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Family First Member Spotlight: Meet Brooke Nelson

DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION  | 

RSM’s Family First employee network group (ENG) builds community around shared experiences and serves as a support system for the wellbeing and growth of its members and others so they can be their best – at home, at work and in their communities. Through regular member spotlights, the ENG shares stories about life experiences of some of RSM’s people. Here, we meet Brooke Nelson, who shares what work-life balance means to her.

Brooke Nelson
Manager, state and local tax (SALT)
5 years with RSM
Member of
STAR and Family First

Tell us about a challenge you are currently facing or have faced.
After seven years of being a working parent, this is the first time that “working mom guilt” has come into the spotlight for me. Now that COVID-19 has changed almost everything about our day-to-day lives, I’m having a really hard time with the blurred line separating parent and professional. I’m not socially interacting with my peers at work in-person, and it’s been tough having my family bear the brunt of that frustration. I’m stuck in the “mom” role while working from home, and admitting to myself that “I need a break” is new to me.

What roles do family, faith and RSM play in the face of such challenge?
My mom has worked in public accounting for 30 years. She has always encouraged me to find my place outside of the home and appreciate my value as a professional. After my first child (Tyler, now 7) had been at daycare for a few months after I returned to work, she reminded me that he doesn’t know any different and he’s not sitting around with his infant friends wishing his mom stayed home and made homemade baby food. That was a relief because I attempted homemade baby food once and it was terrible.

My dad has coached my husband Nick on the importance of pride, rather than resentment, when I have to work long hours. My dad and Nick take my son golfing, while my mom lets the girls (Lucy, 4 and Ellen, 2) give her a makeover with purple glitter eyeshadow – all while I’m putting in a few extra hours on a Saturday during fall busy season. I couldn’t do it without my parents and Nick.

My team at RSM is why I love my job. The flexibility, understanding and support is unmatched. There were times in my early SALT days when some of my mentors and colleagues knew what I needed before I did! My Birmingham peers keep me looking forward to showing up every day. The comradery and support I’ve experienced at RSM makes me one of the firm’s biggest cheerleaders, and I know I’m not alone in that!

What habits have you created over time that have led you to face such a challenge in the way that you are or have? Why were those habits important to you? How did you develop a commitment to those habits?
I’m still working on that...  But trying to get in some work in the mornings has been something that’s helped. Ellen’s naptime is a good stretch of productivity for me, and letting go of the “screen time guilt” has also been good for me. Knowing that my workday ends earlier now makes it more important to log on after bedtime, which is when I tend to knock out my compliance tasks since I don’t need as much collaboration with my coworkers. Learning to prioritize what needs to get done during “normal working hours” is still something I’m working on, but something I do now that I wasn’t as focused on a couple years ago.

Tell us your day-by-day plans to move forward through this challenging time of life. How are others able to help and support?
I don’t know of a better team than mine – both at home and at work! I never feel like I’m doing it all by myself, and that makes a huge difference. Recognizing when I’m overwhelmed and asking for help is something I’m trying to improve.

What message would you give to other professionals who face similar challenges or who have family members facing such challenges?
Find your support team and lean on them. Then make sure to be there for them when it’s their turn. Learn to be proud of what you accomplish, confident in your decisions and how to use your strengths every day. Also, if homemade baby food isn’t your thing, buy the stuff in the pouches and hand the kids the iPad.


Family First

DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION

Family First

Family First serves as an active voice around shared family challenges and promoting an inclusive, respectful workplace.