Networking has been an invaluable part of Dan Griffin’s life, from “networking” at Syracuse University where he met his wife, Lili Sutton Griffin A&S ’07, to continuing to remain active on the Whitman Accounting Alumni Council, to his current professional life and community involvement in Westchester County.
“Syracuse University clicked with me,” he said. “Every interaction I had seemed low-key and approachable. People were there to help me figure things out.”
Griffin entered SU as a “reluctant engineering student.” He was good at math and science and felt those skills would translate well to engineering. Once he took a class at the Whitman School, business “clicked” for him and he wanted to learn more, ultimately graduating with majors in finance, accounting and economics.
“I had never been exposed to business and business courses in high school so I really didn’t know what accounting was all about. When I got to Whitman, I discovered that accounting is the foundational language of business and it’s a skill that you can take with you anywhere in the business world,” he said.
After graduation Griffin returned to New York City to work for EY in its Asset Management Practice. There, he said, he had fun experiences, traveling the world and engaging with other young professionals. One memorable account was during his last year at EY.
“I was the auditor for the Miss USA pageant in Las Vegas, Nevada, which was a cool experience,” he said.
After EY, he worked as an assistant controller for Apollo Global Management, but it was his desire to run his own business that led him to Chappaqua, New York three years ago. After being presented with a rare opportunity to take over the Wesfair Agency, a boutique insurance brokerage, he was eager to switch gears and go in a new direction.
“I could only have accomplished all that I’ve done due to the network I’ve developed over the years, something that was instilled in me early on at SU,” said Griffin. One of the things that stood out to him about the Whitman School was the professors. “If you were interested in a specific subject, then they were interested in discussing that with you. They always had time for a question after class or an impromptu hallway conversation. I’m still friends with many of my professors today.”
Griffin continues to network at Whitman, returning for recruitment events and as part of the Accounting Alumni Advisory Council, which meets with the Accounting Advisory Board, comprised of senior partners from the accounting industry. In Chappaqua, he volunteers as a board member of a non-profit energy cooperative and is president-elect of the local Rotary Club.
“I’m fortunate that I work close to home and have flexibility to spend time with family,” he said. “Family is my hobby now. I have one son, Weston, who’s 2, and a newborn.”
His final words of advice?
“Accounting is not just sitting behind a desk and bookkeeping. It’s meeting clients, CFOs, controllers of large companies. If you do well and engage with them, they help you grow your large professional and personal network.”
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