Rachel was nominated to be featured by one of her business partners. She was on my list, but her partner’s nomination bumped the timeline. As I was reading through his impassioned application, I was nodding in agreement and thinking: “Of course!” I was thrilled to receive a nomination from a professional man lifting up a professional woman who inspires him. More of that, would be amazing.
If you ever get the privilege to meet Rachel, one of the first things you’ll discover is her contagious laugh. As soon as I heard her laugh, I immediately started laughing. It reminds me of a girlfriend from my hometown who had what I always called a “trigger laugh.” She could be across the classroom, bust out laughing and instantly I would start laughing, having no idea what she was even laughing about. There was just something about her laughter that made me want to join in the fun and ask what we’re laughing about later. I had the same reaction to Rachel’s laugh.
She not only laughs a lot, she likes to make other people laugh. Her childhood dream was to be a cast member on Saturday Night Live. She earned her performing chops as the opening act for her dad’s gospel band. Always the performer, she thought she was destined for comedy television. Unfortunately, her parents crushed that dream. They didn’t think being on SNL was practical. They would always tell her to go to college, get a real job and make money. They also thought the big city of NYC would eat her up and spit her out. They thought she was too innocent and naive to make it in the big city. They were probably right, but they underestimated the warrior and survivor they raised.
Instead of comedy, she found the next best thing, advertising, which can be pretty comical. As a young person, she was consumed with ads and found herself constantly critiquing them. So, when she attended Moorhead State University, she majored in it.
Her first job out of college was at Blackdot Agency, working on the Herberger’s account. Herberger’s corporate headquarters is located in St. Cloud, Minnesota which at the time was a minor detail she didn’t pay much attention to. It wasn’t until she met her current husband that she started to connect the dots of their paths and how they almost crossed so many times.
She continued working up the professional ladder in advertising, making her way to executive leadership. In the mid-2000’s she started to look around and no longer recognized the appeal of that artificial world. “What am I doing?” she asked herself. Realizing that she was out of alignment with who she thought she was and who she was serving, she went on a journey of discovery. She was looking for something different and something that felt more in line with her values.
She moved around to different agencies, tried corporate and nothing really felt completely right, until she discovered technology. Finally, an industry that excited her again because of the ability to solve real problems that affected how people do their work.
Rachel worked in consulting for several years, still feeling that pull of something else. That “something else” was entrepreneurship. It makes sense that she has an entrepreneurial tendency because it ran in her family. In addition to full time jobs, her parents flipped houses by working evenings and weekends. They were doing this in the ‘80’s before this model for additional income became popular. Her grandfather, who was a preacher, started over 400 churches! So, you can see how Rachel could easily evaluate the risk of starting her own business.
Last year she took the leap and founded Covalent North, a business and technology consulting firm, with her two business partners “They complete me!”
What is your most treasured memory?
November 2, 2017 is the day my husband adopted my kids, Charli and Cooper. It was the end of a period of heightened alert for me. It was the first time I was in front of a judge without the fear of the unknown. Prior to this day, my ex-husband continued to bring me to court in retaliation of my decision to leave him because of domestic violence. On November 2, 2017, I witnessed my current husband step up and expose his heart. It’s one of the gifts he’s given me that I will always anchor to.
Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it?
Besides being on SNL? It’s never going to die! I want to be on a stage motivating people to be their best selves. I haven’t done it yet because I needed to live through some of these experiences and get to a place where I can feel authentic on stage. I believe I’m closer to that place and am able to harness my stories for good. Being on stage isn’t the goal, it’s the part after when I get to connect with an audience one-on-one. Seeing hope in someones eyes is the most satisfying feeling you can be part of.
What do you value most in a friendship?
If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?
Sharing the gift of seeing people for who they are, not what they are. I already know how to do this, I’m deeply intuitive. I wish I could show more people how. My son Cooper for example, he’s autistic, and he’s so awesome! I wish people could see beyond the autism label because it would open a lot of eyes.
Name three things you and your partner appear to have in common.
We both grew up in rural Minnesota. We’re both total jokesters and very outgoing.
When did you last sing to yourself?
This morning, alone in the car! It was some random song on the radio. I always sing in the car.
Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?
Alive or dead? I would want to have dinner with the founder of Fraser, Louise Whitbeck Fraser. She was a pioneer and could see the special.
If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?
Rachel and I debated this for a good 10 minutes. There’s no easy answer, but she finally committed to the mind.
Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why?
Sometimes, but rarely. I’m an improvisational person, I go with my heart and gut. If I practice, it feels artificial.
Complete this sentence: “I wish I had someone with whom I could share…
Interesting because I’m an open book. So then I think, is it an activity? Nachos is honestly what popped into my head.