Joe Mazza '89 on Relationships that Keep Companies Moving Forward

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Before Joe Mazza ’89 first set foot in a Mercy College classroom, he, like many incoming college students was looking for an assured career path. “I had no clue what I wanted to be. I thought I wanted to be a lawyer,” said Mazza. As the child of Italian immigrants, he was proud and excited to start the higher education experience, as the first among his three siblings to go to college.

Upon enrollment, a family friend suggested he major in accounting citing the logic that if after graduation he headed to law school, it would pave the way for him as a tax attorney. This friend also surmised that if on the other hand, he decided not to pursue the legal profession accounting was a viable option.

“As it turned out, that led me to what turned out to be an honorable profession,” said Mazza. Now, as the Southwest market managing partner and managing partner of RSM, the leading U.S. provider of audit, tax and consulting services focusing on the middle market, Mazza could not envision doing anything else. “There’s something about helping CEOs and CFOs find their direction. It’s not just about the financials,” said Mazza.

Most of the clients he represents are from product-based companies and Mazza takes joy in the fact that he can point out something on a grocery store shelf or a catalogue that he had an integral part in seeing to fruition. “I just love going to the factories – to see it all is just so exciting,” said Mazza. He can connect this love for the product development side of his work to childhood when he would accompany his father on buying trips. “My father was a custom tailor and as a kid I would go with him to factories, textile plants, so for me I grew up in that industry,” said Mazza. Today, that sense of wonder about invention and creation within manufacturing is still ever present in his daily work.

Projects Mazza has tackled might sound intimidating to some, having led audits of companies with more than $1 billion in revenue, but he is undaunted. With more than 30 years of public and private accounting experience, he relies on a steady knowledge coupled with a genuine vested interest in seeing his clients’ companies thrive. He remains devoted to incorporating the same values and principles he learned from his father’s business even with the largest companies. He adds that another lesson from his father also carries through to this day: to have passion for your chosen vocation. “If you are passionate about what you do, success follows.”