News release

RSM’s "Pursue Your Passion" Program Helps Dreams Come True

Program awards nine employees with $90,000 total and nine days off each for personal goals

Mar 10, 2022

Kimberly Bartok, National Public Relations Leader,, 212.372.1239
Andreia DeVries, National Public Relations Manager,, 954.449.8096
for media use only 

RSM’s "Pursue Your Passion" Program Helps Dreams Come True

Program awards nine employees with $90,000 total and nine days off each for personal goals

CHICAGO – (March 10, 2022) – RSM US LLP (“RSM”) – the nation’s leading provider of audit, tax and consulting services focused on the middle market – recently recognized nine employees with $90,000 ($10,000 each) and nine paid days off to pursue their dreams through the firm’s Pursue Your Passion program.

In celebration of the firm’s 90th anniversary milestone in 2016, RSM launched Pursue Your Passion to encourage its people to apply for a chance to pursue their passions with support from the firm – including monetary assistance and paid time off. The program was such a resounding success that the firm has continued it each year since, with a team of employees and owners in the firm selecting winners annually.

“At RSM, we understand the importance of supporting our people and encouraging them to pursue both their professional and their personal goals,” said Doug Opheim, chief financial officer with RSM US LLP and chair of the RSM US Foundation. “Our Pursue Your Passion program is just one of the ways we do that for our people. Every year, our 13,000+ people across the U.S. and in Canada look forward to learning about what their nine colleagues choose to do through the program and to celebrating their achievements while learning more about their respective passions. As we get to know one another better, we strengthen relationships, which builds trust and enhances our ability to provide our clients with the best possible service.”

RSM’s 2022 Pursue Your Passion winners are:

  • Brad Sawyer (consulting senior associate; Gaithersburg, Maryland) – Will pursue his dreams by making a summit attempt on Mount Rainer.
  • Casey McGuire (innovation senior associate; Minneapolis, Minnesota) – In honor of her friend, Cassie, Casey will fund her Susan G. Komen three-day team walk in San Diego in November.
  • Echa Odea (consulting senior associate; Toronto, Ontario) – Will support a medical clinic in Agidegbe, Nigeria by installing solar power.
  • Jeremy Harty (assurance senior associate; Calgary, Alberta) – Will follow his dreams of curling by using the funds and additional days off to support his goals and his team.
  • Leslie Hampton (office administrator; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma) – Will travel across the country pursuing her geocaching (a type of global treasure hunt) passion with her daughter.
  • Misty Pleiness (consulting director; Detroit, Michigan) – Plans to open a therapeutic horse-care and riding program for physically and mentally handicapped children, young adults and veterans.
  • Shelly Lealos-Yates (consulting supervisor; San Francisco, California) – Will help women become happy and whole by expanding her nonprofit organization which supports those who have been in abusive relationships.
  • Susan Birke (senior scheduler; San Antonio, Texas) – Will help improve facilities at Charming Pet Rescue to create better living conditions for rescue animals.
  • Valentina Deriabina (tax supervisor; Gaithersburg, Maryland) – Will continue her support of Helping Village Libraries of the Russian North by sending books to libraries in rural Russian villages.



RSM is the leading provider of professional services to the middle market. The clients we serve are the engine of global commerce and economic growth, and we are focused on developing leading professionals and services to meet their evolving needs in today’s ever-changing business landscape. Our purpose is to instill confidence in a world of change, empowering our clients and people to realize their full potential.

RSM US LLP is the U.S. member of RSM International, a global network of independent assurance, tax and consulting firms with 57,000 people in 120 countries. For more information, visit, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and/or connect with us on LinkedIn.