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2015 Most Influential Women Honoree: Rachel Dwiggins

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At public accounting firm BKD LLP, partner Rachel Dwiggins takes her responsibility as a role model seriously.

A wife and mother of two, Dwiggins often is approached by other staff members about implementing a successful work-life balance.

“I consistently demonstrate through my dedication at BKD and community involvement that I am able to put my husband and two children first,” Dwiggins says. “This accomplishment continues to show others that balancing your life is possible.”

Her role as a mentor is performed both formally and informally, and Dwiggins keeps an open-door policy to facilitate that atmosphere.

New mothers ask Dwiggins how best to proceed in a professional capacity.

For those employees, she is able to provide advice based on experience.

“My consistent message is that everyone has different circumstances and what works for one, doesn’t necessarily work for all, and that is OK,” she says. “The goal is helping an individual find what works for them and being there to support them in that decision and not feel guilty because of societal pressure.”

A partner at BKD since 2012 and employee since 1999, Dwiggins leads the nonprofit and a government team for the accounting firm’s Springfield, Branson and Joplin offices. She is the direct manager of around 20 employees.

Among a select group of female leaders in the firm, Dwiggins shares ownership responsibilities with over 250 partners in the nearly $500 million firm that employs 2,250. BKD is the No. 12-ranked accounting firm in the nation, according to Inside Public Accounting.

Such a role requires a stringent set of values.

“I set and adhere to high standards within my daily functions of work, which I believe positively influences others,” Dwiggins says. “I won’t ask others to do something I wouldn’t do myself or haven’t done in the past.

“As one of the leaders of the firm, I’m proud to set an example for others coming up through the ranks, and I appreciate all that I’ve learned from those who have influenced me.”

BKD has recognized her efforts.

Two years prior to being named partner, Dwiggins was chosen by the firm’s governing board to receive its PRIDE award, representing the company’s values of passion, respect, integrity, discipline and excellence. She marks this as her proudest professional accomplishment.

John Wanamaker, BKD managing partner, has witnessed Dwiggins’ growth at the Springfield firm. In addition to her nonprofit and government work, he notes a strong focus on staff morale and mentorship.

“She is involved in teaching and training our professionals locally on an ongoing basis and has served in firmwide technical training roles, as well as serving in a leadership role during the weeklong trainings for new hires for our entire firm that we refer to as Camp BKD,” Wanamaker says.

A graduate of Leadership Springfield Class 28, Dwiggins also has served as a board member of Habitat for Humanity of Springfield and the Junior League of Springfield – for which she has worked as chairwoman for its placement committee.


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