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Steve Sadaka featured in South Florida Business & Wealth Magazine
Steven Sadaka decided early on that he wasn’t really cut out to be an accountant. Smart move, because he was much better at recruiting them.
Sadaka established StevenDouglas in 1983 as a boutique search firm specializing in accountants and has built it into a $40 million a year revenue company. These days, it covers a broad spectrum of professions and also offers interim help and project services. Revenue has gone up more than 600 percent in the past decade.
Sadaka, who is chairman and CEO, has been able to accomplish that by setting the right culture in an often dog-eat-dog industry and getting key members to join his team, including President Matt Shore, Division President Mark Viner, Executive VP Steve Kalisher and CFO Sylvia Alvarez.
After Sadaka graduated with top honors in accounting from the University of Florida, he started doing government audit work at Price Waterhouse in Little Havana. A senior accountant didn’t even talk to him for a couple of weeks.
He quit in four months. “I was the worst accountant at Price Waterhouse, ” Sadaka quips. In the precomputer era, he was bored out of his mind doing spreadsheets by hand. He went on to Laventhol & Horwath and taught tennis, too. After a year, at age 22, he’d had enough of accounting.
“I went to a headhunter to look for a job. I mentioned my interest in dealing with people, so he offered me a job to place CPAs, ” Sadaka recalls. “He gave me a telephone book and said, ‘Go find
clients!’ I had no sales experience.” Moreover, he considered himself a shy bookworm when he was growing up.
He started taking clients to play golf and out to dinner on Friday and Saturday nights. “Now, it’s natural. I like to work with people. I love to solve problems, ” says Sadaka, who is known for his sense of humor by those who know him well.
Sadaka developed a lucrative niche recruiting accounting personnel for banks in the days when Southeast Bank, Centrust, AmeriFirst and American Savings were big names in South Florida.