United States

Inclusion takes center stage at annual CDI Summit


About 175 RSM leaders and professionals from across the firm came together just before the holiday season to focus on diversity and inclusion at RSM during the firm’s sixth annual Culture, Diversity and Inclusion (CDI) Summit.  

Employee network group (ENG) leaders, the firm’s senior leaders, and others, including Managing Partner and CEO Joe Adams, gathered in Atlanta to discuss inclusive leadership; outline goals and roles for making people count; talk about how to have courageous conversations; and to present the firm’s annual IMPACT awards, which highlight contributions of CDI leaders and champions who are making a positive difference in diversity and inclusion at RSM. The 2019 IMPACT winners were:

I – Innovation – Becca Huff successfully articulated and socialized RSM’s approach toward CDI to build community relationships and establish RSM as a CDI leader in the Great Lakes region. Other businesses have sought her out to learn more about our CDI program as a model for their respective businesses.

M – Management – Mirella Hernandez has led the national ¡HOLA! steering committee for several years and addressed the growing needs of the Great Lakes region ¡HOLA! membership. She also set up leadership sessions at the ALPFA convention, which she implemented at RSM on a national scale.

P – Persistence – John Lee was instrumental in RSM Canada's sponsorship of Ascend Canada. Through interactions with Ascend in the U.S., he gained a greater understanding of how RSM Canada has an important role in raising our firm profile within the Canadian Asian business community.

A – Attitude – Becky Strope-Boggus has been described as “the heart and soul” of the Pride ENG, bringing new ideas, enthusiasm, integrity and teamwork to Pride. She was the cheerleader, parent and technology resource for EmPOWERment 2019 classes, and created an outstanding program with One Iowa for youth outreach with many members of our Iowa offices.

C – Client Focus – Ayana Martinez was recognized for focusing the Abilities ENG on talent and client needs. Although new to her leadership role, Ayana has already identified ways to connect the Abilities ENG mission to the marketplace and is working to expand relationships with SourceAmerica, Special Olympics and the MS Society to build business opportunities. She is also leading efforts for RSM to complete the disability equality index as a 2020 benchmark.

T – Talent Focus – Sudhir Kondisetty, an ENG Council member and long-time CDI promoter, was recognized for his focus on the RSM experience for talent and how CDI can affect positive change on retention issues.

In addition to the IMPACT awards, Harry Blum, Rhonda Kosler and team were presented with our Chairman’s Award in recognition of the launch of CDI in the Toronto office and the continued efforts in Canada. With their hard work, openness and creative thought, Toronto is the first office to achieve 100% ENG sign-up by partners.

Additional Summit activities included a “leadership unplugged” session where attendees got real-time, off-the-cuff responses to their diversity and inclusion-related questions from the firm’s senior leaders; two special guests, including keynote speaker author Kelly McDonald; and a leadership think-tank where senior leaders gathered to candidly discuss progress to date and next steps for ensuring continued progress around inclusion at RSM.

And in the spirit of servant leadership, Summit attendees donated toys, and assembled bikes and scooters to help ensure that local children in need had a happy holiday season.

Look out for videos in the upcoming weeks on RSM’s Instagram page featuring some of our employee network group (ENG) national leaders on what they had to say about their ENGs, and why inclusion is important to RSM and to them personally.