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FORVIS honors Ling Zhang and Casey Potts as inaugural Key Award winners

News Release // 06-30-2023

More than 1,500 team members celebrated Ling Zhang and Casey Potts as the winners of FORVIS’ inaugural Key Award—the organization’s highest honor—during the firm’s annual VISION Conference held in Orlando this week.

The Key Award is given annually to one partner or managing director and one team member who exemplify the firm’s cultural DNA, known as The FORVIS Way. These honorees lead by example and bring the firm’s culture to life as they unlock the potential of their colleagues, clients, and communities each day.

The pair were chosen from hundreds of nominees across the firm, which just marked its first anniversary on June 1 following its creation from a merger of equals of BKD and DHG.

“One of the many great ways we further our culture is by celebrating role models who can show us the way,” said FORVIS CEO Tom Watson. “Choosing from our deep and deserving pool of nominees was not an easy task. Ling and Casey are truly inspiring and it’s an honor to recognize their contributions to the firm and the culture we’re building at FORVIS.”

About the Honorees 

Ling Zhang is a partner based in Tysons, Virginia. She is the market industry leader for FORVIS’ Technology and Services Practice in the Washington, D.C., area. She was admitted as a partner on June 1, 2023, having previously been a managing director, and has been with the firm for four years.

In nominating her for the Key Award, Zhang’s colleagues noted her genuine leadership style, generous mentorship with younger team members, and exceptional business development mindset. “She is a builder—a people builder and a business builder,” said one.

In an acceptance speech during the VISION Conference, Zhang cited a number of mentors who have helped her realize a dream of becoming a partner in a CPA firm, a dream she had when she arrived in the United States from China to earn a master’s degree. She urged her colleagues to continue to pay forward the mentorship they’ve received during their career and time with the firm.

“My mentors inspired me, made me who I am today, and are shaping who I will be tomorrow,” she said. “They lead by example and walk the talk; each of them exemplifies the servant leadership to unlock the full potential of those we serve.”

Casey Potts is a senior managing consultant with FORVIS’ deal advisory practice focused on serving M&A clients, based in Atlanta. She started as an intern with the firm in 2013 and worked in Kansas City before relocating to Atlanta.

In nominating her for the Key Award, Potts’ colleagues cited her highly professional approach to working with clients during sometimes delicate M&A engagements, as well as the time she takes to teach and mentor team members regardless of her existing workload. “She’s a great role model for others to look up to and is exactly what FORVIS looks for in a leader,” said one. 

During her acceptance speech, Potts said she sees the firm’s DNA lived out consistently and authentically, and she urged her colleagues to continue building remarkable careers for themselves and those around them.

“What are you leaving in your wake?” she asked. “At the end of the day, success is not solely what we accomplish for ourselves, but what we inspire in others to accomplish.”

For more information about The FORVIS Way and the firm’s cultural DNA, go to

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