California State University, San Bernardino alumna Jean M. Stephens ’91, global chief executive officer of the global firm RSM International Limited, has been named a recipient of an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Cal State San Bernardino.

“Jean Stephens, who graduated from CSUSB with her MBA in finance, is the first woman to lead a top 10 global accounting network,” said CSUSB President Tomás D. Morales. “We are so proud of her continual success and are honored to award her with an honorary degree. Her outstanding efforts and leadership as a CEO reflect her hard work, dedication and determination as a Cal State San Bernardino student.”

The honorary doctorate will be bestowed upon Stephens at 8 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 11, during the fall 2021 commencement ceremony for the Jack H. Brown College of Business & Public Administration and the College of Arts & Letters at Coussoulis Arena.

Based in London, Stephens leads RSM International, one of the top 10 global networks of independent professional service firms that specialize in audit, tax and consulting services, with more than 800 offices and members in more than 120 countries. As the first woman to lead a top 10 international accountancy network, since her appointment in 2006, RSM has realized increasing revenues, from $2.5 billion to $6.3 billion in 2020. This was achieved through an ambitious network development strategy, in addition to the organic growth of its member firms. In 2020, RSM experienced one of its highest growth in revenues, with a rise of 9.2%. 

An advocate for continuing education, Stephens is committed to contributing to the growth of career pathways for every RSM team member, globally. A year after she became CEO, she established the RSM Academy, a highly rated international leadership program that develops the skills of RSM’s future leaders.

Her previous positions include chief operating officer at RSM (1996-2005), senior manager and partner at RSM McGladrey & Pullen (1994-1996), and auditor with Fleming Reiss & Company in San Bernardino (1990-1994).

Stephens has served on CSUSB’s Philanthropic Foundation board and was the keynote guest speaker at the All-CSU reception in London in 2018. Her other community leadership positions have included the San Bernardino Chamber of Commerce, Rotary International, United Way, YWCA and the Inland Empire Symphony. 

Stephens has appeared on television and radio (including CNBC and BBC’s Radio 4) and in magazines (including European CEO in February 2011), along with being featured in the CSU “Working for California” booklet (2012). She received the Athena Award for Outstanding Business Woman (San Bernardino Area Chamber of Commerce), the California State University Alumni Award of Distinction (2005) as well as an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters (2009) from the University of Redlands.

Stephens has a BS in finance from the University of Redlands and her MBA, finance concentration, from Cal State San Bernardino’s Jack H. Brown College of Business and Public Administration. She qualified as a Certified Public Accountant in 1984. Stephens is also a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the California Society of CPAs.