values. That allows me to show up to work as my authentic self and trust that decisions that I make about what is best for TPG also align with what I believe in. A few TPG core values that especially resonate with me are:
- Play well with others. One of my strengths is “includer.” That drives me to create community, reach out to all stakeholders before making a decision, be a good team player, care for relationships, and communicate using “clear is kind” as my framework.
- Be a champion. While the “win” is never equal, there is usually a solution that can benefit most parties involved. If you face a challenge with a desire to create a winning solution for all, it forces you to get curious and creative about your solution rather than simply taking the shortest path. Sometimes, the win is hard to find but if you go into problem solving with that intention, you have the best chance at finding it.
- Live well and have fun. Work is only one piece of who we are as people, and our work environment and community should support our lives not take it over. Investing in our mental health, physical health, wellbeing, and happiness is critical. It’s not easy – in fact, it can sometimes feel impossible – but finding time for ourselves is the best investment we can make. I am glad to be in a work community that supports mental and physical wellbeing as a priority and grateful that I work with people who make me laugh every day. Sorry it’s so loud. I guess there are worse things than a loud laugh to be known for.