In 2009, Linda Rebrovick made the most daring professional move of her career. After working for more than 30 years in senior management positions at various technology, health care and consulting companies, she stepped into the top leadership role at Consensus Point, a Nashville-based start-up that specializes in prediction market software for corporations and government groups.
Rebrovick joined the company after holding a series of executive posts, including those of vice president of health care sales at Dell, executive vice president and chief marketing officer at BearingPoint and national managing partner at KPMG Consulting.
During her stint at Dell, Rebrovick began a close mentoring relationship with Cristina (Crissy) Welhoelter, a regional sales manager at the computer giant. The relationship is still going strong.
“We have a great bond,” Welhoelter said. “We have very constructive discussions, sometimes about difficult choices and topics.
“Women sometimes feel guilty, no matter what they do. There are so many questions and issues to balance: When is it OK to be gone as a mother? How much time can you spend away from your family? Linda helps me get my priorities straight as a career woman and mother.”
How did Linda become your mentor?
Crissy: Our meeting was fate. Kevin Rollins, CEO of Dell, came to Nashville to make a big announcement. It took place in a room with hundreds of people, yet Linda and I sat near each other. We found out we had several connections in common. I was immediately drawn to her as a working mother who had an amazing ability to navigate corporate America and balance it successfully with family and community life.
Linda: Yes, it was a serendipitous meeting, a lucky event that was just so meant to be. Crissy jumped on it. I think that’s one of the reasons why we have such a successful relationship. She has always been proactive in our relationship. She’s extraordinary.
Crissy, can you talk about Linda’s qualities as a mentor?
Crissy: Outside of my mother, she’s the only woman who believes I can have it all. I admire and respect her. She’s flourishing in a new role at a new company and has a great family. Only a woman with total confidence can accomplish the kinds of things that Linda has.
She and I have a standing monthly lunch. We discuss everything – career, kids, and family. There’s a difference between having a mentor and a champion. Mentors give advice and help you recognize opportunities. Champions can be like having your own personal PR campaign. Linda is both a mentor and a champion. She leaves a major legacy when it comes to showing what a woman can do.
Is there something about the nature of a woman-to-woman mentorship that’s particularly notable?
Linda: For most women, the whole issue of work-life balance is top of mind. It can make a tremendous difference to have a mentoring relationship with someone who’s been through it. You make choices as a mother and as a businessperson. Sometimes women take a detour and need help and support to maintain their confidence. It doesn’t mean they have to give up on dreams or feel any less professional.
For example, I waited until my children were grown to be a part of a start-up because I knew it would take more time and responsibility. When I was working for bigger companies, there was always a great depth of resources. There were people in place to back you up. With a small business there are not a lot of people to turn to or delegate to.
Linda, can you talk about a proud moment with Crissy?
Linda: I encouraged her to get involved on a nonprofit board, and she became a board member at Adventure Science Center. Crissy probably would have eventually joined a board, but I especially encouraged the relationship with Adventure Science Center. Some of my greatest experiences have been sitting at the table on nonprofit boards with other business leaders. It’s great when you all sit on the same side of the table and share a common goal. It’s an additional personal and professional development that many women don’t think about.
POSTDATA: WARRANTY DEEDS