Rachel Burgess with SIR

Rachel L. Burgess

Title: principal at SIR, a strategic management consultancy based in Richmond

Born: 1983 in Richmond

Education: bachelor’s degree in international business and marketing with Spanish from Grove City College, 2005

Career: Southeastern Institute of Research, which changed its name in 2017 to SIR: project assistant, 2005-07; project manager, 2007-10; project director, 2010-12; vice president and director of research, 2012-17; principal, 2017-present

Where in the metro area do you live?: Forest Hill

Best business decision: ”Shifting the research department from being made up of siloed project directors to a collaborative and coordinated research team. The result has been a shift from a setting that often felt overwhelming and stressful for individuals to a tight team that is able to support each other, share the workload, learn from one another and build stronger relationships.”

Mistake you learned the most from: “A mistake I frequently make is not listening to my gut and speaking my thoughts. I often fear sharing my ideas and therefore miss out on opportunities to either fail and learn or flourish and excel.”

First job after college: “As a traffic coordinator for three months at a small advertising agency, and my last year as a college intern with the Innsbrook After Hours team. I met SIR that fall.”

If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently: “While I believe it is important to work hard and persevere, I have not always done a great job of finding the right work/life balance. There have been periods of my life where I allowed work to dictate my life and I missed out on time with family and friends. I even skipped a Bon Iver concert.”

Book/movie that inspired you the most: “This is a hard one because there is so much great content out there. My faith is most important to me, so of course there is the Bible. Apart from that, I would say the book ‘Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide.’ It is a very hard and honest read, and it opened my eyes to the experiences of women everywhere. I almost made a career switch after reading this book. And while I may not work in this space today, my heart is very big and open to ways we can support women in developing countries around the world.”

Favorite/least favorite subject in school: Favorite subject: English literature; least favorite: anything math-related. “I laugh frequently at how math and stats are a central part of my work.”

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