Organic growth of Clayton & McKervey’s leadership talent is key to firm’s reputation for promoting women

Clayton & McKervey, an international certified public accounting and business advisory firm located in metro Detroit, founded its Women’s Network little more than one year ago to reinforce and build upon its high percentage of women shareholders and principals. This approach may seem contrary to the approach of most firms, who create women’s leadership-focused groups because of a dearth of women in firm leadership roles.

Suzanne Tuson, CPA, a shareholder with the firm and one of the leaders of the Women’s Network, says Clayton & McKervey’s leadership focus is more about talent than gender. “While our leadership pool includes a high number of women shareholders and principals relative to the profession, this is the result of organic growth and an emphasis on talent, and not an attempt to achieve gender balance,” Tuson said. “That being said, we recognize the importance of continuing the momentum of the last several years in promoting women and have made a concerted effort to stay on track. The Women’s Network gives us a framework to do just that.”

Tuson said Clayton & McKervey, which is ranked among the 300 largest public accounting firms in the nation as noted by Inside Public Accounting, places as much attention on leadership development as the Big 4 and national and larger regional powerhouses.

“In public accounting and business advisory firms, where an emphasis is placed not only on client engagements but professional development and new business activities, the empowerment of individuals with technical skills, marketing savvy and emotional intelligence is critical to creating and sustaining a strong leadership bench, regardless of gender,” Tuson said. “We view the Women’s Network as an added tool in fostering leadership development as a whole.”

Tuson’s co-leader, manager Katie Faysal, CPA, explained the mission, goals and topics addressed by Clayton & McKervey’s Women’s Network. “Our mission is to empower the career advancement of women within the firm through structured programming and environment enhancement. This mission supports the firm’s vision of seeing talented women maximize their potential,” Faysal said.

Clayton & McKervey Women’s Network Goals:

1. Increase access to role models
2. Improve and increase marketing opportunities
3. Provide education and support for career advancement
4. Enhance the culture of the firm to ensure the successful retention and recruitment of

The Women’s Network meets several times per year, with each meeting organized around one of three themes: success stories, marketing development and career advancement. The meeting goals are to provide a forum for women in the firm to gain access to others across departments; to promote organic growth of mentor/mentee relationships across departments; and to provide relevant information to help women advance themselves. The meeting formats include both large and small group discussion. All meetings place an emphasis on best practices, shared experiences, networking inside and outside of the accounting profession, and setting stretch goals.

In an August 2017 “Women’s Network Year in Review” survey, more than 65% of respondents cited the chief benefit of the network as “increased open dialogue and enhanced culture of the firm to support the recruiting, retention and support of women.” Beth Butchart, a manager at the firm, lauded the Women’s Network for bringing women together at all levels, across departments.
“I appreciate the opportunity to have authentic conversations, learn from one another and start building organic relationships to support each other and recognize the benefits of bringing our true selves to work,” she said.

For Rob Dutkiewicz, CPA, President of Clayton & McKervey, the Women’s Network was one of the first major internal firm initiatives he championed upon taking on the presidency in March 2016 following the death of firm co-founder Kevin McKervey.

“Planning for the Women’s Network was underway when I assumed the role as president. I knew how important it was to the firm to formally continue our leadership in encouraging women to maximize their potential, whether as a shareholder or in another position of increasing responsibility and authority,” Dutkiewicz said. “This group keeps us focused on retaining talented women – and men – while maintaining a positive trajectory for the future leadership of the firm.”

Clayton & McKervey is a firm of 70 people. Four of the firm’s nine shareholders are women, as is the Principal & Director of Assurance, Principal of Quality, Vice President of Operations and Director of Marketing. Four of the firm’s 10 managers are women.

About Clayton & McKervey
Clayton & McKervey is a full-service CPA firm helping middle-market entrepreneurial companies compete in the global marketplace. The firm is headquartered in metro Detroit and services clients throughout the world. To learn more, visit

Think Like a Customer

By Eric Hultgren
Director of Marketing
MLive Media Group

This post is part of the Digital Marketing Boot Camp series, a new set of blog posts across different mediums designed to provide intel to people and companies looking to improve their digital marketing strategy.

Whenever you get into a conversation about the digital marketing landscape, you are going to hear people say “be authentic,” “don’t sell,” or “make a connection” and these are all correct – but how do you do all that?

One of the biggest questions I get from clients is on how to be authentic, which as a question seems silly, right? Just be yourself. However, in a larger marketing context connected to an entire campaign, that answer is pointed in the wrong direction. The key to social is not necessarily for you to be yourself (although that helps), the major key is that you act like your customer.

What does your customer want from the brand? What should their journey be through to conversion? What should the experience be after the sale? What do you want them to say to a friend? The answer to these questions stems from you understanding what your customer is like in the first place.

Say you are a lawn care business who wants to execute a campaign on Facebook because you understand that your audience is there waiting. The thing is, they aren’t waiting for you. Nobody is using Facebook for the ads, or the sponsored content, or the native advertising. They are on Facebook to connect with friends, laugh, blow off steam, or waste some time.

Knowing this you could put up a photo of a lawnmower with text that reads: “Book your lawn care appointments before spring and save 10%” and that might work.

The alternative is that you could put up a video of your team making a lawn look amazing and in that video the homeowner is on their deck drinking iced tea and reading a book, the text of that post would read: “what would you do with an extra 2 hours every Saturday this summer?” At the end of the video the book now button would appear and you would have made a connection with your customer.

MORE: Learn to put the human touch back into your marketing at the Digital Marketing Boot Camp, Feb. 15


The person who is booking lawn care services wants to save time. They either don’t have it to begin with or they just don’t like mowing the lawn. So, if we are thinking like our customer our ads need to address what they are feeling and why they would be interested in you in the first place. What would I do with 8 extra hours a month because of your service? No idea, but you have my attention.

Which, after all, is the goal: attention. Marketers are driving clients to social because people don’t watch TV ads like they used to, they don’t listen to radio like they used to, and they don’t pay attention to billboards like they used to. Marketing continues to change but the single constant is that you need to go where the customer is and start thinking like them. Your customer is very savvy and has zero time for terrible display ads in their Facebook feed.

You want to win in the social space? There are lots of tips and tactics that can help you get there but until you understand what your customer wants and how they want to get there, you are going to spend a lot of time trying out different versions of your brand’s authentic self before you hit a home run. However, if your competition is better at listening, better at creative, and better at connecting than you are, you don’t have time to guess on what might work.

Eric Hultgren will moderate a panel discussion at the Digital Marketing Boot Camp.

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More by Eric Hultgren

Welcome to the Age of Ephemeral Marketing

John Rakolta Jr. Headlines JVS’s 19th Annual Strictly Business Luncheon

Business leaders who reflect the strength and innovation of Detroit will highlight JVS’s 19th Annual Strictly Business Networking and Awards Luncheon, 11:30 a.m. Thursday, June 23 at the MGM Grand in Detroit.

Headlining the event is Walbridge Chairman and CEO John Rakolta Jr., who will serve as honorary chair and keynote speaker. Rakolta will welcome an anticipated crowd of nearly 800 business and community leaders and talk about rebuilding Detroit. Strictly Business is a fundraiser to support JVS in its efforts to put metro Detroiters back to work.

“This event exemplifies who we are and what we do,” said Joshua Eichenhorn, Strictly Business co-chair. “We will showcase the success stories of three people who JVS helped to overcome obstacles to employment. These individuals will each receive an Employee of the Year Award at the event.”

In addition, event goers will hear from two successful young business owners receiving awards from JVS. Paul Glomski, co-founder and CEO of Detroit Labs, will accept the 2016 JVS Business Leadership Award on behalf of his company, Detroit Labs, and Zack Sklar, majority owner and chef of Peas & Carrots Hospitality, will receive the 2016 JVS Rising Entrepreneur Award.

“While Sklar and Glomski’s relatively young companies reflect a burgeoning Detroit, Rakolta’s firm symbolizes its strong foundation,” said Eichenhorn. “They are helping to build momentum in Detroit’s comeback.”

Founded in Detroit in 1916, this year marks the centennial for Walbridge, one of America’s largest privately owned construction companies. The Detroit-based firm has built iconic projects such as Olympia Stadium, Orchestra Hall and the Ford Rouge development, and withstood economic highs and lows that have been devastating for the construction industry.

During Rakolta’s tenure, Walbridge has grown from a regional firm with annual sales of $40 million in the mid-1970s to a global entity registering sales of more than $1.5 billion in 2014. The company is ranked among the largest contractors in America and it tops domestic automotive manufacturing construction.

Rakolta has been a leader in both business and the community and is noted for taking on the region’s toughest challenges, including job creation, education, diversity and health care. Especially passionate about transforming the Detroit Public Schools, he currently co-chairs the Coalition for the Future of Detroit School Children. The group issued recommendations in 2015 and continues to advocate for stabilizing the troubled school district to ensure a quality education for all Detroit schoolchildren.

“Through his work with the Detroit Schools coalition and other groups such as the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and New Detroit, John has shown remarkable commitment to rebuilding Michigan and Detroit,” said Leah Rosenbaum, JVS president and CEO. “We’re thrilled he’ll share his insight with us at Strictly Business.”

Strictly Business is co-chaired by Joshua Eichenhorn and Jeffrey Tischler. Find details about sponsorships and registration at or contact Judy Strongman at or (248) 233-4213.

About JVS
JVS is an award-winning human services organization with four main locations in Metropolitan Detroit that helps people realize life’s potential through a variety of programs to maximize their self-sufficiency. The agency helps job seekers jumpstart their job search, provides meaningful services to people with disabilities and helps seniors remain active and engaged.

Brooks Kushman Hosts Women in IP Global Networking Event

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. – Brooks Kushman, Michigan’s largest intellectual property (IP) law firm, will host the American Intellectual Property Law Association’s (AIPLA) 2015 Cross-Country Women in IP Networking Event for the Detroit region. This is the fourth year that Brooks Kushman will host the event, which will take place May 21 from 6-9 p.m. at MEX Restaurant in Bloomfield Hills.

The Detroit reception is part of an international event spanning more than 60 cities to support and foster the growth of women in the IP law field. The event will feature a keynote address from Christal Sheppard, director of Michigan’s United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Brooks Kushman Shareholder Erin K. Bowles, Senior Attorney Hope V. Shovein and Associate Rachel A. Smith coordinated with the AIPLA’s Women in IP Law Committee to organize the Detroit event.

“We are proud to partner with the AIPLA again this year to help bring women in the IP law industry together,” said Smith. “This is a fun and relaxed gathering that offers a great opportunity for women to network and discuss their practice with other IP attorneys from around the world.”

The AIPLA Women in IP Law Committee works to facilitate the practice of IP law by women through educational events, networking and mentoring, including a nationwide networking dinner for women in IP law to help connect women in key geographic areas and empower and foster successful professional relationships.

About Brooks Kushman P.C.
Brooks Kushman P.C. is a leading intellectual property (IP) and technology law firm with offices in Michigan and California, and represents clients nationally and internationally with respect to protection, enforcement and monetization of IP, including patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets. The firm has more than 90 intellectual property professionals specializing in various technical disciplines, and has a reputation for providing leading IP counseling with a focus on the business objectives of their clients.

Brooks Kushman counts a number of Fortune 100 companies across a variety of industries among its clients. The firm is also recognized by leading legal publications and rankings, including Corporate Counsel magazine, U.S. News & World Report, Law360, Intellectual Asset Management, Managing Intellectual Property, and Intellectual Property Today. For more information, please visit

Dickinson Wright to Host Sunrise Seminar on Social Media in the Workplace

Join Dickinson Wright Attorneys William Thacker and Aimee Gibbs for “#ThinkBeforeYouTweet: The Legal Implications of Social Media in the Workplace” on Thursday, June 26, 2014 at Automation Alley in Troy, Mich.

Social media is firmly entrenched in modern culture and business, and has proven to be a compelling attraction to employers. While social media offers benefits, it also presents significant risks to employers and their employees. Laws surrounding social media in the workplace are quickly developing, and employers who ignore these developments do so at their peril.

This breakfast seminar will cover topics including: legal claims resulting from information obtained from social media, invasion of privacy claims, the National Labor Relations Board’s position regarding social media and protected concerted activity, and much more. Below are the event details:

#ThinkBeforeYouTweet: The Legal Implications of Social Media in the Workplace

Date: Thursday, June 26, 2014
Time: 9:00 – 11:30 am
Event: Automation Alley, 2675 Bellingham Drive, Troy, MI

To register for this event, please contact Mellissa Boyd at 313-223-3125 or


William M. Thacker is a member of Dickinson Wright. His practice includes employment law counseling, employment litigation and traditional labor matters. Mr. Thacker regularly represents clients in employment matters in state and federal courts as well as before administrative agencies such as the EEOC and MDCR. Additionally, Mr. Thacker represents clients in collective bargaining, contract administration, grievance arbitrations and in representation hearings and unfair labor practice matters at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and Michigan Employment Relations Commission (MERC).

Aimee R. Gibbs is a member of Dickinson Wright in the Commercial Litigation Group. Ms. Gibbs’ areas of practice include Employment Law and Education Law, and she represents a range of clients from private companies to public schools and public school academies.

About Dickinson Wright PLLC
Dickinson Wright PLLC is a full-service law firm with more than 40 practice areas. Founded in 1878, Dickinson Wright PLLC has over 350 lawyers in offices located in Detroit, Troy, Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor, Lansing, and Saginaw, Mich.; Columbus, Ohio; Las Vegas, Nev.; Nashville, Tenn.; Phoenix, Ariz.; and Washington, D.C. Dickinson Wright LLP has over 35 lawyers in Toronto, Canada.

Qstride Co-Hosts hosts IT Social 6:01 with Fab 5 Member Jimmy King

Detroit, Michigan (May 14, 2013) – Qstride, a leading force in the Business Intelligence and Analytics world, will co-host a premiere networking event titled IT Social 6:01 at Hockeytown Cafe, located downtown Detroit with famous Michigan Wolverine Fab 5 member Jimmy King. The event, expected to attract a number of business leaders, IT professionals, athletes, and entrepreneurs from downtown and the surrounding Detroit area, will benefit Wish Upon A Teen.

Qstride, known as Business Intelligence experts offering end to end BI solutions for measuring, tracking, and increasing company performance, with sales office located in the Chrysler House (formerly the Dime Building) downtown Detroit in the fast becoming center of business and technology Central Business District, has been experiencing growth with is national customer base.

The event will take place Wednesday May 22, 2013 at 6:01PM at Hockeytown Cafe, the number 2 ranked Sports Bar in the United States per ESPN, located at 2301 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, 48201.

“We are very excited about this month’s IT Social Spring Mixer event and are honored to have Jimmy King as our celebrity host,” said Shane Gianino, Vice President of National Business Development at Qstride. “Networking is a critical part of building meaningful relationships in business and in our personal lives. When you can tie proceeds to a charity, you help shape the future of our local community.”

Sponsored by Qstride, patrons will enjoy complimentary hors d’oeuvres and discounted drinks. There is no charge to attend the event, however, donations will be accepted and applied to Wish Upon A Teen.

Five dollar discounted parking is available in the Fox Parking Garage connected to Hockeytown Cafe, located at 51 West Montcalm Street, Fisher Freeway with a printed copy of the IT Social 6:01 flyer compliments of Olympia Entertainment.

Qstride is proud to be amongst downtown luminaries such as Ilitch Holdings, Quicken Loans, Detroit Venture Partners, Compuware, and General Motors helping to revitalize this great American city.

About Qstride
As a leading force for innovation in the Business Intelligence industry, Qstride offers exceptional end to end solutions for clients in measuring and tracking company performance, increasing delivery throughput, and decreasing delivery risk via its robust technology stack and professional services.

(313) 442-9912