The Partner Institute

The Accounting Industry’s Premier Partner Development Program

Understanding and Expertise

Each of The Partner Institute™ instructors possess extensive expertise in the subject matter they teach. They also bring to the table an acute understanding of the accounting industry.

Amanda Garner

The Growth Partnership

Amanda teaches Writing Advantage, 5 Choices of Extraordinary Productivity, Leveraging Social Media, and assists with the Presentation Skills session for TPI. She has logged many hours of training for TPI, in addition to in-house programs, for various accounting firms throughout the United States and Canada.

Amanda leads the Outsourced Marketing Division of The Growth Partnership, and has worked with TGP since 2002. In addition to professional services marketing, Amanda’s background includes years working with various media outlets as a producer and on-air talent. Most notably, her job history includes a one-year production role at NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

With over a decade of experience in marketing and communications training and implementation, Amanda is devoted to helping accounting firms establish best practice marketing activities. Providing internal training for the clients she serves and as a frequent speaker for industry association conferences, Amanda receives consistent high-marks as a presenter. She offers useful tools in an entertaining and motivating fashion, helping her audiences tune in and turn on.

Outside of work, Amanda enjoys spending time with her husband and 4 pets at her mountain home in Central Pennsylvania. She is also a swing dance instructor and runs a full-time dance studio in Carlisle, PA.

Charles Hylan

The Growth Partnership

Charles joined The Growth Partnership as a Shareholder after dedicating 12 years consulting with, and working in, accounting firms ranging from sole-practitioners to National and Big 5 firms. During this time, Charles spent more than eight years working at Price Waterhouse and Arthur Andersen where he began his career as an auditor before transitioning into a strategic planning and marketing role. Charles entered the accounting consulting industry in 1999 as a Vice President in the Consulting Services division of Waugh & Co.

As a shareholder, Charles’ passion is to help each client succeed as a business owner. To this end, he is a trusted advisor to clients within several areas of TGP’s service offerings, including marketing, strategic planning, partner compensation and leadership development.

Charles works closely with TGP clients to create high-impact marketing plans focused on implementation. As a practice management consultant, he draws upon his practical, “can-do” approach to help firms create and execute long-term plans and effective compensation systems. On the leadership development side of TGP, Charles facilitates The Reluctant Salesperson: A Realistic Approach to Practice Development for the CPA, a 2-day course that helps CPAs become more effective with their practice development efforts. Finally, Charles leads the efforts on bringing The Rosenberg Survey, a benchmark report comparing over 100 metrics across nearly 400 firms, to the accounting marketplace.

No matter what service Charles is providing, his passion is to help TGP clients succeed as business owners.  Charles is an inspiration to clients due to his unique ability to focus on implementation…the only true way to bring about change.

Charles has written articles featured in various accounting publications and has spoken at many accounting firms, associations and other industry meetings and conferences.

Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA)

University of Houston
Masters of Business Administration
University of Texas – Austin
Bachelor of Arts in Economics

James Metzler


Jim Metzler is the founder of Metzler Advisory Group LLC and is​​​ well known in the profession based on his work leading the Private Company Practice Section (PCPS) of the AICPA. In his role as a member of the AICPA’s senior management team, Jim advocated for the interests of the Institute’s 44,000 public accounting firms.

Prior to that he coached CPA firms drawing on his 32 years of experience working in a Buffalo NY CPA firm.

Clients of Metzler Advisory Group LLC include CPA firms, associations, boards, and companies that provide products and services for the CPA profession.

As the Founder and Managing Shareholder of The Growth Partnership, Jeff leads a dynamic team of professionals who are dedicated to helping their clients succeed as business owners.

Focused exclusively on professional services firms, Jeff is best known for his work in three areas: helping CPA firms design and successfully implement robust go-to-market positioning strategies, developing the future leaders of the accounting profession, and implementing robust growth platforms within CPA firms, banks and other professional services organizations. He has repeatedly been named as one of the profession’s “Top 100 Most Influential People” by Accounting Today.

Currently, the client “footprint” of The Growth Partnership consists of 452 accounting firms in the United States - including 56 of the Accounting Today “Top 100” firms”; 39 associations / state societies; 13 international firms. and several other professional services firms.

Jeff is a frequent keynote speaker and a recognized face at many management conferences. His presentations consistently receive outstanding reviews and are known for having substantive tools and resources included as part of the session materials.

In 2010, Jeff founded Under his leadership, the tech startup attracted an initial round of venture capital and quickly lived up to it's moniker as "The Accounting Profession Online". Jeff and his other founding partners sold their controlling interests in the portal in 2012 – achieving a $3.3M valuation.

A 1991 graduate of Creighton University, Jeff resides in suburban St. Louis with his wife Cindy and their four children. In his free time Jeff enjoys escaping to his family retreat in remote McCloud, CA, and serving as the “voice” of the SLUH Jr. Bills and Affton Americans hockey teams.

Other Notables:

  • Named as a “Most Recommended Consultant” by IPA
  • Recipient of seven AAM Marketing Achievement Awards, including two “Best of Show” awards for overall excellence.

Patrick Patterson

The Growth Partnership

Patrick Patterson is a Performance/Process Guide & “Facilitator Extraordinaire” with more than 25 years in People & Process Development.

Participants consistently rate energy, enthusiasm, skill and insight as hallmarks of his presentations. He brings expertise in the areas of:

  • professional services & high end product marketing & sales training
  • leadership development with world class program partners like Franklin Covey Company
  • coaching for action & accountability in professional services, aeronautics and defense industries
  • quality and continuous improvement initiatives in hospitality & higher education

Patrick leads and coaches groups for The Growth Partnership’s Business Development Forum and serves on their facilitation team. He was on the faculty of Fortune 100 company, Crestcom, and their internationally acclaimed Bullet Proof Manager Series; concurrently he was a facilitator and coach with The Rainmaker Academy for nearly 10 years.

Patrick's background includes more than 17 years in the world of public accounting and continues in this industry internationally. He served eight years with University Continuous Improvement at Arizona State University and three years as a training and development consultant for hotel resorts in Arizona and Nevada.

He holds a bachelor's degree in Communications - Human Resource Development, from Brigham Young University. Patrick is past Director of Professional Development (Las Vegas / Tucson Chapters), American Society for Training and Development.

Patrick's knowledge and expertise add a great dimension to any organization serious about people / process development.

Karen Durkin


A proven communications leader, nationally-acclaimed speaker Karen Durkin brings over 25 years of expertise to working with business professionals to grow. Karen is an energetic, skilled and professional executive coach that provides business coaching and training services to clients. Karen understands that while clients often realize what their individual business challenges are, they need assistance in developing creative solutions for achieving successful results for personal and business growth. She serves her clients by providing coaching in profit enhancement, organizational development, strategic planning and meeting and retreat facilitation for both nonprofit organizations as well as for profit businesses. Full of endless new ideas and enthusiasm, she helps clients find greater success personally and professionally.

In addition to executive coaching, Karen is a top-rated motivational speaker and was a small business advice columnist in the Las Vegas Business Press. Recognized for her energy and dynamic personality, she can help clients re-think, re-tool and re-energize their daily operations or latest projects. Effective communications can make or break a business deal or public perception. Karen's expertise eliminates the clutter and helps clients focus on the message. Through her coaching, clients gain the ability to deliver clear, concise, effective and, most importantly, persuasive presentations.

Karen's resume reads like a who's who of U.S. corporations. Karen has consulted and trained such blue-chip companies as ExxonMobil, AT&T, Intel and Wendy’s International. Karen shared her experience and energy with her staff and clients at HRC a BDO Alliance Certified Public Accounting firm and utilized her experience at MGM Resorts International as Director of Administration of the Finance Shared Services Center. She received a Bachelors of Business Administration at the University of North Texas and earned her Masters of Business Administration at the University of Louisiana. She served as an Associate Professor in the MBA program at the University of Southern Nevada and currently serves as an Adjunct Professor in the Executive MBA program and the Global Entrepreneurship Experience Scholar Program at UNLV.