United States

RSM Congratulates Donnovan Maginley Making a Difference Award Winner


RSM’s African American Community of Excellence (AACE) employee network group (ENG) recently honored Sardou Mertilus, a manager in our Miami office, with the inaugural Donnovan Maginley Making a Difference Award. The award was established in memory of Maginley, a partner in our government assurance practice, who passed away unexpectedly in November 2018.

This award honors Maginley’s passion for pursuing excellence, his dedication to his clients and teams, and his commitment to being a valued first-choice advisor. It also exemplifies AACE’s mission of furthering RSM’s business and diversity and inclusion objectives by actively supporting the recruitment, development and retention of talented black professionals and other minorities.

Mertilus credits Maginley with helping shape his professional development. “This award is a tremendous honor,” said Mertilus. “Donnovan was one of the main public sector partners I worked for, and he was instrumental in getting me to where I am today. From my first day with the firm, it was motivating to see someone who looked like me at the top of the ranks. I quickly noticed that a large part of his success was driven by his qualities—like building relationships, and his technical skills—which set him apart from most. Those qualities continue to inspire me to focus on improving myself so I can achieve that level of professional success.”

Anil Harris, one of several AACE members who nominated Mertilus, pointed out that Mertilus has built a strong reputation in the South Florida offices as a go-to person to lead recruiting and retention efforts and community service events. “His involvement in external organizations, such as the Broward Alliance, Broward League of Cities, NABA and ALPFA, demonstrates his commitment to the community.”

Harris also knows that Maginley’s mentoring had a profound effect on Mertilus. “When Donnovan passed away, Sardou was asked to take on more responsibilities serving the engagements that he and Donnovan worked on in prior years,” Harris continued. “Sardou stepped into the manager role with a number of our high-profile clients, and he stepped up to the challenge. This allowed our team to meet all client deadlines and expectations at a time when our clients were looking to our team to steady the ship. We delivered quality and timely service, despite losing a key team member in Donnovan.”

Mertilus is grateful for the time he was able to spend with Maginley. “He had extremely high expectations in terms of quality and developing our technical abilities. It took me a while to realize that he saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself.”

Our AACE ENG is proud to congratulate Mertilus on the receipt of this award and for making a difference in recruitment and retention efforts, for living our firm’s values and for his engagement in AACE. Along with his award, Mertilus will also select a charitable organization aligned with the RSM US Foundation mission to receive a $2,500 donation.

African American and Canadian Excellence

African American and Canadian Excellence

AACE nurtures an environment that supports RSM’s African American and Black professionals in their pursuit of professional excellence.