A native of Munich, North Dakota, Rachel Olson grew up on the family farm alongside her two sisters and two brothers. She continued her education at the University of Minnesota, Duluth earning a master’s degree in speech pathology and minor in coaching. Rachel has been a speech-language pathologist for 11 years, working in the private pediatric therapy setting her entire career. Almost two years ago she founded Interact Therapy which provides speech, occupational, and physical therapy to children ages 0 to 21. Services can be provided in your Fargo-Moorhead area home, daycare, or the Interact Therapy clinic. In addition to Rachel, the Interact Therapy team includes six employees that Rachel describing as “hardworking and talented young ladies” consisting of speech pathologists, occupational therapists, and physical therapists. Away from work, you can find Rachel at the gym, baking or doing what she loves most which is spending time with her boys: husband Aaron and their three sons 7-year-old Saywer, 5-year-old Lincoln, and Walter, 22 months.
What inspired you to open interact therapy?
I have had the dream and goal of starting my own company for years, but I always used the excuse “someday.” After quite a few “someday” years later, an opportunity presented itself and I just knew it was God leading me in that direction. I am so happy I listened to him because these last two years challenged me professionally and that is what I was wanting. This whole process of starting this company is not just about my own satisfaction and growth. It is about helping other therapists open up opportunities to lead and develop a new set of skills for their own career. It is about giving families in the F-M area a place to receive high-end services by experienced and educated therapists.
Why did you name your business interact therapy?
Honestly, I gave my husband four choices and within 24 hours we picked this one. HA! But in all seriousness, social interaction is vital to human health and the wellbeing of everyone. It plays an important role in learning, reciprocal teaching, and behavior modeling. The right interactive environment will help children develop strong language skills, social intelligence, confidence, and creativity. All of these things are what I am molding this company to offer to children in the F-M area.
What is your strongest "mompreneur" skill?
Being very organized.
How many employees do you currently have?
Six hardworking and talented young ladies
What is the most important lesson you’ve learned as a business owner?
That I can always do better and be better.
What motivates you each morning to go to work?
I want my husband, boys, and family to be proud of what I do and accomplish every day. They are the reason I do what I do.
How do you balance work and family life?
Honestly, I have not found the perfect balance or boundary between work and home life yet, but I’m working on my time management skills. Both my business and family need my attention and neither can be overlooked. They are two completely different worlds and it is important I give my best to both.
What does your typical workday consist of?
The cool thing about my job is that each day is different. I start and end my day as a mom and wife, but in the middle, it varies. I travel to multiple locations where I come in contact with various families and individuals who are all part of my client’s team. I really enjoy the fast pace and variety that my job entails.
What is the most rewarding part of your business?
It is such a high to see your client reach a goal and know that you had a little something to do with their success.
Do you think there are any misconceptions in your field?
As a Speech-Language Pathologist, we often get overlooked that we are the experts in not only speech and language (which is right in our name) but we are also highly skilled in feeding issues.
Away from the daily grind of business what might we find you doing?
In the winter months you will find me in my kitchen baking with my boys and in the summer you will find me at the lake with my family.
What makes interact therapy unique?
Experience and Relationships. We focus on providing high-quality therapy and working together with our clients and their families to give the best service we can.
What do you hope you are teaching your kids as they watch you be a mompreneur?
I am trying to teach them determination. I want to encourage them to do things that do not come easily (for me, it was starting a business with little to no background in business management) and help set up an environment that will give them the opportunities to put themselves in situations where they can receive personal growth.
What is the best advice you have gotten as a mom?
Try not to compare your children with others. It is hard to do, I know, but each is so different and talented in their own way. Be there to support each of your children in a way that highlights their strengths while encouraging them to improve upon their weaknesses.
What is the most important parenting lesson you have learned working with so many children and their families over the years?
To be patient and flexible.
Editor’s note: Story was originally published in the April/May 2019 issue of the On The Minds of Moms magazine. Forum Communications Company is re-publishing these stories as On the Minds of Moms staff members develop a new online community.