Founder and CEO Rippeteau Consulting LLCEmily Rippeteau

Why did you decide to come to Leeds?
   After I was admitted to MBA programs, I wanted to visit the four schools I got into one more time before I made my decision. When I got to Leeds, everything just felt right. I could imagine myself there, making friends with the people in the program and building a life in Colorado. Leeds also gave me certain freedoms. I received one of the scholarships, which helped solidify my decision, as I knew that I didn’t want to be in a position where my student loans would need to dictate my career path. I also knew that I didn’t want to work for a large company when I graduated, something that seemed expected at the other schools I was considering. Leeds provided numerous opportunities for me to pursue my career interests and goals.

What is one thing you learned at Leeds that you will never forget?
   I don’t know if I can narrow it down to one thing, because I think that every class I took, every alumnus/a I met with, and every classmate I befriended led me to where I am now. However, the Business Plan Class I took with George Deriso has been especially helpful both from the perspective of building my own business and from understanding all of the aspects of a small business that my clients deal with.

Tell us about a particular professor or mentor that influenced you while you were at Leeds.
   Cindy Carrillo, a board member at Leeds, called me to congratulate me on getting accepted and to see if she could answer any questions. From the first time I met with her when I was visiting, when she insisted on taking me out to lunch, she has mentored me, helping me navigate student life and build my business after I graduated. She helped me shape my decision to come to Leeds, supported the early days of my business to give it focus and direction, and continues to be a sounding board and business coach to this day.

Where has life taken you since you graduated Leeds?
   I started a consulting business focusing on helping small craft beverage companies with their financial operations. My husband and I both work in this industry and have a lot of friends that I am able to help. I started working with one craft brewery and quickly realized that I wanted to be able to share this knowledge to help others get out of being stuck in the day-to-day financials and focus on the reason they started their company in the first place, to make a great craft beverage.

What is one piece of advice/best practice that has stuck with you throughout your career?
   First, meet with everyone you can. Having different perspectives is so helpful and the craziest connections will come back to help you out years later. I was becoming very worried about not having a clear idea of what my business would look like in 5 years, 10 years, etc. and I met with Jane Miller, another amazing Leeds resource. She asked me if I was planning to have more kids (I wasn’t sure at that time, but the answer turned out to be yes) and she said, “Don’t worry about what it will look like in 5 years, focus on what it will look like in 3 months, 6 months, a year”. That advice from Jane really helped me stop stressing about the longer term so I could focus on what was important for my business and my family at that moment, and it led me to develop an excellent maternity leave plan for my team. In turn, that plan has been instrumental to growing at a pace that my team and I can keep up with, even while homeschooling a preschooler during a pandemic with a newborn.

What advice would you give to anyone interested in pursuing a career in your professional field?
   Be authentic. My business has grown strictly by word of mouth; my friends and clients refer me to people that they know who need help because they know that I am looking at the services that I provide in a way that helps our clients be more efficient with their time and their money.

What do you miss most about Boulder?
   Well I didn’t move too far away, just up to Longmont, but I think the biggest thing I miss is the proximity to the mountains, just that extra 20 minutes (or maybe it is the two kids I have now) makes it a little harder to get into the mountains as often as I used to.

Is there anything else you would like to share?
   Since I graduated from Leeds, I have been very involved in the School through volunteering on the MBA Alumni Board. This has been a great experience for me and has helped me expand my network beyond the classmates that were in school at the same time as me. I highly encourage all alumni to get involved in the events and/or the Board itself.

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August 2021