After 30 years in corporate America, Rachel Kohler, MBA ’89, resolved to redirect her career to have greater social impact.
“If anyone could take risk in their life, I could,” said Kohler, part of the fourth generation of Kohlers to run the family’s Wisconsin-based business, famous for its high-end bathroom fixtures and luxury golf resorts. “I could take financial risk as well as career risk.”
That career pivot led Kohler to the helm of NowPow, a social venture that uses a highly customized community referral platform to connect people with needed social services to improve their health outcomes. Last September, six years after Kohler came on as co-owner and CEO, NowPow was acquired by its larger competitor, Unite Us, to together become the nation’s leading integrated health and social care referral network.
In a fireside chat hosted by the Polsky Center of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Kohler told her entrepreneurship story to Chicago Booth classmate Doug Monieson, MBA ’89, an entrepreneur-in-residence at the Polsky Center and executive chairman and CEO of UICO, a rugged touchscreen manufacturing company in Chicago. They discussed why NowPow sold when it did, how it navigated funding, and how Kohler ended up in healthcare innovation after a career spent mostly in interiors.
This story is first published by the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.