Rachel Braun Scherl visited the Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center and gave a presentation to Vikings Women for their quarterly Huddle.
EAGAN, Minn. –Rachel Braun Scherl has a passion for speaking to women about developing a leadership voice, and she brought that enthusiasm to the Vikings organization on Wednesday.
Scherl, a native of New Jersey, visited the Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center and gave a presentation to Vikings Women for their quarterly Huddle. Female employees of Vikings partners and sponsors were guests of the event, as well.
Also in attendance were Vikings Owner/President Mark Wilf, a friend of Scherl's, and Vikings Chief Operating Officer Kevin Warren.
"I want to welcome you on behalf of our ownership and our franchise to this incredible facility," Wilf said to the auditorium of women. "We value what you're doing here today.
"I know as our ownership feels, we've put a lot of resources in to make sure that the Minnesota Vikings are a first-class organization, a world-renowned organization, and this building and U.S. Bank Stadium together are incredible, incredible assets," Wilf continued. "But our most important assets are the people – the people that work in our organization, our sponsors and supporters … and you're really part of our extended family professionally, and we value that very much."
Wilf and Warren also gave a thank-you to Vikings Vice President of Legal & Human Resources Karin Nelsen and Director of Women's Initiatives Tami Hedrick for their lead in putting together the afternoon.
"I'd like to thank Tami and Karin and Sarah [Blomquist], all the women here in the organization who have just really leaned into this event – not only the event but just the way women are perceived and empowered [here with the Vikings]," Warren said.
Scherl delivered an engaging presentation titled "How to Find Your Leadership Voice" – she posed and answered questions about the importance of identifying one's leadership style and pointed to examples of other women who have established themselves as effective leaders, including Oprah Winfrey.
Scherl elaborated on qualities Winfrey possesses that are often seen in a successful leader.
"She is able to change her tone … and she's always authentic," Scherl said. "I think that's one of her secret tools of why she can sell, build, recreate anything – because she has this ability to understand her audience, to understand how she has to modify her conversation, and to relate to people in a real way."
In defining one's leadership voice, Scherl emphasized the importance of identifying people you admire, identifying your personal strengths and "testing out" your voice.
"You're obviously part of an important organization, whether it's the Vikings or one of the partners, but what you do matters," Scherl said.
"The reason I focus on strengths is because it's easier for women, more typically, to talk about what they're not good at," Scherl said. "The idea is, what makes you uniquely competent or skilled to do what you're doing?"
Scherl recalled her childhood and how she and her sister saw examples of leadership in their parents and, being a competitive family who enjoyed athletics, often watched films depicting sports figures who persevered and overcame against all odds.
Scherl encouraged women that it's important to "practice before you get on the field" and always be prepared for meetings, presentations and other professional scenarios, and she also highlighted the value of mentorship within one's career field.
In the second portion of her talk, Scherl used personal examples of her position in the women's health and wellness industry. She recalled learning the do's and don'ts for presenting a business model in the early stages of her career; she also pointed toward young women in their late 20s and early 30s who have recently earned tremendous respect after personal experiences motivated and inspired a breakthrough in the career field.
To wrap up the presentation, Scherl shared about her upcoming book release and summarized takeaways for her audience.
Scherl reminded the women to commit to a process; monitor progress; identify an advocate within a respective company/career field; experiment, reflect and revise; and observe, learn, process and engage with those around you.
She then opened up the floor and fielded a number of questions from those in the room, including from Warren, who asked Scherl her thoughts on ways that men can continue to support, respect and build-up women in business – to which Scherl responded that Warren's and Wilf's presence at the Vikings Women event – and support of the program – spoke volumes.
"[Being involved in] an organization where they value what you have to offer is incredible," Scherl later told Vikings.com. "The fact that they have an initiative focused on women, that the most-senior people associated with the team come to support it, that suggests that it's a place where they'll be more sensitive, more thoughtful, more open to the potential of women."
Scherl explained her passion for speaking on leadership for women in business.
"I think we're missing a lot of opportunities to be as successful as we can be," Scherl told Vikings.com. "I think it's because I see so many talented women, and you keep hearing story after story of people who are left by the wayside. That if it gives anybody some confidence to try harder or do something differently or find a mentor or an organization where they're sensitive to this, that they'll take the opportunity."
Hedrick expressed gratitude for having Scherl travel to Minnesota and share her insight with the Vikings women in addition to partners and sponsors.
"Isn't it wonderful when women empower other women?" Hedrick said following Scherl's presentation. "I think her example of using your own life story – whatever that story or context is – to help other women learn from your experience and from your observations, and then be able to take it and apply it to your life, is a really powerful thing.
"And it's a really gracious thing to share that story," Hedrick added. "So for her to be able to come in and give that to us was a treat."