Distinguished Graduate reconnects with Brock roots

Rhonda Klosler (BBA ’93) has established a career around her ability to develop relationships and build community.

With the importance of strengthening connections always top of mind, it was fitting that she recently took time during a visit to her alma mater to meet with the next generation of Goodman School of Business student leaders. Klosler returned to campus Wednesday, April 5 to accept the business school’s 2022 Distinguished Graduate award.

“It’s not very often I pause to reflect on what I’ve accomplished,” she said. “I’ve built a career on getting things done.”

Goodman Dean Barry Wright called Klosler an inspiring leader who exemplifies the business school’s values of passion, perseverance and professionalism.

“It is our absolute honour and pleasure to recognize Rhonda as our Distinguished Graduate,” he said.

A group students sit in a classroom listening to a woman who is speaking to them.

Student leaders from the Goodman School of Business listen to Klosler share her insights on leadership.

As Chief Operating Officer (COO) at RSM Canada LLP, Klosler is passionate about maintaining a focus on both client and talent experience. During her visit, she shared stories of her own leadership journey with Goodman student leaders during a breakfast reception.

Hailing from a blue-collar family in the small town of Wiarton, Ont., Klosler and her brother were the first in their family to attend university. When considering her options, Brock felt like a natural fit due to its smaller size and the opportunities she would have to make connections. She chose to do an accounting co-op so she could gain technical expertise and real-world practice while she went to school.

“Co-op changed my life,” Klosler said. “The benefits of that work experience while going to school cannot be overstated.”

Klosler’s first co-op job during her studies at Brock was with Collins Barrow Toronto, where she started as an 18-year-old intern in audit practice.

She’s stayed with the firm ever since and eventually became a partner and member of the leadership team. When Collins Barrow merged with RSM Canada in 2017, Klosler became COO of RSM Canada, where she works with the leadership team on executing the firm’s national strategy.

In 2021, she was named as a Fellow by CPA Ontario — the highest distinction bestowed upon a CPA in the accounting profession in Canada — for her contributions to both the profession and her community.

“Relationships have always been important to me, and I refer to myself as a community builder, both in my professional life and personal life,” she said. “Becoming a CPA allowed me to develop those relationships and build these communities with my colleagues and my clients. Brock provided that platform for me right out of high school.”

Klosler also serves on the RSM US Foundation Board of Directors and has been an active volunteer with Junior Achievement Central Ontario, an organization that helps young people develop the skill set and mindset to build thriving communities.

She said she’s evolved in the 30 years since graduating from Brock yet her time on campus was life changing.

“My studies at Brock have influenced all aspects of my journey,” she said. “Whether it was the personal relationships I developed or the professional opportunities that have been afforded to me, all roads lead back to Brock and my experiences there.”

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