Inspiring change for the women of RSM International

On March 8th 2014, millions of men and women around the world will take part in a range of events, campaigns and dialogues to celebrate the 103rd Global International Women’s Day. This year’s theme – inspiring change – reminds us that to create change and bring about greater equality, both in the work place and throughout our whole lives, requires us to, at the outset, inspire change.

President Barack Obama famously said that “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time” but that “we are the change that we seek.”

When I became CEO of RSM International in 2006, the media coverage suggested that I had ‘broken through another glass ceiling’ by becoming the first female CEO of a top 10 global accounting network. Indeed, through my experiences as CEO I hope I have been an example to all the women within RSM International that to reach such a role was both possible and attainable.

However, we are now nine years on and I have realised that real change cannot come from another person nor be enforced top-down. Instead it must be something that every individual seeks for themselves, man or woman. As such, here at RSM (and within the profession in general), we are working to inspire change by encouraging women to rise up and not wait for it to take place (be it in the form of quotas or promotions) but to actively work to seize their goals and the roles to which they aspire. To the men and women inspiring change around the world, you inspire us as an organisation and that is what truly breaks a glass ceiling. Happy International Women’s Day.


Jean M Stephens
Chief Executive Officer