Sarah Ann Khan
Company: Grant Thornton LLP
WHERE WERE YOU BORN?
HOW LONG HAVE YOU LIVED IN CHARLOTTE AREA?
Five (5) years
TELL US A LITTLE BIT MORE ABOUT YOU?
Born and raised in a small suburb outside of Boston, Massachusetts, I grew up playing competitive soccer as well as attending the New England Conservatory of Music for cello, where I performed with the String Chamber Orchestra. In an effort to see more of the country, I decided to attend the University of Richmond in Virginia, where I was drawn to the high-quality academics. I graduated from the University of Richmond in 2013 and moved to Washington DC to accept a position in internal audit. While I liked my job, I found myself on a project conducting an internal investigation for a client. I knew then that this was the type of work I was passionate about, but the firm at the time wasn’t in this market space. In an effort to seek out that work, I found an opportunity at Grant Thornton in its Forensic Advisory Services practice that was located in Charlotte. Within two weeks I moved to Charlotte, site unseen, to start in that new role. Since joining Grant Thornton, I have had tremendous opportunities both personally and professionally, from working on some of the firm’s largest engagements to date, as well as continuing to support some of our client account teams that generate the majority of our revenue. In 2016 I decided to go back to graduate school, a bucket list item of mine, and was accepted into Wake Forest’s Saturday MBA program. It is in that program that I met my husband and had the opportunity to travel to China and Taiwan to understand how business abroad differs from business domestically. Through both Wake Forest and my community involvement, I feel that I’ve built a strong network in this city, and my love for the Queen City is strong.
DURING YOUR TIME VOLUNTEERING FOR A COMMUNITY ACTIVITY OR PROJECT, WHAT IS YOUR MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT?
Shortly after moving to Charlotte, I decided to join the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA)’s charity running team for the 2016 Boston Run to Remember, which honors fallen police officers and firefighters. This charity has particular importance to me, as my cousin has muscular dystrophy. At this point, I had begun running often, but still was not tied or integrated into Charlotte. I set out an aggressive goal time for this half marathon. I recall spending hours planning routes throughout the Charlotte area each weekend, and I really became much more familiar with the running community, and the city, during those months. I ended up coming in second for most funds raised, and my cousin was waiting at the finish line for me, where I beat that goal time by three (3) minutes. Following the race, I was given artwork by a young boy who also suffered from MD as a thank you for the funds raised. This memorable moment taught me that hobbies or interests can also be the force behind change.
IN YOUR OPINION, HOW DO YOU CONTRIBUTE TO THE COMMUNITY? PLEASE BE AS DETAILED AS YOU CAN.
I contribute to the community in a few different ways. From a volunteer perspective, I’ve spent my Friday evenings and weekends coaching girls’ soccer and helping to empower them to not only demonstrate good sportsmanship, but to build the grit and determination that they can succeed at whatever they put their mind to. During community service days, I’ve donated time to Habitat for Humanity and Habitat ReStore. From a board perspective, I’ve sat on the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art board for the last year as an apprentice and assisted with the 2019 Gala by serving as the 2019 Auction Chair. I currently remain on both the Audit and Finance Committee and the Development Committee. In an effort to help others in Charlotte become more integrated into the community, I continue to serve on the Arts and Sciences Selection Committee for the Cultural Leadership Training program, interviewing and selecting each year’s incoming class. Following graduation, I served as a volunteer teaching assistant for several accounting classes at Wake Forest to help others in an area that I am strong in. In the past, I’ve also, as mentioned previously, raced on several charity teams. Lastly, I was selected as a Make-a-Wish Honoree this year and am currently raising funds to grant a child’s wish this November.
PLEASE LET US KNOW ANY AWARDS OR RECOGNITIONS YOU’VE RECEIVED IN YOUR PROFESSIONAL CAREER:
I recently (August 1, 2019) received the “Lead the Charge” award at Grant Thornton, which is awarded to the person in the Charlotte office who proactively grows and develops client relationships, internally or externally, to move the firm forward.
WHAT ARE YOUR HOBBIES OR INTEREST?
I am an avid runner and love to cook meals from scratch. When I am not traveling with my husband, I am spending time with friends or with our two rescue dogs. We have one Labrador mix who is nine (9) years old and one Boxer mix that is two years old. Most recently, I have taken up a love of home projects, so you can usually find me spending one weekend a month attempting a new home improvement project!
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE QUOTE THAT YOU STAND BY?
“It is better to live your own destiny imperfectly than to live an imitation of someone else’s life with perfection.”
WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN 5 YEARS? 10 YEARS?
I am currently pregnant with my first children, and my husband and I are expecting identical twin girls in November 2019. Looking towards the future, I see myself continuing to work in public accounting, and beginning the transition to becoming an expert witness in forensic accounting litigation matters. Within that ten-year time period, I strive to make Partner at Grant Thornton. I hope to serve as a strong role model for my two girls, demonstrating that hard work and a passion for what you do will create opportunity. After completing the Arts and Sciences Cultural Leadership Training program, I have become much more involved in the community, and am currently going through the nomination process for three separate boards. In the future, I hope to see my involvement in my community continue to expand, with a greater emphasis on serving organizations like the YMCA. I truly believe that volunteering and giving back to the community not only creates a sense of perspective but fosters a sense community. When we feel more integrated to our communities, we are more likely to make choices that support that community.
CAN YOUR SHARE ONE THING THAT IS ON YOUR BUCKET LIST?
Approximately four years ago I took up running as a hobby. One of my goals (bucket list item) is to join the 50 States Marathon Club, where a runner has to show evidence of running a marathon in each state. I have currently run five marathons, and crossed off VA, MA, PA, AR, and WI.
WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU USED YOUR PASSPORT?
The day after my husband and I graduated from Wake Forest’s MBA program in 2017, we traveled to Grenada, a small island in the Caribbean. There, we spent time relaxing on the beach, as well as exploring the island. We hiked 20+ miles across the island through the rainforest to a remote waterfall. To this day, it is still one of the most memorable trips we have taken.
WHAT IS A FUN FACT ABOUT YOURSELF THAT NO ONE KNOWS?
When I studied abroad in college at the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom, I decided to try-out for the intramural soccer (football) team. That try-out landed me a spot as the starting goalkeeper for the University’s Women’s Football team. I traveled around the UK that semester playing matches against other teams.
WHO IS YOUR HERO?
Roberta (“Bobbi”) Louise Gibb. Bobbi was the first woman to run the Boston Marathon in 1966, prior to women being permitted to participate in this race. Bobbi actively challenged gender norms and continues to inspire other runners around the world.
WHAT WAS THE LAST BOOK YOU READ?
The Subtle Act of Not Giving a F*ck.
WHAT WAS THE LAST MOVIE YOU SAW?
I have never been one to watch movies, so I honestly don’t recall the last movie I saw. However, I love the short series documentaries that have been popping up on Hulu and Netflix. Most recently, I watched Murder Mountain on Netflix, which chronicles the mysterious disappearances and murders of individuals who visit and seek work in a remote area of Humboldt county, CA. This area produces the majority of the marijuana distributed legally and illegally in the United States.
WHAT WAS THE LAST CONCERT YOU SAW?
Panic! At the Disco.