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INCLUSION 2022: The Power of Including You!


At RSM, we understand that only by embracing diversity of thinking will we be able to provide our diverse middle market clients with the innovative thinking and solutions they need to succeed in today’s increasingly global and increasingly competitive environment. And 2018 marked the fifth year of our annual culture, diversity and inclusion (CDI) leadership summit. The two-day event, attended by nearly 200 people from across the firm’s 86 offices nationwide, kicked off with a video history of CDI – in the accounting industry and at RSM. (Did you know that today, nearly 4,000 of RSM’s people are now a part of an employee network group? Or that RSM’s very own Richard Caturano was instrumental in implementing CDI efforts at the AICPA?)

Following the video, Managing Partner and CEO Joe Adams shared his personal thoughts on the importance of inclusion saying that having a caring and inclusive workforce differentiates us as a firm, making us the go-to firm for middle market business leaders, regardless of where in the world they’re located.

A few eye-opening statistics:

  • According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, by 2025, millennials will make up 75 percent of the workforce, many are foreign-born, bi-racial and/or LGBT.
  • Minority-owned businesses are growing at ten times the rate of non-minority businesses.
  • Employee turnover costs the U.S. economy $64 billion a year.  
  • One of the byproducts of a commitment to inclusion: companies with inclusive environments experience a 22-percent lower turnover rate than their counterparts.
  • Eighty percent of the world’s talent source is comprised of women and people of color.

Highlights from the summit:

  • The firm’s 11 employee network groups (ENGs) were highlighted throughout the event, giving attendees an opportunity to learn about the groups in which they might not be active.
  • A best practices “hot seat” exercise provided an opportunity for ENGs to highlight their significant achievements over the past year, providing best practice ideas around membership engagement, communications, training, and client and business engagement with one another.
  • Interactive sessions and exercises throughout the event got participants involved in generating ideas to enhance the workforce, workplace, marketplace and our community.
  • Our IMPACT Awards recognized people who’ve gone above-and-beyond in their inclusion efforts. This year’s winners included Kerensa Butler, Dara Castle, Katie Schuhow, Michael Gerlach, Irna Lubis and Kate Seitz.
  •  Keynote speaker Stephen Covey’s “Speed of Inclusion” workshop described trust and inclusion as two sides of the same coin – you can’t have inclusion without trust. It’s our new currency in a reputation economy. He says that if you want an inclusive culture, you should extend trust. Covey went on to say that he loves what we’re doing in terms of inclusion at RSM because it’s intentional. Covey’s three big ideas from the session:
    • Trust is an economic driver, not merely a social virtue. (There is a business case for trust and a business case for inclusion.)
    • Trust is the No. 1 competency of leadership needed today. (It will change and multiply every other competency when you have high trust within your organization.)
    • Trust is a learnable skill. (Tools will give you a language and process you can use to talk about trust – use them to empower the entire organization.)  
  • Key takeaways:  
    • Start with yourself (your own credibility and behavior).
    • Declare your intent (and assume positive intent).
    • Lead out in extending trust to others.
    • Covey closed his remarks by saying he’s “now an RSM promoter.”
  • An “RSM Leadership Unplugged” panel featuring Managing Partner and CEO Joe Adams, COO Bill Gorman, CFO Doug Opheim, CHRO Katie Lamkin and Regional Managing Partner – Great Lakes Donna Sciarappa, moderated by ENG leaders Charles Barley Jr. and Katie Schuhow gave our leaders an opportunity to share their thoughts about inclusion, and allowed audience members to get answers to their related questions in “real time.”
  • A facilitated conversation of understanding highlighted a recent issue from the headlines, providing perspectives from individuals on both sides of the issue.
  • A client panel focused on the power of inclusion in the marketplace. RSM Houston Office Managing Partner Tom Rourik facilitated the discussion with Najah Callender, executive director, community development with the YMCA; Niya Blair Hackworth – director, center for diversity and inclusion, University of Houston; and RSM partner, Karen Costa. Topics ranged from what diversity and inclusion means, how success can be measured, how to engage people at all levels of the organization, best practices and lessons learned.
  • Attendees participated in a charitable giving event where they decorated gifts for donation to children of a local nonprofit focused on helping disadvantaged children in the community.

We’re already looking forward to next December’s CDI Summit. In the meantime, our 11 ENGs, our leadership team and the rest of our 9,000+ people nationwide will continue their commitment to inclusion at RSM.