Rhonda Klosler (BBA ’93) knows first-hand the impact a co-op experience can have on someone’s life.
Her first co-op work term, which came just eight months after she began her studies at Brock in 1989, was a key stepping stone to launching a lucrative career decades later.
Now, as Chief Operating Officer and Toronto Office Managing Partner of accounting firm RSM Canada, Klosler is driven to give back to her alma mater by creating experiential opportunities for the next generation of learners.
Throughout the course of her career, she has been a strong champion of co-op education, playing an instrumental role in the hiring of more than 30 Brock Accounting Co-op students.
Klosler was recognized for her efforts on Tuesday, April 9 at the inaugural Community Partner Recognition and Appreciation Event hosted by Brock Co-op, Career, and Experiential Education (CCEE).
She was presented with the Brock University Alumni Association’s (BUAA) Alumni Co-op Employer Award for her longstanding commitment to co-op. The annual award recognizes one extraordinary Brock graduate who has contributed to the success of Brock Co-op by championing the program within their organization, serving as a mentor to students and going above and beyond to help promote the University’s Co-op program.
“Throughout the years, I have worked with Rhonda in various aspects to promote Brock,” said alumnus and RSM Canada Toronto Office Partner Stephen McCourt (BAcc ’99, MAcc ’01).
“She instilled a sense of confidence in my actions and taught me how to appreciate those that helped shape me. To this day, I see Rhonda’s commitment to the development of people and staff and the commitment to co-op education.”
After consecutive work terms as a co-op student, Klosler was hired full-time at RSM Canada’s predecessor firm as a senior supervisor before becoming a partner eight years later.
Today, Klosler oversees the firm’s finance, human resources, and marketing and growth initiatives as RSM Canada’s COO, and is responsible for the execution of the Canadian business strategy in conjunction with the firm’s leadership team. She also oversees growth and market development, local talent experience and profitability for the Toronto office.
“Without Brock and the Co-op program, I don’t know where I would be today,” she said. “My experience with the program influenced my career and impacted my life in every way. To be acknowledged with this award is a lovely honour.”
Knowing the high calibre of Brock’s program and the difference it makes has only further motivated Klosler to help students have an experience similar to her own.
“We could not have achieved such success without Rhonda championing for us within the firm,” said Julia Zhu, Associate Director Co-op Education. “She is passionate about helping students and graduates succeed and continuously goes above and beyond to offer insight and assistance.”
Klosler said it’s a combination of quality education, practical real-time experience and consecutive work terms that help Brock students to stand out.
Meaningful hands-on learning allows students to take technical knowledge and apply it to practical experiences in the workplace, providing unique opportunities to gain a competitive edge in today’s labour market.
“When we hire individuals for consecutive work terms, we are creating a continuity of knowledge within the firm,” said Klosler. “Clients want to see their students return. They appreciate that they’re learning about their business from the beginning and that they have the chance to build a relationship with them. It’s a win-win for everyone.”
Though her connection to Brock is deep-rooted, Klosler said hiring Brock students and graduates is not an act of altruism.
“We hire co-op students from Brock because it’s a great complement to our business,” she said. “We have found that our values are strongly aligned, so they blend well into our business culture. The important relationships we’ve built with the staff and faculty at Goodman impact our decision to work with Brock, too.”