Founding Attain to Create Sustained Impact

As we approach our 10-Year anniversary, we sat down with Attain’s leaders to hear how they feel about this momentous occasion in their own words. Read on to hear about Attain’s accomplishments and plans for continued growth directly from CEO, Greg Baroni. 

Attain: This year we celebrate Attain’s 10-Year Anniversary. What thoughts and emotions come to mind when you think about this milestone?

Greg: When I think about our 10-year anniversary, I experience a flood of different emotions. Largely, I feel a deep sense of joy and gratitude reflecting back on how much impact we’ve had, from growth to accomplishments, over the past decade. 

Just look at the immense growth that we have experienced in our first 10 years—in 2009, we started with seven employees in a temporary office. Today, we have grown to over 750 employees in 40 states plus the District of Columbia. To say that I am grateful to those who believed and made this possible is an understatement.

Attain: What made you start Attain? Where did you draw inspiration in order to start and build this elite consulting firm?

Greg: When I founded Attain, I was at a unique crossroads in my professional career. I was looking for a new start, trying to figure out if I should pursue an opportunity to lead an existing organization or take a chance and start a new company. My friend and colleague, John O’Neill, and I decided to start a consultancy that we expected would serve as a transition landing pad. What started out as a bridge opportunity became so much more than that—through the hard work and dedication of our leadership and team members, this “transition company” turned into the tremendously impactful consultancy that we know as Attain today.

Attain truly came to life as a company following a long process in which we were awarded key assets from the BearingPoint estate after they had filed for bankruptcy in early 2009. It was quite a journey in and of itself with many ups and downs, but thanks to the herculean efforts of our initial group of seven and many sleepless nights, we officially purchased the assets on August 28, 2009, the same date of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s groundbreaking “I Have a Dream” speech. I still remember the small celebration we had that day with the seven of us, champagne, and sparkling cider—it was the beginning of an impactful legacy for Attain.

It was during this earliest phase of our development that I realized we weren’t building a bridge, but rather a strong, enduring consultancy. I remember thinking, “If I’m going to make this my last chapter, what are the pillars that would make this important?” It was then that I developed our three, core principles. The successes we’ve achieved over the past decade truly reflect these core principles upon which Attain was founded—built-to-last, next-generation, and values-driven.

Once our foundational principles were in place, I went to work on creating our seven core values that today define Attain’s culture—The Attain Way. These were based on core values I had written and practiced in previous roles and fine-tuned for what I believed was most important to a company’s culture for enduring success and impact.

I knew I wanted to create a values-driven company that would last, so that is exactly what I formed with Attain.

Attain: How do you see the progress of Attain so far? Is this where you expected Attain would be at its 10-year anniversary?

Greg: When I think about our milestones, I look for impact, which has exceeded my expectations. While I candidly expected that, at this point, our company would be bigger than we are today, driving innovation and outcomes for our clients, I am confident that we are on the right track. Our culture of intention—The Attain Way—has life and emboldens our work. I am so proud of our people and their commitment to Attain and our clients. Looking at the number of new partners, the team members who have grown the company over the past decade, and the hundreds of new employees working to disrupt the status quo and improve the lives of those we touch, our momentum is extraordinary.

Attain: What is your favorite part about your job leading Attain?

Greg: I love inspiring people, touching their lives in a meaningful way. I strive for a balance of practical leadership tied to vision and values that drive outcomes. Great leaders are trustworthy and compassionate! For me, I always wanted to serve the underserved which is why our company is dedicated to organizations and people serving in the public sector. I view it as such a privilege to be able to improve public service organizations. 

Ask any member of the Attain leadership team what makes our company special and they will all give you the same answer: our people. We are intentional about our legacy and its impact on our clients, our employees, and our community. This drives our decision making every day. We’re building something that we hope a hundred years from now people will highly regard as the gold standard for consultancies.

As for me, I’ve grown tremendously as a leader by founding Attain and working to expand our impact over the past decade. There’s a sense of emotional maturity that you have to have as a leader to be able to look at yourself in the mirror and say honestly, “These are things we need to work on.” You have to be vigilant, and in this connection, I am still vibrantly committed to my own personal journey of growth as a leader. I know that my colleagues on our company’s executive committee are even more vigilant and I am a better leader because of them.

Attain: What’s in store for Attain in the next 12-months, five years, and beyond?

Greg: We will turn our attention to work force-multiplying our impact on the world by growing our firm, nurturing our culture, differentiating ourselves and expanding our capabilities. Guided by our core principles and the Attain Way, we will continue to lead change in the world in which we live and work, inspiring our clients to invent the future by thinking outside the box and imagining the impossible. In the next decade, consultancies as we know them today will fundamentally change. Every dimension of the business will undergo radical disruption, followed by renewal. It is a pretty big opportunity and Attain is poised to take advantage of it. Our focus over the next 12 months will be to double-down on delivering on our vision of the future, continuing to invest in disruptive business models focused on outcomes, differentiating ourselves and ‘asset-izing’ our business by changing our operational infrastructure to embrace more rapid market penetration, delivery solutions, and the client experience.

Attain: What will be the biggest challenges in achieving your vision for growth? Biggest opportunities?

Greg: It’s a journey to build a company, so you have to have an unrelenting commitment to your vision, overcoming the challenges and obstacles along the way—that is exactly what we have done over the past decade and what we will continue to do. Built-to-last has meaning when you look around this company. We’re building a culture that transcends the people of the day and the trends of the time, and instead continually matures and endures. We’re building a body of work that impacts this world in which we live, work, and play. I cannot wait to see the impact we create over the next 10 years!