U.S. Short Track speedskating head coach

Stephen Gough, RSM alumni

Culture RSM alumni

I grew up in Fredericton, New Brunswick, in Eastern Canada, and I was interested in sports from a young age. By around age eight, I had been playing hockey for a few years when I joined the local speedskating club to improve my skating skills. Joining the club led to regional, national and North American competitions. Inevitably my hobby turned into a career as a Canadian short track National Team member from 1992-98 while attending McGill University in Montreal.

Upon completing my undergraduate degree, I went into coaching with the U.S. Short Track National Training Program before I took a break from speedskating and returned to school to study law. I had intended to build a career in the field; however, just as I finished my degree, I had an opportunity to get back into coaching, this time with the Canadian program. Joining the Canadian coaching staff was a unique opportunity because the Olympics would take place in my home country. In 2010, the Canadian short track team took home two gold medals and one bronze at the Vancouver Olympics.

Stephen Gough

After the 2010 Olympics, I shifted my focus back to my law degree, taking the New York Bar exam and searching for a job opportunity. It was difficult to get any traction. Ultimately, unexpected circumstances led to my returning to coach the U.S. short track team at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

Stephen Gough - 2022 team photo

After the 2014 Olympics, I decided again to pause my career in coaching and moved back to New York City. While searching for a new role, a friend connected me with Harlan Kwiatek, a state and local tax (SALT) partner with RSM US LLP(RSM), who also had a passion for speedskating. After getting to know Harlan, he took a leap of faith in me and my nontraditional career trajectory. He recognized that although my experience was not like your average incoming associate, I had the academic background and potential to apply myself in a role at RSM. I soon joined the firm as an associate with the SALT department. I was very fortunate to work with great colleagues in the employment tax group and later the SALT mergers and acquisitions group.

I had settled at RSM after six-and-a-half years when the U.S. short track head coach position became available unexpectedly in April 2021. This vacant role made me stop and reflect on what I wanted to do next. I took a difficult, in another sense easy, decision to follow my heart and return to coaching. During my time away from coaching, I gained a wealth of experience in the professional world and can thank RSM for that.

When I look back at my time at RSM, I reflect on the good friends I’ve met and the camaraderie in the office, from everyday interactions and social events to discussing the weekend's fantasy football results (0.1 hurts, doesn't it, Dreher?). I like to think that my team at RSM worked like an Olympic team. Much of the work was collaborative but a continuation of our work independently. We were successful because we each brought a unique skill and outlook to the group.

I am proud of my growth and the growth RSM has accomplished over the years. I love to see RSM consistently recognized on the list of the best places to work because they are deserving. I believe I am better for having worked at RSM.

Want to hear more about Stephen's RSM alumni story? Connect with him on LinkedIn. Or, if you're inspired to find your next role at RSM, explore our openings today.

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