Rachel Polson is a founding Board member of TeamWomenMN and a partner at accounting and advisory firm Baker Tilly. Rachel has been with the firm for 20 years and specializes in working with software and technology companies, public companies across a variety of industries, private equity funds and broker dealers. In addition to her volunteer work with TeamWomenMN on the Board and as chair of the mentoring committee, Rachel also serves on the board of the MN High Tech Association Foundation and the MN Society of CPAs and the St. Cloud State’s Advisory Board for the Herberger School of Business.
What drew you to sponsoring TeamWomenMN?
TeamWomenMN has an outstanding mission: To inspire, encourage and support women in reaching their full potential. As one of the founding board members, I’ve been involved in the organization from the beginning and have seen firsthand the powerful impact the organization has on the professional development of women in the Twin Cities. All our events are very inclusive and inviting – they are our mission in action. Likewise, Baker Tilly, a nationally recognized accounting firm, is committed to the personal and professional development of our women practitioners, so it’s a natural fit for our firm.
What experiences within Baker Tilly do you provide specifically for women?
Baker Tilly is committed to supporting, mentoring and advancing women at all levels and roles. Ten years ago we established our Growth and Retention of Women (GROW) program to provide greater professional development and mentoring opportunities to women in our firm. Through GROW, we dig into topics like wellness, personal and professional development and achieving work-life balance. We also like to have a good time and in the past have hosted a golf clinic, a women’s self-defense class, yoga and massage sessions and a fashion show with a Macy’s personal shopper.
How do the employees at Baker Tilly support other women around them, professionally and personally?
Much like TeamWomenMN, Baker Tilly’s GROW program is an important tool for the women in our firm to network with and learn from each other. It’s a valuable vehicle for the women in our firm to support, challenge and encourage one another. Women at all levels participate, which creates a nurturing and open environment for younger staff to learn from women in leadership positions. Our firm has a very supportive culture and sees mentor/mentee relationships, whether formal or informal, as a vital part of the advancement of women in all roles within our firm.
What does success mean to Baker Tilly?
At Baker Tilly, we believe our success and future relies on team members who grow, develop and prosper. We see our team members as our most important asset, so we listen to them to understand what they want from their personal and professional lives. Likewise, a happy, successful team that is passionate about their work translates into happy, successful clients.
What are three things that you tell your employees to do in order to become successful?
We have three core values that guide how we do business at Baker Tilly: integrity, passion and stewardship. We measure our team members’ success by the same standard.
- Integrity: We do the right thing, for the right reason, every day. Honesty, trust and the fulfillment of promises are paramount to our success
- Passion: We take great pride in a job-well done and put forth our best effort every day
- Stewardship: We invest in our firm’s future and in our fellow teammates with the intention of leaving everything better
Any advice you would like to provide to TeamWomenMN members?
My advice to members is attend as many events as you can, meet people, and not be afraid to ask for help. If there’s a strategic initiative you’re working on in your job, likely there’s a member who can offer advice, support, or unique perspective. We often say being a member of TeamWomenMN is like having “your own personal board of directors.” This organization is a great resource for women in the Twin Cities – take advantage of it!
When thinking of Baker Tilly, what do you want our members to remember and share with their friends/family/peers?
At Baker Tilly, we take a collaborative approach and aim to be a Valued Business Advisor to our clients. We offer sound technical guidance, timely industry insight and practical solutions and strategies to help clients manage and grow their business. A nationally recognized accounting and advisory firm, we serve clients across the country – from start-ups and small family-owned businesses to national multi-billion dollar corporations. Ultimately, we strive to meet clients where they are and work with them to get them where they want to be.