Blog Archive

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Pursue Your Passion: Patagonia

Peter Berns
Audit Manager
St. Louis, Missouri
Three employees were chosen to embrace “The Power of Being Understood” through the “McGladrey – Pursue Your Passion” program across the central region. Peter Berns, audit manager, St. Louis, was one of the three selected and pursued his passion in Patagonia, Argentina.  Peter has always had a passion for the great outdoors. From an early age, he has been involved in outdoor activities, experiencing camping with his family beginning when he was in the first grade.

Peter enjoyed his family camping trips and also learned to fish and shoot archery. Soon thereafter, Peter joined the Boy Scouts of America. His experiences with his Boy Scout troop only fueled his love of the outdoors. At the young age of 14, Peter achieved Eagle Scout status. To earn the Eagle Scout rank, the highest advancement rank in Scouting, a Boy Scout must fulfill requirements in the areas of leadership, service, and outdoor ability.

During his high school years, Peter attended adventure camp in the Florida Keys. Peter’s adventurous spirit is rivaled by his respect for the environment. He traveled to a remote island in Canada and built a composting toilet as part of a service project. He took great pride in combining his love of adventure with the ability to improve the environment.

Soon, Peter began mountain climbing. He finds the experience of sustaining himself solely with items he can carry on his back to be very rewarding. In 2003, he and a friend set a goal to climb the 58 tallest peaks in Colorado. To date, Peter has summited 49, with 9 remaining. Some have been quite difficult, such as the Knife’s Edge portion of Capitol Peak. Knife Edge is a short, exposed section on the ridge that requires concentration and solid nerves. Conquering this portion of the Capitol Peak hike is one of Peter’s rewarding accomplishments.

Through his experiences, Peter has learned to be independent and resourceful…characteristics that have carried over into his career. As a client server, these attributes help him deliver excellent service and enhance his ability to manage junior staff.

While Peter has found his Colorado hiking experiences rewarding, he asked himself, “what’s next?” His answer---exploring the beautiful landscape of Patagonia. Peter and his cousin, who recently completed a Peace Corps assignment in Paraguay, hiked the mountains of Patagonia for 10 days and kayak for three to four days. Stay tuned for a recap of his adventures!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Training Time - Chicago

Alex Bullington
Assurance Associate
Baltimore, Maryland
During the week of January 5-9, I attended McGladrey’s SYACAM (Starting Your Assurance Career At McGladrey) Level 1 training in Chicago with over 650 other assurance associates and interns. The expectation was to attend classes, learn as much as I could, and meet some new people. While I did accomplish these things, I also felt more established with the McGladrey family. Having only worked with professionals out of the Baltimore office, I hadn’t the opportunity to really understand the culture of the entire firm. Based on previous experiences with the Baltimore team, I knew that everyone was very helpful and dedicated to working as a team. The McGladrey brand is completely different from that of other accounting firms that I have experienced.

McGladrey prides itself on its culture, and the people I met in Chicago did not disappoint. From San Diego to Iowa City, Dallas to Minneapolis, everyone encompassed this brand. Personable, team-oriented, and hardworking, not only were the people I met a joy to be around, but I was also able to learn from their experiences with the firm, something that just attending a class perhaps couldn’t teach. 

Everything took place at the Q Center, a massive training complex with rooms, dining areas, and social settings. Each day involved getting together with your group, roughly 30 people, and working through the training manual in a classroom setting. With two experienced instructors, we never missed a beat. Albeit at times the information was overwhelming, the idea was to learn as much you could, process the key takeaways, and build relationships with your peers. Through group activities each day and social activities at night, the opportunities to network were enormous and we all took advantage of this aspect. The Q Center provided fantastic meals, lodging, and other accommodations, making the entire experience in Chicago well worthwhile. On the last night, we took the advantage of our downtime to head into Chicago, grab dinner, and experience the downtown area. This made for a great way to end what became a very beneficial experience and I’m looking forward to my time there at future training events.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Pursue Your Passion: Smile Network International

Josh Rimpila, CPA
Supervisor, Assurance Services
Minneapolis, Minnesota
It was announced in October that three employees from McGladrey’s central region were to be awarded the opportunity to pursue their passion in 2015, with assistance from the firm. These employees were chosen to embrace “The Power of Being Understood” through the “McGladrey – Pursue Your Passion” program, and have been given the opportunity to support missions close to their hearts, while traveling around the world to do so. Josh Rimpila, audit supervisor in Minneapolis, was one of the three individuals selected and will be pursuing his passion in July 2015 with an 11-day Inca Trail trek to benefit Smile Network International.

“Doctors don’t know exactly why a baby develops a cleft lip or cleft palate. In developing countries, most parents can’t afford the cost to have their child’s cleft fixed.  But there is hope.  Hope for every child born with a cleft lip or palate. Hope arrives with every mission to a region by Smile Network International.” ~Smile Network International

As soon as the Pursue Your Passion Program was announced, Josh knew immediately that he wanted to apply, and more specifically, what he wanted to do. Born with a cleft lip and palate, Josh has a personal connection with the mission of Smile Network International. A Minneapolis-based charity, Smile Network International is a humanitarian organization that provides life-altering reconstructive surgeries and related healthcare services to impoverished children and adults in developing nations.

Being born in the United States, Josh’s family had access to the highest level of surgical care through the doctors at a local children’s hospital. As you can see in the picture below, the care he received led to amazing results. However, there are thousands of children around the world who are not as lucky. 

Growing up, Josh continuously looked for opportunities to help others dealing with cleft lips and palates, including donating Cleftline Bears to children in the hospital, donating to and attending events for cleft lip and palate support charities, and providing mentorship to other young individuals with this birth defect.

Josh had a desire to volunteer on an international scale with families that would otherwise not have the means or access to surgical care. One of the many ways to contribute to the mission of Smile Network International is by volunteering for a surgical mission team. Thanks to the Pursue Your Passion program, Josh now has the opportunity to volunteer internationally and impact the lives of children in developing countries.

To Josh, his mission will weave together several of McGladrey’s core values: respect, integrity, teamwork, excellence and stewardship, but none more so than teamwork. Individually, impoverished families cannot provide the necessary medical care for their children. The leadership of Smile Network International utilizes teamwork—fundraising efforts to support mission trips, organizing non-medical individuals and licensed medical professionals to donate time and skills, and much more to provide life-changing opportunities to children all over the world.

As part of the project, Josh will participate in the step-by-step process the day of the surgical screenings, assisting families from start to finish. On surgery days, he will be meeting with and helping the children and families prepare for the procedures, as well as assisting the children in the recovery room post-surgery. He will also have the opportunity to hike the Inca Trail. Additionally, as part of his trip, he will be establishing a $2,500 fundraising goal, which he plans to exceed. The funds will be used for future surgical missions. Over 82% of the organization’s expenditures are actually used for program services.

For Josh, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that will have a lasting impact on the lives of incredibly special, strong and deserving families. By viewing David’s story, you will get a glimpse into the incredible gift that Smile Network International provides infants and their families in developing nations.

After Josh returns from his trip, we’ll provide a recap of his adventure!