Family finances: Build your own company

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By Janet Bodnar

On the way to a meeting of the Women’s Leadership Forum in New York City, I immersed myself in the Harvard Business School case study that would be the topic of the forum. I’ve always thought of such case studies as academic exercises, but the real-life story of Linda Rabbitt, the founder and CEO of rand* construction, a multimillion-dollar company based in Alexandria, Virginia, has all the ingredients of a compelling novel.

Rabbitt trained as a teacher and has a master’s degree in education. She married a physician and became a stay-at-home mom and professional wife, only to have her marriage end in divorce in 1980.

With no personal bank account, no credit cards and no income of her own, she took a secretarial job with an accounting firm that paid $16,000 a year.

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