From Intern to Manager to Mom
Neely Rose shares her story of career growth
Tell us about yourself and your role at RSM?
My name is Neely Rose and I am an audit manager in RSM’s Charlotte, NC office. While my work focuses primarily on consumer products companies and not-for-profits, at home I enjoy being a wife to my husband, Daniel, and a mother to my 18-month-old son, Nolan, and my cat and dog! As part of the audit team, I am out at my clients’ offices most of the year, which is a great way to get to develop a deep understanding of my clients’ business, challenges and goals. This structure also allows me the opportunity to work with various audit teams throughout the course of the year and really get to know my fellow RSM team members. I also enjoy that my role as a manager allows me to serve as a career advisor for the younger members of my team and interview the next generation of RSM team members!
How has your role changed since you started?
I started with RSM as an intern between undergraduate and grad school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. As I have developed from an intern to a manager, my role has transitioned from that of one that felt very focused on rules and audit programs to one that is now focused on people and building relationships. Though it may not seem that way at first glance, our profession is very much built on developing quality relationships – with your peers, with others at RSM and with your clients. It is the people behind the accounting that can drive an engagement to be successful or cause it to become challenging. It is learning how to handle different personalities and how to cultivate relationships that has changed for me over the years and become more of a focus. Although I didn’t expect accounting to be a “people profession” when I started my career, I am certainly glad it is!
What has made you stay at RSM?
The accounting industry is one of constant change and constant challenge, which I enjoy. I feel like this profession drives you to learn something new each and every day. What keeps me at RSM year after year are the opportunities I have been presented and the individualized focus I felt on achieving my career goals and objectives. RSM has provided me the opportunity to truly take hold of my career and run with it. When I wanted to accelerate my career, I worked with my career advisor to find the right engagements and internal activities to demonstrate that I had what it took to get to the next level. Leadership didn’t make me stick to a predetermined timeline for my next promotion or success, which really showed me that they valued my contribution and saw me as an individual. I also continued to feel this individualization after I had my son and didn’t return until mid-way through busy season. I again worked with my career advisor to develop a plan that would allow me to return to RSM and be a contributing team member and also have the time I needed with my young family. This support throughout my career journey has been paramount in my success and made my decision to stay at RSM an easy one.
What is the STAR Employee Network group and why did you decide to join?
The STAR Employee Network Group (ENG) focuses on Stewardship Teamwork Advancement and Retention of women at RSM. STAR supports these goals by promoting advocacy and mentorship and by providing professional development programs to RSM employees. I decided to join the STAR ENG as I think there is a lot of opportunity within the public accounting sector – at RSM and across the board – to increase the number of strong women in positions of leadership. RSM and the STAR ENG are supportive of this mission and I am excited to be part of a group of individuals that can develop and create our next generation of women leaders in the workplace.
What events have you participated in with STAR and how has this group helped you in your career?
I currently serve as the Charlotte office lead for our chapter of STAR. In this role, and as part of the ENG, I had the opportunity to host a women’s leadership breakfast that included a panel of women leaders from the Charlotte office across all business lines. I was also able to attend a mentoring luncheon that STAR sponsored in conjunction with the NC Association of Certified Public Accountants. The most rewarding event I have been part of though the STAR ENG was the Star Success Series this past fall. This was an intense multi-session experience where I worked with about a dozen of my female peers from across business lines in the South East to discuss and tackle issues and challenges we as women face in the workplace and the community. It was amazing to brainstorm ideas, develop solutions and build relationships with other strong women from RSM – each of whom had a different path to success.
How has your life changed since becoming a working mom and how has RSM helped ease the transition?
How HASN’T life changed?! Being a mom is absolutely fantastic, but it truly gives you an entirely different perspective on how to go about each day. Where my husband and I used to only have to focus on our wants, our schedule and our needs – it’s now all about ensuring we can create a good life for our whole family. Having a strong support system at home and creating a schedule that works for all three of us has been critical to developing a balance that works for my whole family and my career. As my son is still young, my husband and I are definitely still learning how to approach family life and all of the challenges that come with it, so it is also great to be surrounded by a supportive team at work.
One of the best things I did was to work with my RSM team to develop a flexible work option (FWO) upon returning to work. This allowed me to work reduced hours during busy season my first season back since my son was only a few months old. Though my husband was home taking his parenting leave, this flexibility during auditing’s busiest time allowed me to get home and spend time with my family so as to not miss the “little moments” and still be an active contributing member of the audit team.
Even when not on a FWO, this profession and company allow me the flexibility to do what I need to do for my son in the middle of the day should the need arise – from doctor’s appointments to school parties. Over the years I demonstrated my commitment to RSM and now RSM is demonstrating its commitment to me by offering flexibility when I need it most.