Paving the Way for Women Entrepreneurs
Rachel Samuelson is senior vice president portfolio manager of nFusion Capital. She is responsible for managing and growing an existing portfolio of asset-based lending customers, deepening customer relationships, and evaluating portfolio risk. Samuelson works collaboratively with internal partners to lead the closing process for new business opportunities and coordinates with external partners and intermediaries. Her experience includes working as a trusted partner to small and middle-market businesses across a wide range of industries including construction, distribution, manufacturing, oilfield services, staffing and transportation. Prior to joining nFusion, Samuelson was an account executive for Far West Capital where she worked with portfolio management and administration of revolving credit facilities, including lender finance and asset-based lending relationships.
Before transitioning to the private sector, she worked for the Texas Attorney General Child Support Division where she was an Ombudsman and Financial Specialist for nearly a decade.
She values the time and adventures she shares with her husband, Sam, and son, Kaleb. A native Austinite, she spends her downtime with her family, road tripping, and working in her garden. Samuelson earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in history and religion from Texas State University.
What advice would you offer to women just starting out in the industry?
The best advice I can give is don’t be afraid to ask questions, as well as find a mentor you can trust. I have been blessed from day one with guidance, openness, and encouragement, and I now offer as much of that to my team as possible. As for question asking, trust, but verify, are words that I live by, not just for collateral and client relationships, but internally as well. Understanding why we do what we do makes the work rewarding and the relationships strong.
What is the best advice you ever received?
Slow down. I have always wanted to provide a solution instantly. But allowing myself the space to analyze the underlying need allows me to work on solutions that are longer lasting, and more beneficial to the clients and our organization. Slowing down allows time to ask questions, consult your team, think about implications of your decisions for the client and for your shareholders. Slowing down gives your client confidence that you are not just checking boxes, or making easy choices, but working with them.
What role has mentorship/sponsorship played in your career?
Mentorship has played a huge role in my career. From my first interview I have been blessed with super smart, encouraging and brilliant leaders who have taken time to guide and teach me this industry. I have learned that seeing the bud of possibility in oneself, and then looking for that strength within those that we work with can create an amazing mentor/mentee relationship.
What would you like to achieve this year, either personally or professionally?
Professionally, I would like to expand my network throughout the industry, giving me the opportunity to learn from others, and hopefully add their lessons into my portfolio of experience that I can utilize. Personally, I would love to take a lockout vacation removing the opportunity to look at my phone and check in on my awesome team.
What do you enjoy most about your role? Least?
I love talking with clients, learning about their businesses, understanding their fears and goals. Building relationships is the most rewarding part of this job. Going on a journey with an entrepreneur is beyond satisfying. Being a portfolio manager is a lot of juggling and while this is not something that I enjoy least, it is an aspect of my job that I am constantly working on to improve.
How can secured finance organizations attract and retain more women?
I think the best way to attract more women is to promote opportunities of leadership and growth and share that within the industry. If women are presented with an organization that has women in leadership roles, that offers strong mentorship programs, or an atmosphere of guidance and team, I believe more women will be encouraged to advance in an industry that has predominantly been male.