Wendy Pease, Rapport International, Sudbury, MA
| Wendy Pease, Owner, Rapport International
Having lived in places all over the world, including Mexico, Taiwan, and the Philippines, Wendy developed an openness for and understanding of cultures from a young age. Knowing what it was like to live in a place without speaking the language, Wendy realized at a young age how important it is to get the message right when speaking about important issues. Hand gestures, facial expressions and laughter are fun for social situations yet not enough for other times.
“I love languages, culture, travel, diversity, and communications. And ironically, when I was in college I told my dad I wanted to be an interpreter. He suggested that I, ‘Go become fully bilingual in Spanish AND specialize in an area like law or medicine and that will make you more valuable’.” She says, “It’s still advice I give to young people today. Even though I didn’t become fully bi-lingual, I have surrounded myself with linguists who are fully bi-lingual and specialists in different subjects.”
For Wendy, her opportunity came in 2004 when she made the decision to purchase Rapport International, an interpretation and translation agency specializing in language services for marketing, life sciences and law firms.
Rapport International has grown each year by retaining clients, finding new ones and acquiring a company in Nebraska (in 2015). When Google Translate came on the scene, she feared that machine translation might take business away from Rapport International. Instead, growth spiked because more people understood the need for quality translation.
In the early days of the company, Wendy found herself going to networking meetings and being asked, “What’s translation? What is that for?” As translation apps gained in popularity, people began to realize that the quality wasn’t there if you were using them for anything that really mattered. This is where Rapport International comes in. With expertise in the usage of culturally appropriate language and writing in the right voice, Rapport International aids its clients in everything from avoiding liability to expanding their marketing reach.
What still motivates her is thinking about the situation where she sent an interpreter to a hospital. The woman was in labor to give birth without being able to speak English. She realized how important Rapport International’s interpretation services are and why she’s so passionate about what she does.
“Got Your Back”
When asked what she was most proud of about the company, Wendy says it is the staff that she works with.
“When I bought this company, it was just me for a while. Now I have a staff working for me that makes it so much more fun; they’re great people. I just enjoy growing the company with them instead of doing it alone.”
The company culture at Rapport International is “we got your back”. “Everyone is always ready to step in, and because we can all really lean on each other, we are able to ensure that our clients can always rely on us.”
How Wendy Used Her Certification
Having been certified for over ten years, Wendy talks about how the certification doesn’t directly bring her more business, yet it opens up opportunities for learning and connecting that she wouldn’t be able to get anywhere else. Through WBENC certification, Wendy was selected to participate in a Mentor program and had a “dynamite team” from Blue Cross Blue Shield that helped her do market analysis to figure out differentiation and targeting that helped grow her business. While she had a deep understanding of her own business at the time, being able to take a step back and look at her business from a different perspective was just what she needed. Wendy also had the opportunity to serve in a mentor role, helping numerous women-owned businesses figure out how to access resources when they’re just getting started. Wendy talks about attending CWE conferences, where she is able to meet women with businesses of all different sizes, in all different stages..
“I’ve helped women that I’ve met there, gotten advice from women that I’ve met there, worked with women that I’ve met there.”
Advice from Wendy
“The biggest suggestion I have is to get to know the other women who also have similar certified businesses because that’s where the power and potential is for building networks. WBENC is a network and opportunity tool.”
“Get out of your head and talk to the people that can help you do it. We spend so much time in our own heads: every time we have a problem, we retreat into our own minds, when in reality, you don’t have to do it alone. There’s plenty of people and support if you’re willing to just reach out. I had a consulting session pretty early on, in the first few years of acquiring Rapport International. I had questions about cash flow and I scheduled an appointment with one of the accounting advisors. He was extremely helpful—within 15 minutes, he had pointed out a different way to look at my financials that gave me more business management control.”
“Even though you're smart enough to figure these things out, you don't need to waste time figuring them out on your own. Lean on your staff, on CWE, on the other women you meet through certification.”
Special thanks to the writer of this story CWE intern, Cindi Li.