At RSM, we have a history of inclusion. And it’s in that spirit of inclusion that I, as the current national leader of RSM’s Abilities employee network group (ENG), continuously consider how we can make it as easy as possible for those who are differently abled and/or who have loved ones who are differently abled to connect and work with RSM. With April being Autism Awareness Month, part of my current focus is on how we can support those living with autism.
Every 11 minutes someone in the U.S. is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, which affects one in every 59 children in America. With more than 13,000 people in 83 offices nationwide and in Canada, it’s not surprising that some of our colleagues are impacted by autism.
What can we at RSM – a provider of audit, tax and consulting services – do to help? As it turns out, we can do quite a bit. First, our culture of flexibility enables our people to work where and when it’s most convenient for them, while providing our clients with the first-class services they’ve come to expect from our firm. So if our people need flexibility during the “normal” work day to take care of themselves or family members, they’re able get that with the firm’s full support. We also provide a comprehensive benefits plan for our people, which includes health and wellness benefits as well as access to free coaching sessions to help them integrate work and life priorities. And we have 12 employee-led ENGs focused on making sure that all of our people feel welcome, and that they can connect with others across the firm who might be facing similar life experiences or events. Our Abilities and Family First ENGs have a special focus on the physical and mental health and wellness of our people and their loved ones.
This April, our Abilities ENG has invited our people to participate in the following activities to recognize and promote autism awareness:
- Wear blue on 4/2! We encouraged our people to wear blue for World Autism Awareness Day on Sat., April 2 and to share their stories and pictures with us using #autismawareness.
- Also to mark World Autism Day, we invited our people to take part in an insightful discussion with RSM International’s global diversity and inclusion leader and Keivan Stassun, professor of physics and astronomy with Vanderbilt University, as they explored the advantages of embracing neurodiversity in the workplace.
- Finally, we invited our people to attend an autism awareness panel discussion where we discussed differences between awareness and acceptance, and a panel of RSM people and their loved ones with autism shared their journeys.
I am honored to be a part of RSM and our Abilities ENG, and proud of the inclusive culture we’ve created and continue to foster for our people.
Ayana Martinez, Principal and National Abilities Employee Network Group Leader
RSM is committed to inclusion, and we value perspectives, journeys, milestones and progress that enrich us all.