Build Your Own Company

How one woman started out as a secretary and found entrepreneurial success as the CEO of a multi-million-dollar construction company.

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

Rabbitt’s decision was a smart one that’s becoming more common, says Harvard Business School professor Boris Groysberg, who authored Rabbitt’s case study and also spoke at the forum. “If you leave on good terms, chances are former employers will reach out to you in the future,” says Groysberg. “It’s also a signal to other employees that the grass isn’t greener.”

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Janet Bodnar
Contributor

Janet Bodnar is editor-at-large of Kiplinger's Personal Finance, a position she assumed after retiring as editor of the magazine after eight years at the helm. She is a nationally recognized expert on the subjects of women and money, children's and family finances, and financial literacy. She is the author of two books, Money Smart Women and Raising Money Smart Kids. As editor-at-large, she writes two popular columns for Kiplinger, "Money Smart Women" and "Living in Retirement." Bodnar is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University and is a member of its Board of Trustees. She received her master's degree from Columbia University, where she was also a Knight-Bagehot Fellow in Business and Economics Journalism.