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Honoree Headshot
Jill Heneghan

Richard F Waigand

Senior Partner
SFW Partners, LLC

Location: St. Louis, MO
Founded: 1994
Industry: Accounting

Richard F. Waigand describes the qualities of a good leader and how he has tackled tough decisions as a business owner in a way you might not expect from the leader of an accounting firm. He doesn’t mention numbers or the bottom line.

“I believe that successful leaders today are empathetic, they listen and most importantly they serve their community,” he said. “I also believe that to be successful, you have to have a vision and communicate that clearly to your staff. Clearly communicating your vision means that everyone is aiming for the same goals and you can trust them to use good judgment and think independently while still carrying out your company's mission.

“One of the most important risks I took was remaining true to myself even when I was faced with tough decisions as a business owner. I have remained true to my belief that if you serve and support others, you are ultimately being the best partner you can possibly be to those who need you the most. This rang true when our customers remained loyal to us even after a different world post-COVID-19.”

Waigand is senior partner at SFW Partners LLC, which for more than 55 years has helped clients improve their businesses and bottom lines through accounting, auditing, tax and consulting services.

After the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, SFW Partners adapted to a new workplace. Much of the staff continued in a hybrid role (three days in the office, two days working from home). The firm found that by continuing this, staff members stayed productive. To address the labor shortage, the firm revamped its benefits and recruiting process with full-time staff and interns. The firm also hired a director of talent strategy to help guide staff moving forward on their career paths. “All these were put in place to ensure that we were offering a more inclusive, nurturing environment that focused on teaching and helping us become better at our craft every day,” Waigand said.

Waigand said he lives by the book “The Go Giver,” incorporating its Five Laws of Stratospheric Success into his personal and professional life. He makes sure everyone at SFW Partners receives a copy.

Waigand also shared that he got one of his greatest leadership lessons from his son, Lance. “He was born with Trisomy 13, which is a chromosomal condition associated with severe intellectual disability and physical abnormalities,” Waigand said. “Despite the many obstacles that Lance faces, my wife and I have always ensured that Lance contributes back to society and leads a happy, full life. It's hard not to appreciate everything when you have someone like Lance reminding you to enjoy the little victories.”

SFW Partners has established a nonprofit — SFW Gives Back — that helps staff members support nonprofit organizations throughout the St. Louis community both financially and through volunteer service. The nonprofit hosted its first Casino Night in conjunction with the Midas Hospitality Foundation and helped raise more than $17,000 for each organization.

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I was truly honored to be in the Titan 100 inaugural St. Louis class. This helped cast a spotlight on our company as a whole and many more people were able to learn about us and what we stood for as an organization. To me the greatest value of this platform was meeting other Titans and truly realizing how many great people we have in the St. Louis community that are working to make this a great city.

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