Rachel Romer Carlson
Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder
Rachel Romer Carlson is the CEO and co-founder of Guild Education, a company offering education-as-a-benefit to employees. Together with co-founder Brittany Stitch, Guild has achieved a total valuation of $1B, as major players — like Walmart, Disney, Chipotle, Discover and Taco Bell — saw what their company brings to the table. It is only one of three female-led companies on the 2019 Forbes Cloud 100 list.
Carlson’s passion for democratizing education through employers’ tuition benefits, as well as her commitment to social change, earned her The 2020-21 PWI Next Gen Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Award. She was also listed in Forbes 30 Under 30 2017, an honor she shared with Stitch. She cares about making a difference in the community, and through Guild, she wants to unlock the American workforce by tapping into the power of education. Amidst the global pandemic, her company expanded its mission to Next Chapter, a new model to help America’s laid-off workers access training and job opportunities.
In her twenties, she worked on Barack Obama’s presidential campaign and spent years working at The Parthenon Group and American Honors. Her exposure to these education companies influenced her thinking and expanded her knowledge.
She was born and raised in a family of educators and political leaders. Her father, Chris Romer — a former state senator — co-founded American Honors and I Have a Dream Foundation, helping students succeed in a global workforce. Meanwhile, her grandfather, Roy Romer, served as the 39th government of Colorado and founded the Metropolitan State University of Denver.
Rachel Romer Carlson, Guild Education - Why We Recognized Her:
Rachel Romer Carlson of Guild Education is trying to make America and the world a better place by helping people gain an education through their employer’s tuition benefits — leading to increased employee satisfaction, and improved retention of employers. The goal is to get people who would otherwise be sentenced to a lifetime of lower wages into higher-paying jobs.
Carlson says Guild Education, is “an organization committed to social change,” but it is doing it by helping to educate and empower the more than 30 million working adults without a high school diploma, and the 70% of the U.S. population that does not have a college degree rather than simply telling the rest of us how to think. We love that!
Carlson clearly cares about making the community a better place by lifting up others, both the employees and the employers. Only five years old, Guild already has a billion-dollar valuation and relationships with an impressive cadre of corporate partners like Walmart, Disney, Discover, Lowe’s, Chipotle, and Taco Bell to provide their employees debt-free tuition and access to everything from high school to master’s degrees.
“Guild’s mission is to unlock opportunity for America’s workforce through education,” states their website, “With a double-bottom line business model that does well by doing good.”
And Guild is clearly doing a whole lot of good by recognizing the incredible opportunity to help people access and capitalize on the resources they didn’t even know may have been available to them, and to help companies benefit by making people aware of those opportunities.
According to Guild, 3 million employees are eligible for the programs through their employers, and 10 million employees a month contact Guild interested in going back to school. Another Social Capital honoree, Chipotle, has had 7,000 employees enroll in its debt-free college degree program and reports higher retention and promotion rates among the group.
Guild, which gets paid only after students have successfully completed their programs, offers a technology platform and coaching to help working students make the most of the benefit and says tens of thousands start classes every month. Guild recently expanded its mission with Next Chapter, a service to provide up-skilling to employees impacted by the pandemic. Since the pandemic hit, Carlson is using this as a tool to help companies that have to lay people off because of COVID-19 re-skill those workers for new jobs in the “economy of tomorrow” rather than just finding them other temporary work. Helping them gain new skills benefits the workers and companies, as well as society in general.
Helping to make society better by making people stronger and more capable, and doing it all in conjunction with companies through a capitalistic model – that’s pretty much the entire idea of Social Capital. Cheers to you Rachel!
Tenure at Current Position
|Guild Education||June 2015 - Present||Student Blueprint|
|Stanford Graduate School of Business|