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Embracing differences leads to innovation


The Boston Business Journal recently ran an article, “Two entrepreneurs with Down syndrome are breaking down workplace barriers,” which mentioned RSM. What’s the connection, you might wonder? Here’s an explanation:

Entrepreneurs Collette Divitto, owner of Collettey’s Cookies and John Cronin, co-founder and chief happiness officer at John’s Crazy Socks, both have Down syndrome and, as a result, have experienced the challenge of finding work. So what did they do? They turned the challenge into opportunities by founding their own successful businesses.

Boston-based Collettey’s Cookies employs 13 people, several of whom have disabilities, and Divitto says her mission is to employ even more people with varying abilities.

In New York, John Cronin and his dad employ 35 people at John’s Crazy Socks, 16 of whom have various differing abilities. The company’s online site offers 1,900 different sock styles, some of which are “awareness socks,” with proceeds earmarked for various associated charities, and five percent going to Special Olympics.

Cronin and Divitto recently served as panelists for a day-long event held by RSM’s Boston office. The goal: spread awareness about entrepreneurship and people with disabilities, and change hiring practices. Also on the panel was Jo Ann Simmons, CEO of the Northeast Arc, a Massachusetts-based nonprofit that helps people with disabilities. The conclusion of the panel: businesses should embrace these capable workers. According to Boston Office Managing Partner Chris MacKenzie, this mindset is particularly important, given today’s tight labor market.

“The accounting industry, like many other industries today, is facing an extremely tight labor market and, as a result, we need to be innovative in our thinking when it comes to hiring,” said MacKenzie. “The creative thinking of our diverse people has helped our success so far, and will help us continue our success serving our increasingly diverse clients. Determined and driven people like Collette and John are the types of people RSM and any other company would be proud to be associated with. And RSM’s Abilities and other employee network groups are designed to help everyone ‘find a home’ at RSM.”

To learn more about working at RSM, visit the Careers page of our website.

To learn more about RSM’s focus on diversity and inclusion, visit the diversity and inclusion page of our website.




Abilities strives to foster an environment that supports professionals or their dependents with special needs.

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