Kohler visit energizes Loyola students

Kohler visit energizes Loyola students

Baumhart Director Seth Green speaks with visionary social entrepreneur Rachel Kohler

By Erin Lippert, Student Reporter

On September 23, the Baumhart Center hosted Rachel Kohler, CEO and co-owner of NowPow. After greeting each student and community member individually, Kohler shared her impressive cross-sectoral journey from investment banking to the family business to a Hyde Park-based social enterprise.

Growing up in Kohler, Wisconsin—as a member of the family behind Kohler Co.—Kohler was born into a legacy of involvement in the arts and public service. In this environment, she developed a deep commitment to community and an ambitious entrepreneurial spirit.

Leading in Business
Kohler attended Princeton University and had a successful career in investment banking before receiving a “now or never” offer to go back to her hometown and join the family business. She played a leadership role at Kohler Co. for 22 years and then decided she wanted to find even greater purpose in her work. She realized she was not spending enough time in the community and she sought to make a change. Ultimately, she decided she wanted to “do something entrepreneurial with a social purpose.” NowPow was that something.

Leading with Purpose
NowPow is a social enterprise built around the research of co-founder Dr. Stacy Lindau. Dr. Lindau envisioned a world where people could be “e-prescribed” community resources easily and accurately, and Kohler wanted to help make this world a reality. With NowPow, users are matched with medical resources and referrals in their community based on their unique needs, location, and demographics. This revolutionary technology, now being used in 11 states, captures data on resource supply and demand across communities. With this new information, leaders can better address resource barriers and health disparities in order to create healthier, more equitable communities.

Advising Students
Kohler closed the evening by offering sage advice for the students present: “You need to put yourself in hard positions and challenge yourself…Have as many experiences as possible, even if they don’t align fully with or lead up to a career. You will always be building skills.” For those wanting to marry purpose and profit, Kohler encourages looking for “experiences in companies with integrated, meaningful strategies. Look for experiences that allow for frontline engagement.”