What advice would you offer to women just starting out in the industry?
I would offer the same advice to anyone starting out in any industry - (a)
take advantage of opportunities that
present themselves and (b) anticipate
next steps, be proactive and plan
ahead. For women in particular, especially in a male-dominated industry,
I encourage them to show up and be
visible, and to speak up, to be heard
and resist interruption. Part of that
includes taking advantage of all kinds
of networking opportunities, including those that present themselves in
informal or non-traditional settings.
What do you know now that you wish you
knew in the beginning of your career?
If you make yourself valuable, and are
confident in your abilities, you have
can have a tremendous amount of
agency over your career path. If you
are willing to take charge, you can
often set the agenda for whatever it is
on sound foundations. Some of the
mentors found me, while with others,
I took affirmative steps to develop
What do you think the industry could
do to attract and retain the best and
the brightest today?
The best and the brightest are attract-ed by opportunities that maximize
self-satisfaction. People generally
want to have “meaningful” lives and
careers, but meaning is deeply personal. People derive meaning from all
sorts of things — money, power, intellectual curiosity, and altruism to name
a few. People need to be offered the
opportunity to have meaning, whatever that means to that individual. That
means incentives and rewards might
not be the same for all employees. But
while incentives and rewards may not
be the same, if they are not equitable,
retention may be difficult.
that you take on. It is also important
to recognize that not everyone has to
be on the same traditional promotion
timeline. If the other parts of your
life make it necessary, be willing to
approach your employer to explore
whether they are amenable to a
non-traditional promotion schedule,
interim titles or other options that
provide flexibility without dead-ends.
What kind of role has mentoring and/
or sponsorship played in your career?
I have been very fortunate to have
a number of mentors, both men and
women, throughout my career. Each
of those persons provided different
support over time — some were active
in supporting my career and were
crucial for my promotion, others were
sounding boards for different issues
that arose at times, and others were
central in increasing my profile externally. Mentors included senior partners at my firm, clients, and people in
my community. Each of them offered
different, but equally valuable, advice
and support. These relationships
developed over time and were based
achel Rawson represents lenders and borrowers in a wide variety
of financing transactions. She advises private equity funds and
their portfolio companies in connection with complex leveraged
buyout financings and ongoing financing transactions and lenders
and borrowers in asset-based secured loans, investment-grade
company financings, private placements, and subordinated debt placements,
many with multijurisdictional and multicurrency components.
Rachel’s practice also includes representing lenders and borrowers in connection with workouts and restructurings of troubled credits, including out-of-court
restructurings and debtor-in-possession financings and exit financings. Recently
she has been advising a variety of clients on intercreditor issues, helping them
navigate through transactions with multiple debt tranches and multiple lien
Clients for which Rachel has worked on substantial matters include Bank of
America, The J.M. Smucker Company, KeyBank, PNC/National City Bank, The
Riverside Company, and TSG Consumer Partners.
Rachel has spoken at numerous professional conferences and seminars on
commercial financing and restructuring topics. She is an officer of the Cleveland Chapter of the Association for Corporate Growth and is active in community and charitable affairs.