Episode 380 – Dennis Sherrin

Dennis is an Accountant & Adventurer

Dennis Sherrin, returns to the podcast from episode 177 to talk about his hiking adventures during his sabbatical from accounting! He also talks about how he has noticed more of the ‘What’s Your And?’ message and how he has applied it in his life!

Episode Highlights

• Taking a sabbatical
• Favorite trips during his sabbatical
• Applying the What’s Your And message
• Finding humor in the day-to-day


Please take 2 minutes

to do John’s anonymous survey

about Corporate Culture!

Survey Button

Dennis’s Photos

(click to enlarge)

Visit to Great Smoky Mountain National Park

Visit to the 2020 Citrus Bowl

Visit to Smithsonian, Zion National Park

Dennis’s Links


  • Read Full TranscriptOpen or Close

    Welcome to Episode 380 of What’s Your “And”? Follow-Up Friday Edition. This is John Garrett, and each Friday, I follow up with a guest who had been on the show a few years ago to hear what’s new with their passions outside of work and also hear how this message might have impacted them since we last talked.

    I’m so excited. My book is out. You can order it on Amazon, Indigo, barnesandnoble.com, a few other websites, so check out whatsyourand.com for more. Thank you so much to everyone who’s read it so far and been kind enough to leave those Amazon reviews. It’s been just really overwhelming to read. For those of you that have been asking, the audio version is coming out in just a few weeks, so I’ll read it to you if that’s really what you want.

    Please don’t forget to hit subscribe to the podcast so you don’t miss any of the future episodes. I love sharing such interesting stories each and every week, and this Follow-Up Friday is no different with my guest, Dennis Sherrin. He’s the CEO and strategic consultant for Avizo Group Inc. in Fairhope, Alabama, and now he’s with me here today. Dennis, thanks so much for taking time to be with me on What’s Your “And”?

    Dennis: John, it’s great to be back.

    John: Exactly, man. I’m excited. You had a sabbatical in between.

    Dennis: Yeah.

    John: We could chat about that. I’m excited.

    Dennis: That’s right.

    John: Alabama won another national championship in between.

    Dennis: Sorry about that semifinal game for you.

    John: Hey, that’s all right. It’s all right. We were there. Notre Dame was there. I’m pretty sure that they lost by less than Ohio State did, so I’ll take second place. That works.

    Dennis: There you go. I like that. I like that. That’s good.

    John: Right? No one else believes what I have to think but whatever. I have rapid-fire questions for you.

    Dennis: All right.

    John: Get to know Dennis. If you had to choose, Harry Potter or Game of Thrones.

    Dennis: Harry Potter.

    John: Okay, there you go. How about a favorite TV show of all time?

    Dennis: All-time favorite TV show. Oh, my gosh, John, there are too many. I’m going to go with MASH because it’s the first one I remember.

    John: MASH, that’s a classic. That’s such a great show. This is a good one, hamburger or pizza.

    Dennis: Hamburger. Hamburger, baby, absolutely.

    John: Hamburger.

    Dennis: Yes, got to be a quality hamburger. We’re not talking fast food.

    John: No, no, we’re talking good hamburger or good pizza.

    Dennis: That’s right.

    John: Yeah, yeah.

    Dennis: Absolutely.

    John: Absolutely. Here’s a tricky one, a shower or a bath.

    Dennis: Shower, no question. I don’t want to sit in the water that I just bathe with.

    John: Right. You know what? That’s a good point. There is now a wrong answer to that one. When it comes to books, real books, Kindle version or audio version?

    Dennis: I like a real book because I like to underline things.

    John: Oh, okay.

    Dennis: I underlined a lot in your book, John, just so you know.

    John: Oh. Well, thank you. Thank you so much, man. I appreciate that. That’s awesome. Two more. How about your first concert?

    Dennis: STYX at the Mobile Civic Center.

    John: Yes. That’s awesome.

    Dennis: The opening act was a band called Wet Willie from Mobile, Alabama.

    John: Oh, very cool.

    Dennis: Yeah. They had a hit song once, too.

    John: Right? There you go, Wet Willie. The last one, toilet paper, is it over or under?

    Dennis: Oh, man, come on. You’re still bringing this one? It’s over.

    John: It’s over. All right. I’m just making sure. Every once in a while, there’s a cat person that tries to justify their craziness.

    Dennis: Okay, so one of our offices tends to have it under. I’m going to have to have a little intervention with them one day and fix them.

    John: Exactly. It’s like, who keeps switching this back to over? The only time Dennis visits, that’s why. Good for you, man. Good for you. Yeah, Episode 177, that was several years ago. We talked hiking. There’s a Grand Canyon adventure in there, all kinds of trips like that. Is that still something that you’ve been able to do?

    Dennis: Actually, yes, believe it or not. You mentioned earlier, I took a sabbatical. Part of that, my wife and I, literally, John — so, my sabbatical was from August 1st to November 30th of 2019. On August 1st, we were literally on the road to New Mexico to spend a week in northern New Mexico at Philmont Scout Ranch and do a whole bunch of back country stuffs. We hiked, such as that, did the same thing in the Smoky Mountains later in the sabbatical, and just had a great time doing that.

    Just to finish the sabbatical story, the end of the sabbatical, it was like, hey, Amy, the Eagles are playing in Las Vegas in September. She’s like, “Get the tickets.” We literally, it was like a month before we were able to pull off getting tickets, flew to Vegas and saw them perform the whole album of Hotel California in the first set.

    John: Wow.

    Dennis: Then they came back, and they pretty much played everything else for the next two and a half hours.

    John: Yeah. Oh, my gosh.

    Dennis: These 70-year-old dudes were just killing it up there on the stage. It was fun. That was the finishing part of the sabbatical, and there is that. Other than that, yeah, man, just stayed busy with a lot of different stuff. There was some travel, got involved with the Alabama Society of CPAs, so.

    John: Oh, yeah.

    Dennis: I was their board chair and past chair and such as that. Still involved because I found out that it’s really neat to have a role like that where you can influence your profession a little more and try to help your profession. With all due respect to my profession, it moves a little slower than it needs to right now.

    John: Right.

    Dennis: I still call that an adventure because it is an adventure to spend time and do that and continue to serve on that group.

    John: That’s awesome.

    Dennis: Fun stuff to me.

    John: Yeah, yeah, there’s a lot of the accounting professions, fixing to get ready to, right?

    Dennis: We’re researching that. Okay, I got to give you a deadline. We can’t research it any more after this day. You’ve got to make a choice.

    John: Right.

    Dennis: We have a bunch of amazing people, as you’ve shown by these shows you have, John. I just want to be able to find those amazing people and get us all helping the rest move in the direction so that, as we go into the future, I’ll be retired at that point probably, but we have a lot of good things that this profession still does for businesses and communities as a whole. That’s become something of a passion for me, doing all that kind of stuff, but, yeah, pretty cool stuff.

    John: Yeah. Was there one of the hikes that you did in that sabbatical that was maybe your favorite, or a part of it that was like, wow, this is incredible.

    Dennis: I can think of two hikes that I’ve done since we last talked that were pretty neat. One was during the sabbatical back in August when we were at Philmont Scout Ranch, place called Lover’s Leap. I didn’t leap. I’m here, so obviously, I didn’t leap. It was about a 12-mile round-trip hike, and it’s led by a Ranger. It was the first really big hike where my wife had significant elevation gain. Philmont starts out, we were at about 7,000 feet above sea level before we started that day, and we got up to a little over 9,000.

    When you get up there and you can see this whole valley, because the Scout Ranch sits at the very, really the southern end of the Rockies, so you can look out. There’s the plains of the southern part of New Mexico stretching forever. Just this incredible view and it was a crystal clear day and beautiful weather. Temperatures were real nice. It was August, but we were up there pretty hot. It was still —

    John: And it’s a desert, so it’s not humid.

    Dennis: Yeah, not humid. Fantastic. Then there was a hike that we actually did last October, John. We got stir crazy since we got to go somewhere. I asked my wife. I said, “We’ve got a choice. We can go to California, go to Yosemite. We could go to the Florida Keys and hangout. We could go to Utah and go to Zion and Bryce and things like that.” She says, “I want to go to Utah.” I said, “All right, we’re going.” We did. We went to both Zion and Bryce.

    In Zion, I scheduled a hike up to Angel’s Landing, which is a strenuous hike to get there and then that last little bit, was tough. We’d take off on that hike and do it. She just crushed it. When we got back down, I said, “By the way, that was the most strenuous hike that you can have in the canyon here. You did really good.”

    We sat up there on top, and you look in the valley. The cars do look like ants. Again, it was just another day. There was a lot of people up there on scouts landing with us, but it seemed like there was nobody just because everybody was quiet and peaceful. They were just soaking it in. The peak of both of those hikes really still stick with me to this day. It was really cool, man.

    John: That’s super cool. Yeah, that’s awesome, and to do it with your wife and for her to go all the way to the top as well because you didn’t tell her beforehand how hard it was so then you tell her after.

    Dennis: I survived. She’s like, okay. She’s a pretty good hiker. She just sometimes — we all worry about it at some point. I can remember doing it myself, carrying a backpack and like, what am I doing here? It was really good, memorable hikes.

    John: That’s really cool. Do you feel that people are sharing these hobbies and passions more, and just professionals, in general, are being more well-rounded or at least exposing themselves to others, showing them that, hey, I’ve got these other sides to me?

    Dennis: Yeah. It’s funny. I remember when we did the show before. For me, I like to talk a little bit about the things that I always did. Obviously, I believe that I do it more now, but I also see around our office, I hear our team talking about more. Being a part of Alabama Society of CPAs, we have a large Board of Directors. There are individuals on that board that I know a lot about what they do. We’ve got a spelunker, John.

    John: Wow.

    Dennis: We have a spelunker.

    John: Yeah, we need to get that person lined up.

    Dennis: Exactly.

    John: That’s so awesome. That’s cool.

    Dennis: Yes, exactly. It’s been really fun to be more aware of when other people are talking about their activity. I think, for me, the benefit of hearing your show and participating in it is I’ve become more aware of what others are saying a lot of times, where I may not have done as good a job of that in the past, even with our clients.

    Sometimes going out visiting — I usually just get allowed to visit clients these days. I don’t get to necessarily do work with them. It’s actually the fun part. I just sit down and have conversations. It’s really crazy the conversations you have, the good conversations you have when you just start sharing a story about or showing them a picture of sitting up on top of this mountain or sitting in front of this waterfall with one of my sons or something like that.

    John: Yeah.

    Dennis: Just strike up a conversation out of that is, that’s really more noticeable than I really ever thought it would be, and it’s really cool to take that approach to how I think of every relationship now, if you will.

    John: Yeah. No, that means a lot because it’s one of those things where it’s — I was speaking in the fall on a virtual conference, and somebody in the chat was like, isn’t this intuitive? Yes, but you’re not doing it. I’m not showing up as some rocket science genius person. I’m just friendly reminder. People around you have these other dimensions. Ask about them and find out about them. So, that’s cool to hear.

    Dennis: Yeah.

    John: It’s something that’s simple, but then it’s a richer conversation. It’s a deeper relationship. The spelunker, who cares what their job is, right? You didn’t say, “Hey, we’ve got an auditor, John.”

    Dennis: What would pique your interest there? Come on.

    John: Right. You’ll never believe it, government audits. He’s amazing.

    Dennis: Yeah.

    John: Right?

    Dennis: I really like that. Yeah.

    John: No, that’s cool, man. That’s really cool to hear. Have you seen whether it’s there at Avizo or clients or other firms that are doing things to help people to share those interests?

    Dennis: Yes. I think from Avizo, for the perspective, is we’ve been more remote than we have been in the past. We’ve had to focus more on using video and having communications. We’ve had more all-firm kind of conversations and meetings than in the past, and we always seem to try to start those off with just, I’ll call it banter, back and forth. Somebody starts picking on somebody, but we start finding out what’s going on. Or you start looking in their background, like yours. You start asking questions, and you start hearing a story about what’s going on. Or you do see the cat jump up on the keyboard there. Oh, yeah, look at that. How many cats do you have? 26. Wow, that’s a lot of cats.

    John: That’s a lot. That’s a lot.

    Dennis: Those kind of just normal functions that have kind of moved. Instead of trying to force something that really makes this happen, just letting the normal activities we had somehow creating those further conversations about the personal side of people in a normal conversation is something that I’ve seen a lot of, and that’s good. So, from our perspective, I think that’s something that I’ve seen. I’ve also seen it with a few of our bigger clients that I usually go out and visit.

    John, you may know… I don’t know. I don’t know if it was big national news. We had a hurricane down here.

    John: Right? Yeah. Yeah, you did.

    Dennis: Anyway, after that, I got to visit some of our clients that are on the coast. They’re all doing well, but they had a lot of challenges. Having conversations about just personal experiences, we ended up laughing about a lot of things even though that was a tough time, because we just found a way to make the conversations and find the humor in the day to day things. That’s so much more fun than talking about, this is going to be casualty loss. We need from the tax perspective to use coded section whatever. I don’t know code sections.

    John: Right. Before you fix your roof, can we get the files so we can get this reported?

    Dennis: Yeah.

    John: It’s like, no.

    Dennis: They know we are going to be there to guide them and help them with those things, so us making conversation about other things that are pleasing and of interest is, it’s fun. It really is fun.

    John: That’s awesome. Yeah, and it’s truly being a trusted adviser because there’s actually genuine trust, even brain science trust there where you’ve been a little bit vulnerable, and you open yourself up to have real conversations. Yeah, that’s really rewarding, man. That’s cool to hear. Do you have any words of encouragement to anyone listening who maybe thinks that they have a hobby or passion that has nothing to do with their job, and no one’s going to care about it?

    Dennis: Thinking out loud here. If you like who you are, share it with somebody because somebody else is going to like it, and encourage them to do the same. I think that’s what I would say. I think we all like who we are, in some way, shape or form. How can we let people know a little bit more about who we are, and then open that opportunity for them as well?

    John: I love that. It’s so great. If you like you, then why wouldn’t someone else? If they don’t, that’s on them.

    Dennis: Right. Yeah. Yeah, it’s on them.

    John: That’s your problem. Right. That’s your problem. That’s awesome. Very cool. Well, this has been so much fun, Dennis. I feel like it’s only fair that before I wrap this up, that I turn the tables and very nervously hand over the mic to the first episode of The Dennis Sherrin podcast, everybody.

    Dennis: Well, thank you.

    John: Thanks for having me on.

    Dennis: Thank you, John. I brought a special guest, a famous football coach.

    John: Okay.

    Dennis: Just get in here. All right. Okay, John, I’ve I got three questions I’ll give you here. Number one, if you had the power, which would you choose, to be invisible or read minds?

    John: Oh, wow. I’m kind of scared to know what people are thinking because I feel like, especially in the last year, we’ve seen it all on social media.

    Dennis: Exactly.

    John: I’ll just be invisible so that I don’t have to — you won’t see me, and I don’t have to know what you’re thinking because I probably already do know. I’ll be invisible, just lesser of two evils, I guess.

    Dennis: I’m with you. Absolutely. All right, number two, favorite song.

    John: Favorite song. Wow, that’s a great question. Oh, man, there are so many that come to mind right now. A song that I could just listen to over and over and over, like a Killers’ Mr. Brightside or Blink-182, just almost any of those songs.

    Dennis: Nice. Yeah. Yeah.

    John: Or even like a Metallica one is such a great deep, rich song. I guess that. There’s also Mozart’s concerto and — no, I’m just kidding. Notre Dame Victory March, that would be high on the list, probably high on my list.

    Dennis: Yeah. I sort of wondered if that one would come up. All right, final question. I like Joes, so I thought this would be good. Joe Theismann or Joe Montana.

    John: Oh, look at you catering to my…

    Dennis: That’s right.

    John: You’re awfully kind. You’re awfully kind. Yeah, I’m going to go Joe Montana on that one, I think, yeah, just one of my things.

    Dennis: I would say he was the greatest quarterback of all time, but I think Brady finally eclipsed him.

    John: I know. It is tough.

    Dennis: Yeah.

    John: It’s tough to swallow that it’s Tom Brady, but, man, he is so good. He’s just, yeah, he’s just good. It’s hard to go against that.

    Dennis: Yeah, we’ll just leave it at that.

    John: Right. Exactly, exactly. Dennis, thank you so much, man, for being a part of this and also just living this out and reading the book, being a part of the book launch team. It meant so much. I really appreciate it.

    Dennis: Pleasure, John. Good to talk to you, as always.

    John: Awesome. Everybody listening, if you want to see some pictures of Dennis from his adventures or maybe connect with him on social media, be sure to go to whatsyourand.com. All the links are there. While you’re on the page, please click that big button, do the anonymous research survey about corporate culture, and don’t forget to check out the book.

    Thanks again for subscribing on iTunes or whatever app you use and for sharing this with your friends so they get the message that we’re all trying to spread, that who you are is so much more than what you do.


Related Posts

Episode 53 – Deja Sconiers

Facebook Twitter Pinterest LinkedIn Deja’s coworker relationships get better with age   After...

Episode 195 – Graeme Gordon

Facebook Twitter Pinterest LinkedInGraeme is a CEO, Yankees fan, and Shakespeare actor Graeme...