Breaking Barriers to Build a Sustainable Business! Featuring Rachel Soweija

March 8, 2023

Breaking Barriers to Build a Sustainable Business! Featuring Rachel Soweija

This week on the Rutledge Perspective Podcast, we will continue to celebrate Womenโ€™s History Month by highlighting amazing women that are accomplishing outstanding feats. Meet Rachel Soweija! Rachel is the owner of Vida Design, an interior design company based in Portland, Oregon.

Today, Rachel shares with us how she had to overcome both external and internal barriers to get her business off the ground and to see it grow to over 70 employees and 4 different locations. She also goes in-depth about team building and what it takes to assemble a winning team.

Rachel walks us through the fears that she faced when starting a business after being let go from her job upon her return from maternity leave. She also talks about the mistakes that she made along the way and the lessons that she learned from them. Lastly, Rachel shares how she gained clarity with the vision for herself as well as for her business.

With data showing that most small businesses only last about 2-3 years, itโ€™s great to get insight into what it takes to not only start a business but to have longevity from someone whose company has been thriving for over 14 years. I hope that you take away something valuable from this amazing woman and learn that itโ€™s okay to be afraid but just do it anyway!

Learn more about Rachel here:

Rachel was raised in Texas and graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 1998 with a degree in Interior Architecture. After working for a short time in San Antonio, TX at GSC Architects, Rachel and her husband were seeking a new adventure and relocated to Portland. The PNW offered lots of varied opportunities for work and project type. Rachel began at Soderstrom Architects, then moved to Bora Architects, specializing in the design of schools and performing arts centers. Moving to a new project type and a new firm, MGA,
in 2003, Rachel was able to gain traction in the world of Hospitality and Mixed-Use Housing, which quickly became her passion.

In 2009, in the heart of the recession, Rachel pivoted away from her role at MGA and Vida Design was born. The vision for Vida was a simple one; provide clients with an all-inclusive, boutique design experience, and incredible service with no attitude. The growth of Vida was steady and by 2013, the firm was up to twenty employees. Today, Vida is a thriving firm of forty-three with an unwavering vision for design excellence, a supportive culture, and meaningful client relationships. Rachel functions as CEO and President at Vida and is still extremely involved in forging relationships with new clients, supporting design teams, and strategic visioning.

๐‘‡๐‘Ž๐‘˜๐‘’๐‘Ž๐‘ค๐‘Ž๐‘ฆ๐‘  ๐Ÿ“

๐Ÿ”‘ If you want to go fast go alone if you want to go far go with others!
๐Ÿ”‘ When stepping into your dream learn to do it afraid. Sit in a space thatโ€™s uncomfortable. Youโ€™re not going to die.
๐Ÿ”‘ Donโ€™t apologize for making pivots. You are allowed to pivot; you are the boss!

๐Ÿ”‘ Bonus: Let yourself dream. Allow your body & soul to explore.

โ„๐• ๐•ž๐•–๐•จ๐• ๐•ฃ๐•œ ๐Ÿ“š

You donโ€™t have to have every fact in place before taking a leap. Sometimes you donโ€™t need all the data you just need enough to get going. Have you been overanalyzing? Are you in your own head? Are you creating barriers for yourself? If you are thinking about taking a leap into entrepreneurship, start planning a safety net to give your brain some freedom and start doing research to see exactly what resources you need to make your dream a reality.

๐“ฏ๐“พ๐“ต๐“ต ๐ŸŽง ๐“ช๐“ท๐“ญ ๐Ÿ“น ๐“ช๐“ฝ ๐Ÿ”— ๐“ฒ๐“ท ๐“ซ๐“ฒ๐“ธ

Be sure to tune in each week for new episodes!

About the Host:

Laurel Rutledgeโ€™s human-centered approach, empathy, and understanding of individual needs make her a top-notch personal advisor and womenโ€™s leadership coach.

Her care and compassion have made her an indispensable guide for countless women navigating the next phases of their lives and careers. Add to that her intimate knowledge of the HR landscape, and it becomes clear why her HR clients have had such transformative experiences. Just as Rutledge has helped countless others get out of their rut and off of the ledge, so too can she help you.

After receiving her MBA, Laurel moved from accounting and consulting to human resources, driven by a desire to do good in a business environment. It quickly became apparent that the switch had been a good choice โ€” she flourished professionally and became happier, satisfied with the difference she could make through her work.

After a 30-year career, she left the corporate world, but her passion for HR and helping others has only grown. Now, she works one-on-one with clients, leveraging her experience in leadership and personal development to help them get the most of out their lives and careers.

From her beginnings as a consultant at Deloitte to her time as VP of HR at Covestro, Laurel has seen more sides of the business world than most. Sheโ€™s achieved technical mastery of HR, with a deep knowledge of the rules and regulations that must be followed.

Sheโ€™s also a people person, perceptive and outgoing, with a sixth sense for helping others to see the difference between what they want and what they need. The culmination of this is in her personal philosophy: โ€œlead with your heart, act with your head.โ€

Find out more at:ย https://laurelrutledge.com

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