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RSM resources for racial understanding and inclusion


At RSM, we believe inclusion starts with “I.” This means each professional at RSM is committed to doing our part to advance racial understanding and inclusion across the firm and within our communities. To support our activities, we are sharing our internal resources for the benefit of our clients and others who want to drive meaningful change and create a more equitable future.


Allyship is an important component of helping create greater equity and understating. RSM Allies in Racial Understanding and Inclusion outlines 10 steps individuals can take to be an ally.

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Allyship is something we teach to our leaders and our teams. Here are some excerpts from recent presentations from respected professionals within and outside of RSM.

Courageous conversations

Courageous conversations form the basis for deeper understanding. They challenge us to push ourselves beyond what is comfortable and hear a variety of perspectives to encourage empathy and inclusiveness. 

To hold a courageous conversation, it is important to abide by certain ground rules and principles:

Ground rules

To create safe space for candor, honesty, perspective-taking and understanding, we ask all participants to accept the ground rules:

  • Assume positive intent
  • Consider your voice important in educating others on our journey to inclusion
  • Extend empathy and suspend your reaction to the shared views and comments of others
  • Be open to understanding
  • If a perspective differs from yours, lean in, ask questions and seek common ground
  • Give leaders feedback that will help individuals, teams and the firm grow

Four agreements of a courageous conversation

  • Stay engaged: Staying engaged means “remaining morally, emotionally, intellectually, and socially involved in the dialogue”
  • Experience discomfort: Discomfort is inevitable, especially, in dialogue about race, and that participants make a commitment to bring issues into the open. It is not talking about these issues that create divisiveness. It is through dialogue, even when uncomfortable, the healing and change begin.
  • Speak your truth: This means being open about thoughts and feelings and not just saying what you think others want to hear.
  • Expect and accept no closure: This agreement asks participants to “hang out in uncertainty” and not rush to quick solutions, especially in relation to racial understanding, which requires ongoing action and consideration.

Our Courageous Conversation Guide provides additional resources and questions for you to hold your own courageous conversation.

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RSM CEO Courageous Conversation with the PGA TOUR: Increasing understanding and pressing for change

For the 2020 RSM Classic, RSM joined the PGA TOUR to discuss the challenges of racism and steps we can collectively take to increase understanding and bring about change. Check out a clip from this important conversation.

Diversity and Inclusion Infrastructure and Programming

As diversity has become a business imperative for many, RSM has a dedicated team of professionals focused exclusively on culture, diversity and inclusion. The CDI team serves our internal 12 Employee Network Groups as well as all of our enterprise diversity programs, their governance and learning strategies. RSM serves our clients and friends with resources and advisory as they advance their inclusion mission. Please reach out to us if we can assist.