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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Meet RSM 90-90-9 Winner: Nicole Knudtson

Nicole Knudtson | ICS Director | Minneapolis, MN

One evening, over 11 years ago, I asked my 2 year old daughter a question.

I had been working at RSM for two years and my projects were picking up steam and my work demands increasing. It was professionally fantastic as I was finally finding my career path. Personally, the timing was tough on a young married 20-something with a small child. Every day with a 2 year old holds something new and my husband was there to experience it all. I knew my career was very important to our family, but I also wanted to stay as connected as I could to my family.

On that regular evening years ago, I was tucking Cassidy into bed after the normal LONG bedtime routine. I looked her in the eye and asked her what her favorite part of her day was.

That night changed our family.

Cassidy’s eyes lit up. And she shared.

To this day, I can’t remember the specifics of that first “favorite part,” but I remember the feeling like it was yesterday. I was fully engaged and focused into finding out what was the best part of her day. It was the first time I stopped and practiced my empathetic listening skills from my college communication courses. And my daughter felt heard, understood, and important.

Every night since then, we close out our evening by sharing what our favorite part of our day was. This now includes our second daughter, Samantha, and anyone we happen to be with at bedtime. Every evening we learn a little more from our girls on what is important to them, even at nine and thirteen years old. And our girls learn about Mom and Dad’s day too. Was Dad’s favorite part the success of having everyone try a new dinner, the good run he had that morning, or when he heard Cassidy was student of the month? Was Mom’s favorite part the fun she had playing volleyball, the success of a work project, or getting to go to Samantha’s choir concert?

Seven years ago I saw the power of this new routine and was inspired to write a children’s book called “Favorite Part of My Day.” I had the intention to get it printed and share our family’s tradition with others. Time and money have always been a hurdle. This opportunity would provide me the means to navigate both obstacles.

My proposal is to make my publishing dream a reality. The alignment of my project to our values and our brand promise is amazing. It is about connecting and truly understanding each other. I’m looking to showcase the stewardship value and attempt to leave a lasting impact to individuals within our organization and beyond. In addition to the actual publishing process, I plan to use three of my PTO days out in our RSM offices speaking to the Family First Employee Network groups and have also included the cost of some books to be distributed at these events. I would also look to have each of my daughters accompany me on an office visit.

I propose that 25% of any further royalties beyond the initial book purchase go to the RSM Foundation to allow me to continue my stewardship to the firm. With my current estimations of the book cost at $6 and the retail at $10, each book sale would produce $1 to go to the RSM Foundation general fund. This will allow for me to not only impact individuals within RSM US, but also to the RSM Foundation we’ve established for years to come. I believe that the intent of my passion is in direct alignment with the purpose and focus of the RSM Foundation to advance the education and well-being of children.

If my family routine can help other young families stay connected, I will feel that I am upholding our stewardship value and the delivery of our brand promise to our most important personal clients…our loved ones.

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