Sean Shahkarami is a dedicated problem-solver, an innovator, entrepreneur, and author. He’s also a champion of the people who remains steadfast in his focus on helping others reach their full potential. As a peak performance coach, Sean moves people to breakthrough moments, providing a foundation for transformative experiences that change lives. His latest penned work, Resonate, reveals lessons learned over the course of a decade-long journey.
In the corporate space, Sean is also the founder and CEO of Opilio LLC. Launched in July of 2023, the Texas-based business offers custom AI and machine learning software solutions that automate complex processes, identify correlations in data driving revenue growth and intelligent lead generation, and predict future business outcomes.
We sat down with Sean to learn more about his own inspiration, what makes Opilio so different, and his deep-rooted desire to make a difference for clients and colleagues alike.
What inspired you to start Opilio?
I was always into technology, but I never thought that AI and ML would have an effect on me because my job was M&A, and every deal is different with a lot of complex nuances, so there was no way it could be automated. Then about a year ago, it dawned on me that maybe it could be automated. So, I figured out how to do it. I wanted to maximize my value and leverage that technology in a way that still keeps humans relevant and valuable and offers our clients something different. I raised money with friends and started our own custom AI and ML business—Opilio.
What makes Opilio unique from other companies in the space?
First, the tools that we build for our clients; we keep all that information private within their own infrastructure and give them the rights to it; we build IP for our customers. Then we coach them on how to monetize that data with a secondary revenue stream that’s also passive by monetizing the ML models that we build along with the data.
Second, we focus primarily on optimizing sales and marketing. Our theory is by growing revenue we grow companies, and as companies grow, they hire more people. We create an ideal customer persona for our customer that reflects the top 20% of their historical customers, so the most loyal, revenue-generating customers they have, and then we prospect using machine learning based on that customer persona.
You’re also a peak performance coach. What inspired you to start this venture? How is your approach different from others?
When I was first promoted to director during my previous tenure at Grant Thornton, I had so many personal and professional obligations and responsibilities that I noticed I couldn't focus. I would walk into a room and forget why I walked into the room. I found a program through the Flow Research Collective and trained with them for a year to become certified as a high-performance coach. One of their missions is for people who go through the program to help further that knowledge and education because it's completely opposite of our modern-day society. So that's what inspired me.
In my own coaching, I take a very deep dive into getting to know the person and their goals, and I challenge them through questions to really allow them to reflect and become introspective about what's going to make them ultimately fulfilled. What I do differently is I personalize it more. Science is science, but what works for one person may not work for another.
You’re also helping people learn AI to complement their current skills and keep them valuable in the years to come. Tell us about your program.
The most recent research articles about AI in the workforce estimate that 50% of jobs will be diminished or disappear due to AI and ML over next five years. We’re helping individuals and executives by giving them the tools they need to thrive.
Our premier product is an enterprise-level platform where we build our AI and ML applications. We have 6-month and 12-month programs that are like a university course where users get the benefit of real-world application, so they leave the course with tangible skill sets that will keep them valuable over next five years.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
Helping people. I’ve done a lot of things in my career and been very fortunate, but of all my achievements, the greatest satisfaction I got from my job at Grant Thornton was not the metrics, it was that every person I coached on my staff all got promotions, and all became better professionals.
Sean is a CPA and CFF.
Founder and CEO — Opilio LLC and Sean K. Shahkarami