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Business and Ethics / People of SU
October 5, 2020
Bryce Rassilyer, ’07, ’08, who earned three degrees from Seattle University, is among those selected for the Puget Sound Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” list.
Rassilyer, 34, a CPA whose work supports nonprofits, is a principal at CliftonLarsonAllen, LLP. He has a master’s in professional accounting and bachelor’s degrees in business administration and humanities.
In addition to his work, Rassilyer volunteers on the boards of Children’s Therapy Center (director, immediate past president), Washington Autism Alliance & Advocacy (director), The Madrone School (director) and Kennedy Catholic High School (finance committee member).
The business journal published an interview with Rassilyer about his work. Here are excerpts from that conversation:
After an eight-week internship with nonprofit Rise N’ Shine, which supports children impacted HIV/AIDS, Bryce Rassilyer knew he wanted to do work to support those in the nonprofit space.
Being a certified public accountant allows him to help several nonprofits at once.
“My goal is to help my clients navigate those challenges and the increasingly complex regulatory environment so they can focus on what they do best: realizing their mission and building a better community,” Rassilyer said.
While never short on passion, nonprofits do face challenges, “the same challenges that for-profit businesses face—revenue growth, retention of talent, competition for resources, pressures on margins and the rapid changes in business. A couple of common misconceptions about nonprofits include that they aren’t supposed to ‘make’ money and that it’s OK if their people make less than their peers at for-profit companies to maximize the amount of money going to serve the mission. This perception challenge is something the industry is working to change. My goal is to help my clients navigate those challenges.”
You’re also involved with groups that help children with disabilities. What drives your interest here? “My interest in organizations, movements and legislation that supports those with disabilities is a deeply personal one. I have close connections to people who live with developmental disorders and both of my sons are affected by autism. While our state and country has made significant improvements to better the lives of individuals with visible and non-visible differences, more can and should be done to support them. They are valuable members of society and through early intervention, therapy, societal and employment support they can realize their fullest potential.”
What can businesses do to promote disability rights and inclusion? “Look at the talent—not the label. Every person is different; this is why diverse companies are so successful. Look at the strengths an individual can bring to your business. I know many companies that employ individuals on the autism spectrum. Their skills range from office operations support to manufacturing production planning to complex software programming and implementation. Let’s stop focusing on what someone can’t do and look at what they can do.”
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