RSM’s Day of Understanding shows the true power of being understood

Jul 07, 2020
Diversity, equity, inclusion ESG

June 30 marked the first ever RSM Day of Understanding for our firm. Spurred by recent external events in the U.S., we paused that day to affirm our support of diversity, inclusion and our belief that there is no place for hatred, violence or discrimination in our firm or in our society.

Leading up to our Day of Understanding, we encouraged our 11,000+ people in Canada and the U.S. to set aside some time that day to discuss race and inclusion and to build skills to advance their understanding in those areas.

Wow, did our people deliver! Throughout the day, scores of employees, partners and principals in the U.S. and in Canada engaged in local conversations, and shared brief self-recorded videos, quotes and heartfelt thoughts about their feelings around the importance of inclusion. They also made donations (which the RSM US Foundation has promised to match up to a total of $200K) through our Dollars for Doers program to organizations in their communities focused on promoting racial understanding. And they took advantage of our Culture, Diversity and Inclusion learning library to expand their knowledge about systemic racism, unconscious bias, managing bias and other relevant topics.

The day was such an enlightening experience with so many of our people participating that we’re unable to share all of their thoughts here. With their permission, however, we’re sharing just a few examples, as we think you’ll appreciate the insights and candor. Read messages from Allison, Shereen and Suzanna below.

Our brand promise is the power of being understood, and that promise holds true for our clients, our colleagues and our communities. Perhaps Tracey Walker, national director of government affairs; culture, diversity and inclusion, said it best: “The Power of Being Understood isn’t just a slogan; it’s something we have to live to make this world a better place and to drive a more inclusive culture.”

Resources for racial understanding and inclusion

We’re 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.

Thoughts from a few of our people


I was a single mom of a three-year-old when I met my husband 19 years ago. He accepted my daughter with an open heart and has been the most wonderful father, not only to her, but also to our two younger children. My daughter’s name is Schafer. I chose her name because it is neither white or Black, male or female. We did not consider this when naming our other children.  

She is the best part of me. People tell me all the time how beautiful she is and of course, as her mother, I agree. 

She is intelligent and driven. She wrote her college admissions essay about her experience being Black in a white family. The essay (along with her amazing academic record and ACT test score) earned her a full tuition academic scholarship to Vanderbilt University.  

She is a person of color. Everyone sees her as Black but she has lived her life in a mostly white world. 

Black Lives Matter. My daughter’s life matters.

Thank you RSM for providing a safe environment for everyone’s voice to be heard. Together we can effect change.


I am so proud to be a part of a firm that is leading the way in bringing courageous conversations into action by recognizing our first RSM Day of Understanding.  As we seek to understand, I am hopeful we continue to have vulnerable conversations to build connectivity, collaboration and empower our professionals to listen and understand beyond today.  When I was approached about stepping into the national Multicultural leader role, I thought of my husband and two kids who are African American. I want them to see "mommy" is doing her part to take action, listen, learn and continue to grow on this journey. 


I will be raising a Black son, therefore I continue to learn from my husband's experiences on a daily basis. I seek to understand my own white privilege. I am active in racial-justice organizations and I know representation matters. I hope that this day of understanding is just the start for many and the conversations, interest and support continues. #blacklivesmatter  

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A culture of diversity, equity and inclusion

Thousands of personalities make up RSM. Every member of our team brings unique insights and a passion for serving our middle market clients. Our inclusive workplace celebrates differences while enabling our people to take ownership of their work and personal lives.