In October 2021, LeeAnn Rasachak, former WomenVenture board member was appointed as CEO of WomenVenture. We spoke to LeeAnn about what led her to becoming CEO, her plans for the future and more!
Why were you interested in becoming WomenVenture’s CEO?
WomenVenture’s mission and impact on the community is critical, as proven by the past 18-24 months due to the health pandemic and civil unrest. This organization leads the way for economic development within our communities especially through sponsoring women. While on the board of directors, I realized how urgent it was for the organization to have a dedicated CEO to support and accelerate the staff’s work along with helping current and new clients. I want to be part of an organization that serves people and our communities in a meaningful way. I can do that here at WomenVenture.
Nothing is more exciting to me than to see women build and grow businesses. The ability to own a business, employ people, and create products and solutions that meet a need is incredible. There is something special about an entrepreneurial spirit that is tough to bottle up and replicate. So, when it comes knocking, you must answer and sponsor those who need it most – women and people of color. I have supported several WomenVenture clients through word-of-mouth brand awareness, marketing their products and solutions, and purchasing directly from them. The offerings are endless. It brings me joy to see client products on shelves at Costco or Target and equally, in small shops and online. I like to take my family and friends to their businesses to enjoy food and wine. I also deeply appreciate the businesses that are in male dominated fields.
Can you tell us about your background and what led you to this point?
I am first-generation American. My parents immigrated from Laos to the US after the Vietnam War. They met and married here in Minnesota. I grew up in Eagan and stayed in the Twin Cities. A proud graduate of the University of St. Thomas and Hamline University, I have spent my entire career in private sector working for Fortune 1000 companies in enterprise strategy, marketing, public relations, community affairs and digital strategy. The women around me in my personal life run businesses in a variety of industries. My family history is rooted in entrepreneurship as farmers, business owners, and community advocates.
After serving on the board of WomenVenture for nearly four years, I found myself ready to follow through on my personal goal to make a greater impact in the diversity, equity, and inclusion space. WomenVenture is a perfect choice to continue my work advocating for women in business, being part of the childcare crisis solution, and elevating racial equity.
What are your plans for WomenVenture’s future?
• We will be a trusted ally to women and BIPOC business owners from across the region. The story of our training, development and loan offerings will be elevated and accessible to more people beyond Minnesota.
• WomenVenture has a major opportunity to reach people who are ready for a career transition as an entrepreneur and founder to reimagine their careers and build businesses that positively impact their communities while generating wealth.
• We will lead in closing the childcare gap to enable affordable options for parents without compromising quality. Addressing systemic issues and creating job opportunities in this space will be transformative for the Twin Cities, which may create a blueprint for other major cities.
Can you tell us three fun facts about yourself that we might not guess?
1. I have been to 22 countries (and explored beyond the airport).
2. I am obsessed with the board game, Wingspan, and play at least one night a week with family and friends
3. I love naps and can sleep just about anywhere. Once I slept on a bench outside of the cafe surrounded by tourists at the Blue Lagoon in Iceland.