Shaping Compliance for 20 Years - A Letter From CEO Avani Desai
This year marks a very special year for Schellman.
We were founded in 2002, and at the time, we were just a two-person company focused solely on SAS 70 examinations. That was the extent of our manpower and expertise—one service for smaller companies.
It’s now two decades later. This week, we celebrate our 20th anniversary as a firm, and it isn’t just time that has changed. After our humble yet ambitious start all those years ago, we have since grown into a 400+ trusted global leader in cybersecurity and privacy with an entire suite of diverse services.
Celebrating the Past
Such progress and growth to this point should be commemorated, but we cannot celebrate the present without honoring those tenets that shaped us and got us here.
We Dreamed Big!
Though we lacked the validation we have now, we had grand plans when we started Schellman. Despite being a small fish willingly venturing into a big and established pond, we knew what we wanted to be and what we didn’t want to be. And we always stayed true to those foundational principles. Now, we can take pride in having changed the compliance game—in being one of the best assessors.
What we have achieved is far beyond the wildest dreams we had at the start of this journey, yet it all started with a big dream to be different—something we should all hold onto as we move forward.
We Had Faith in the Idea (and Ourselves).
Over the years, we also had the fortitude to stay our course, and that was because we believed in ourselves passionately. Despite where we are now, it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows to get to this point. At times, it would have been easier to abandon our ways to find a niche, rather than carve our own, but we had faith in our novel approach. That belief was critical to our success—that, and our willingness to learn from our mistakes.
This perfect fusion of passion and perseverance has powered Schellman to our place as one of the industry’s largest and well-respected firms globally. It will continue to serve us as we grow even more.
We Strove to Be Different.
When I say we carved our own niche through dreaming big and collective (as well as individual) resilience, I mean it. Along our journey, we’ve always chosen to do things no one else had done before despite the risks. That’s led to us becoming the first specialized CPA firm to provide only cybersecurity assessments, as well as our status as the only firm that can provide a suite of services under one firm umbrella.
Our deviation from the norm has not only led to organizational success but it’s also meant we have played a significant role in reshaping the compliance industry—and we don’t plan to stop any time soon.
Over twenty years, we have strengthened our business through organic growth and acquisitions, built the most talented team, and served the who’s who of technology companies. In the process, Schellman has become the largest specialized cybersecurity assessment firm in the world. We’ve now reached a unique scale and level of expertise that meets our client’s critical compliance needs that will also drive business growth.
Thank You to All
But we wouldn’t have gotten here without the people involved, and they deserve special recognition.
To our founder: Thank you Chris Schellman for your vision, expertise, and taking a risk in building a firm that would totally disrupt the compliance space. Thank you also for trusting me to carry on your legacy.
To our clients: Thank you for trusting us for many years and making us the leader in our industry. We are honored by your faith in us and will work tirelessly to continue to deserve it.
To our employees: Thank you for everything else. Your commitment to putting our firm and clients first and living out our corporate values has been integral to Schellman’s success. I also personally am grateful every day for the opportunity to work with talented, dedicated, passionate, and fun people.
Looking to the Future
This year, we hit the 20-year mark. Now, we enter a new phase of the firm’s history.
Last year, we partnered with Lightyear Capital to step up our commitment to innovation and value creation. This new chapter for Schellman will allow us to take even bolder steps, and we are all tremendously excited about the possibilities. Moving forward, we’ll have opportunities to create new services, transform our operations, and improve the employee experience, all while continuing to deliver value to our clients.
That’s what we set out to do twenty years ago, and the journey since hasn’t been easy. It took courage, passion, boldness, and perseverance, and it will take more to propel us to new heights. But before we start reaching for more, we will celebrate.
Let’s toast our employees, clients, and Chris Schellman who have helped us build a place that has already changed the way firms everywhere assess compliance.
Happy 20th anniversary, Schellman! Let’s continue to shape the future together.
About AVANI DESAI
Avani Desai is the CEO at Schellman. Avani has more than 15 years of experience in IT attestation, risk management, compliance and privacy. Avani’s primary focus is on emerging healthcare issues and privacy concerns for organizations. Named as one of the 2017 Global Leaders in Consulting by Consulting Magazine she has also been featured and published in the ISSA Journal, ITSP Magazine, ISACA Journal, Information Security Buzz, Healthcare Tech Outlook, and many more. Avani also sits on the board of Catalist, a not for profit that empowers women by supporting the creation, development and expansion of collective giving through informed grantmaking. In addition, she is co-chair of 100 Women Strong, a female only venture philanthropic fund to solve problems related to women and children in the community.