Lasting lesson: The value of relationships in a complex and matrixed organization

Vanessa Nagel, RSM alum

RSM alumni Culture

I grew up in a small wine region near Frankfurt, Germany and studied international business with a focus on marketing at the Duale Hochschule Baden-Württemberg (DHBW) Mannheim University. I met my now husband Paul, a Canadian, in 2010 through youth volunteer exchange work in Iceland over a two-week timeframe, where we fell in love.

In 2013, after several years of being in a long-distance relationship and following my graduation from university, I decided to move to Canada and pursue my marketing career aspirations!

My career with RSM Canada LLP (RSM) began in 2014 when I secured a role as a marketing coordinator at one of RSM’s predecessor firms. I held various marketing roles throughout my time at the firm and got the chance to play a critical role in our rebranding work when we became part of RSM in 2017.

During my time at the firm, I eventually became an industry marketing manager, supporting five groups—business and professional services (BPS), financial services, industrials, private equity and real estate. Primary responsibilities included building out each industry’s Canadian marketing strategy and delivering tailored campaigns for each audience. I supported the firm’s efforts to deepen relationships with prospects, strategic partners and customers and collaborated closely with U.S. colleagues to launch campaigns for the Canadian market.

During my time at RSM, there was a seven-month transition period where there was no marketing leader, and I stepped up to help drive forward our strategy and keep things progressing. The pandemic happened a little later, adding another layer of complexity. The experience was a rewarding part of my career because it taught me how to be authentic with my team and balance several different priorities during uncertainty.

I left RSM in April 2021 and joined Geotab, pivoting from the professional services industry to technology—specifically, connected car technology (telematics) for fleet management. As a marketing manager, I own the global marketing strategy for our solutions that help fleets make informed decisions about the transition to and operation of electric vehicles in their business. It’s been a thrilling period of growth and new experiences. 

My lasting lessons from my time at RSM are valuing and developing internal and external relationships, especially within matrix organizations. Those deep relationships we foster allow us to establish the foundations for successful collaboration—I still recall the 5 C's! Those relationships can help you as you advance through your career. I took part in RSM’s STAR Series, and I always remember some advice from that program: to surround yourself with mentors because they can act as “your board of directors.” That advice has proven invaluable to me as I move into a new industry—I continue to seek mentorship and coaching from former bosses and colleagues because their unbiased viewpoints and experiences help me see things from a different angle and avoid blindspots.

Want to hear more about Vanessa’s RSM story? Connect with her on LinkedIn. And if you’re inspired to find your next role at RSM, explore our openings today.

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