Grant Thornton LLP, a leading audit, tax and advisory firm, has promoted experienced people and culture leader Rashada Whitehead to a newly-created role: national managing director of Culture, Immersion & Inclusion.
Whitehead, who has been with the firm since 2019, will join its National Leadership Team (NLT) and be responsible for the firm’s NLT Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I) task force. She will also continue in her role as Grant Thornton’s head of Colleague Experience, People & Community.
“In recent years, Grant Thornton has made great progress toward building a distinctive, people-focused culture,” said Brad Preber, CEO of Grant Thornton. “Rashada has played an integral leadership role in that work. We know there is even more we can do to further strengthen our culture and our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, and her leadership, experience and compassion will help us advance this seminal work.”
Whitehead has more than 15 years of experience as a senior leader. A former PRWeek “40 Under 40” honoree, she began her career in public relations before becoming a culture transformation executive.
She has managed global communications for Fortune 500 companies and served as CEO of two companies: a national public relations firm and a reputation management and culture transformation firm. Since 2014, she has been an adjunct professor of public relations at Roosevelt University in her native Chicago. In 2016, she received the university’s “Most Valuable Professor (MVP)” award for part-time instructors.
Since joining Grant Thornton, Whitehead has held several roles in the firm’s People & Community group. As head of Colleague Experience, she is responsible for Grant Thornton’s ‘culture journey’; candidate care and onboarding; DE&I initiatives; mobility and immigration; and alumni relations. In 2020, Whitehead spearheaded the creation of Grant Thornton’s inaugural DE&I report.
Mike Monahan, Grant Thornton’s national managing principal of People & Community, says Whitehead’s proven track record as a champion for equity will continue to benefit the firm, its people and its clients in this new role.
“Rashada puts people at the center of everything she does,” said Monahan. “She knows exactly how to amplify her colleagues’ voices in the most powerful, impactful ways possible, and she has helped each of us become greater stewards of our firm’s inclusive future.”
Whitehead’s appointment complements a slate of recent commitments Grant Thornton launched to bolster its DE&I efforts, including a half-dozen new programs and meaningful financial donations to two leading social-justice organizations.
Whitehead holds a bachelor’s degree in English writing from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a master’s degree in integrated marketing communications from Roosevelt University. She has served as a consultant through the University of Chicago Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies, and she provides culture insights and coaching to a wide variety of organizations.