Joey is a good friend of ConvergenceCoaching and the Executive Partner at HORNE LLP, a Top 50 CPA and business advisory firm. HORNE was recently recognized as one of the Top 10 Fastest Growing Accounting Firms in the U.S. in the INSIDE Public Accounting’s Annual Ranking Report. The “IPA 100” list, now in its 23rd year of publication, also ranked HORNE as the 49th largest accounting firm in the nation based on 2012 net revenue.

Prior to his executive partner role, Joey led the firm's disaster recovery management group and also previously served as the partner in charge of health care services.

With Joey’s extensive experience and impressive track record, we were anxious to get his leadership perspective.

ConvergenceCoaching: Whose leadership style do you most admire and why?
JH: Without a doubt, the greatest mentor in my life has been my father, Joe Havens.  He has always modeled servant leadership with a strong Christian faith that he practices daily.  He taught me many of the core values that I believe in and taught me what servant leadership really means.  I have been so fortunate in my career as I have had some incredible mentors that each shared unique leadership strength with me.  Roy Ward, one of the founding partners of HORNE LLP, is an incredible visionary and he taught me the importance of communicating that vision.  Hugh Parker, my immediate predecessor who served as executive partner for nine years, taught me the importance of influence and how critical it is to get face to face to connect with people.  Dr. Joe Paul, Vice President of Student Affairs at the University of Southern Mississippi, has served as an external advisor to me for over 20 years and taught me the HEART principles of leadership and the importance of empathy in leadership:

Hear and understand me
Even if you disagree, please don’t make me wrong.
Acknowledge the greatness within me.
Remember to look for my loving intentions.
Tell me the truth with compassion.

ConvergenceCoaching: What do you think the single most important leadership attribute or characteristic is and why?
JH: The passion to serve others.  I believe that real leadership is about serving God first, then others. Real leadership only happens when it is focused on making those around you better.

ConvergenceCoaching: What do you look for in young up-and-coming leaders?
JH: Here’s a quick list of things that get my attention in young leaders:

  • Helping others around them get better
  • Positive attitude
  • Constant learners
  • Driven
  • Visionary
  • Ability to put the team or client first
  • Self-awareness
  • Willing to challenge the status quo
  • Fierce ownership of your areas of responsibility
  • Strong communication skills including the ability to listen

ConvergenceCoaching: How do you develop leadership in others?
JH: I don’t believe that “Do as I say, not as I do” works. I think the best way to develop leaders is to model it every day in how we lead and interact. Set the right example by serving those around you daily and you will develop more and more leaders. Sharing our passion with others helps them become passionate about leadership. One of the personal commitments I have made is to share the lessons I have learned along the way with others.  I regularly update LinkedIn and Twitter with leadership thoughts and observations. Presently, I am updating and tweeting the leadership rules for “LESS OF MORE OF” to use a fun way to think about how we can do less of some things or more of others to be more effective in our leadership in our everyday lives. As executive partner of our firm, I write a blog to share more insights into our business and lessons that I have learned with our team and some are humorous - to say the least.

I know that my calling in life is to help others see and reach their full potential.  When I focus on this rather than on me, good things happen.  This passion to help others grow has helped me overcome some of my introvert tendencies and venture outside of my comfort zone so that I can share with others.  I co-authored a book for career development for young professionals with Dr. Joe Paul - Creating Value, Your 90 Day Plan to Right Tracking Your Career, which is available on, Google Books and

ConvergenceCoaching: What advice do you have for those looking to step into a leadership position in their firms or businesses?
JH: Don’t wait for a title, position or promotion.  Take fierce ownership and display a positive attitude daily.  Serve others first and plenty of opportunity will come your way.  Seek and find your passion, pursue it, and the rewards will follow in abundance. Read and then read some more. Self-awareness comes from feedback, so get great at seeking feedback and simply say thank you when you receive it.

ConvergenceCoaching: What three words best describe your leadership style?
JH: Servant, Vision and Focused.  First, I believe that it is my primary responsibility to serve God, my family, my team and my clients.  Leadership is not about me, it’s about others and my passion is to help others see and pursue their full potential.  Second, I believe that leadership requires a sense of vision with a common purpose that empowers people to do extraordinary things. Third, I believe in the power of focus.  When a team commits to the uncommon discipline of generating a laser focus on a vision, they start to become a great team.  Great teams are never about one individual - they are about a common purpose, vision and focus!

You can connect with Joey on LinkedIn and Twitter to receive his leadership tips! It is always heart-warming and impressive to encounter a successful leader who has such a strong and genuine commitment and desire to serve others and we are grateful to Joey for sharing his passion and commitment. Joey’s insights make us wonder: How do you define “servant leadership”? We would love to hear from you in the comments section below.

Best Regards,

Michelle Baca