David Friedman, our founder and CEO, is also the former president of RSI, an award-winning employee benefits brokerage and consulting firm in the Philadelphia area. Under his guidance, RSI grew to become one of the largest and most successful independently-owned agencies in the country.
In addition to winning awards for leadership and for customer service, RSI was named one of the Best Places to Work in the region seven times, and was four times named one of the Fastest Growing companies. In 2006, RSI was the only company of any size in any industry to win New Jersey’s highest award for quality – the Governor’s Award for Performance Excellence – Gold Level.
A graduate of the College of William & Mary with a B.A. in philosophy, David began his insurance career in 1983, starting RSI with his father in the basement of their New Jersey home. He went on to earn five advanced professional designations in insurance, employee benefits and financial planning, before shifting his primary focus to leadership and organizational development. With his leadership, RSI was a pioneer in Open Book Management, Lean process implementation, The Collaborative Way and the Malcolm Baldrige Quality Program. Yet through it all, it was RSI’s unique corporate culture that was the foundation for its success.
A cornerstone of that culture was a collection of 30 behaviors that David wrote and taught, known as the RSI Fundamentals. These Fundamentals were formalized through a series of weekly practices and became one of the hallmarks of his career. In response to requests from clients and vendors, David began to lead seminars and work with leadership teams in the areas of culture and performance. He quickly became a sought-after speaker and advisor to corporate leadership teamsIn 2008, RSI was sold to a large, publicly-held insurance broker and in 2010 David left the firm to more actively pursue his passion for speaking and writing. In 2011, he published his first book, Fundamentally Different, which is based on the insights he learned and taught throughout his leadership career.
Since that time, David has led more than 500 workshops, taught more than 6,000 CEOs, and worked personally with scores of organizations around the country. In 2018, he published his second book, Culture by Design, which has quickly become the “go to” manual for companies looking to truly operationalize their culture.
In 2015, David joined forces with former marketing executive, Sean Sweeney, to create High Performing Culture, LLC. In just a few short years, they’ve created an entire suite of tools and products, including a powerful mobile app, around the methodology that David first created at RSI. They’ve also built and trained an inside team of senior consultants and certified a cadre of independent consultants, bringing this transformative material to hundreds of companies across the entire spectrum of industries.
With the release of the CultureWise platform in 2020, David has for the first time packaged his concepts, content, and tools in a way that’s accessible and affordable for companies of any size and in any industry.