Since she got her first job working at a professional placement firm, Joan Wiederspiel had always wanted to own a staffing business. But even after starting that company, Abbott & Associates, in the living room where her children literally grew up watching her succeed, it came as a surprise when four years ago, Wiederspiel’s daughter announced that she wanted to follow in her mom’s footsteps.
In retrospect, there were clues of what Rachel Wiederspiel was thinking.
“She got her degree in business. I got my degree in business. I did marketing, and she did marketing,” Wiederspiel recalls.
Rachel interned with Abbott’s largest client, getting to know them and their staffing needs.
Regardless of her initial disbelief, Wiederspiel considers herself lucky that the company she founded is now a family business. Watching her daughter assume greater responsibility at Abbott brings added pride to what she’s accomplished.
“I’m very grateful,” she says. “I’m almost giddy about it.”
Wiederspiel describes the circumstances that led to her starting the business as an “awesome situation that fell into my lap.”
After working for a national staffing office in Portland, she transferred with the company to Sarasota, Florida. Then the branch she managed closed and she was laid off.
“That’s when I started Abbott,” she recalls. “In hindsight, I was very bold. At the time, I didn’t have much of an option.”
But with more than 20 years of experience as a successful businesswoman, she had faith in what she was doing.
Wiederspiel recalls how supportive her family has been, including her parents and her ex-husband, Jesse. When they lived in Florida, they were a single-income family, with Jesse taking care of the kids and coaching soccer. They remain close and he still does payroll for the company.
“Even though we’re not married, he was a big part of it,” she says.
Seeing her mom in action was influential.
“I remember coming home from school and having to be quiet because Mom was on the phone with potential clients in Portland,” Rachel recalls.
“Her spirit and drive have always been inspiring to me,” she says.
Once Rachel gains the necessary management skills, Wiederspiel’s vision is to have her become company vice-president. Meanwhile, Rachel plans to keep strategizing with her mom to move the business forward.
“To be able to be a part of her dream and be by her side has now been my dream come true,” she says.