Invest in your mentors: Build your board of trustees

Hemant Shah, RSM alumni

Culture RSM alumni

I grew up in Mumbai, India, and came to the United States to further my education. In 2004, I graduated from the University of Kansas with my undergraduate degree in business and accounting with an emphasis in finance. While completing an internship at a pharmaceutical company during my senior year, my direct supervisor advised me to consider the public accounting route because it would expose me to different industries and help launch my career. The individual introduced me to his peers at a big four accounting company, and I was with that firm for 10 years.

After a decade of working with the firm, I decided I wanted a change from a career perspective because that company had been my only employer since graduation. Coincidentally at the same time, an RSM US LLP (RSM) representative approached me about an opportunity to work with the alternative asset management industry in the metro Washington D.C. region. I met with two partners who served this industry, and I loved the stories they shared. They were an open book and invited me to meet with their managers and seniors to dive into RSM’s culture a little more. After speaking with the group, these conversations gave me a good sense of what RSM stood for, and I felt I owed myself to take this leap and join the RSM team.

During my time with RSM, I was heavily involved with its diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives and worked closely with Rich Caturano, the national leader of CDI. I admired Rich and his leadership, his vision for RSM's CDI endeavor, and how he wanted to execute at. I became the Southeast regional leader for the InspirAsian employee network group. This opportunity gave me access to other leaders like Sudhir Kondisetty, Hussain Hasan, Virginia Li, and Karen Jong, to name a few, who became some of my mentors because of CDI.

After five years with RSM, I met a fork in the road. I connected with some of my mentors for additional perspective and advice. Through these conversations, I made the difficult decision to leave RSM and accepted an opportunity to join a smaller but growing firm as the director of client relations. As a part of my new role, I am responsible for developing and maintaining client relationships, understanding and anticipating client needs, and addressing them before they become urgent. I also assist clients on technical matters and work collaboratively with internal team members, clients and auditors to resolve issues promptly and smoothly.

If there is a piece of advice I could give to the RSM alum community, it would be to invest in your mentors. Choosing the right mentor is crucial, be intentional about the relationship and ensure that you have more than one mentor. The board of mentors you build now will become your board of trustees in the future. Remember, it doesn't happen overnight—so make sure you continuously invest in people, dedicate your time and nurture your relationships. I'm a big believer that I am where I am today because of those who came before me and advised me along the way.

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