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John Chisholm Interviewed by Biz Magazine

Community Trust


Brittany Phillips on December 19, 2018 in SB Partners News

*Article published in Biz Magazine

Biz Magazine recently sat down with John to talk a little business, a little pleasure and a whole lot of community.

As CEO and Partner at SB Partners, what does your job entail?

“I see the role as achieving results through others and living the values of the firm as I represent it in the community. My priority is finding great people and helping them develop as trusted advisers to clients and leaders in our firm.”

At the beginning of 2017, SB Partners underwent an extensive rebranding, which included a new tagline (Account for Our Community) and corporate identity. What was the impetus for such a big change?

“The rebranding exercise allowed us to reflect on our history and DNA as a firm. It was also an opportunity for the next generation of partners to influence our purpose and vision as an organization and answer the question, “why do we get up in the morning?”

What sets SB Partners apart from other accounting firms?

“The rebranding exercise reinforced to use that SB is more than just an accounting firm. As trusted advisers, we treat every client relationship as unique and “high touch.” Being an independent local firm that cares for and strengthens the fabric of our community is at the heart of our purpose.”

What’s your favourite thing about being able to do what you do for a living?

“Our focus is working with privately owned businesses and individuals, so it’s personal. Nothing feels better than helping someone solve a problem or achieve an outcome they couldn’t do on their own.”

Who has had the biggest impact on your career and why?

“Joe Schlett, who hired me into SB Partners in 1988 and opened a career path that I had not imagined. Joe and the partners at the time provided an environment to learn and grow and I’m forever grateful for that.”

What inspires and motivates you, both personally and professionally?

“I love watching our local business and community leaders in action. I’m motivated by what can be accomplished  when a group of people focuses on improving lives through organizations like the Burlington Foundation, The United Way and, of course, the YMCA.”

You’re obviously a very busy person. When you do have some time to your­ self, what’s your favourite thing to do to unwind?

“I have three hobbies: cycling, playing guitar and cooking, so finding enough time is always a challenge. But my favourite hobby is our grandson. Stress just falls away when he is around.”

You’ve worked with many local chari­ties, both personally and professional­ly. How important is it to give back to the community?

“Extremely important. I learned that from Dr. Bob Kemp who selflessly founded the Dr. Bob Kemp Hospice. Becoming a board member there was my first community volunteer role. Giving back measurably strengthens a community and improves lives. There are many ways to give at SB Partners we make a point of contributing time, treasure and talent.”

Tax time is just around the corner -got any words of advice for entrepre­neurs reading BIZ Magazine right now?

“There were some significant tax reforms introduced in the March 2018 Federal Budget. Most notably, the Tax on Split Income (TOSI) rules. Entrepreneurs need to understand and make any changes in their structure to accommodate these changes before the end of the year. If you need help, call us!”

When you look to the year ahead, what are some of the things that excite you most as CEO of SB Partners?

“Our industry and firm are in a state of tran­sition due to a number of factors, including technology. I’m excited about how our role as advisers, not simply accountants, is developing and leveraging our CPA skills to help businesses in a more strategic way. The challenge and opportunity is maintain­ing our relevance as the landscape changes and we are poised to do that.”

Getting to Know John Chisholm

Where’s your favourite place in the Burlington-Hamilton area for a fabulous meal out?

“For an easy family-style meal, it’s Valentino’s in Westdale. For a special occasion, The Lord Nelson in Burlington is top of the list:’

What’s one local event you look forward to every year?

“The Paris to Ancaster bike race which is the last Sunday of April. It’s a spring classic that I have enjoyed participating in but now appreciate as a spectator:’

If money were no object, what would you buy?

“As an Eric Clapton fan and guitar geek, I would find a way to get Eri c’s “Brownie,” a 1956 Fender Stratocaster made famous on ‘Layla’:’

What’s the last thing you Googled?

“If you ask my wife it would be something to do with a guitar or music and I would not disagree!”

All-time favourite movie?

“We’re a big movie family and It’s a Wonderful Life is still a top choice. Frank Capra and Jimmy Stewart were a dynamic partnership in filmmaking:’

Favourite international city to spend a weekend away?

“My wife and I are not city fans, which is why we love living in Dundas. Our favourite town to visit is Montepulciano, the most attractive hill town in Tuscany. La Dolce Vita!”