Rebecca Flanagan is a Portland business, tax, and estate lawyer. “I am the proud child of two small business owners -- a veterinarian and a log home builder -- and granddaughter, niece, and sister to many other small business owners. It's in my blood that I'm my own boss,” she explains.
She is also a third-generation Washington State University alumnus who continued the family tradition of meeting her future spouse while at college. She and her husband, Andrew, recently celebrated their 10-year anniversary, and have two little boys. As a family they enjoy finding adventure hiking, skiing, camping, biking, and exploring Mount Tabor.
Rebecca describes herself as a self-confident woman that seeks to better her community, and a lawyer who seeks to use her unique background (working poor family as a child to middle-class as an adult) and privilege (white, educated family) to lift-up those around her.
Giving back to her communities is important to Rebecca. She runs a free tax site that prepared taxes for low-income and elderly taxpayers, volunteers with her sorority mentoring college women, coordinates the endowment of two academic scholarships, and serves on local bar association committees
She went to law school with the goal of helping people like her parents - hard-working individuals that are masters of their craft. While at law school she found tax law intriguing. “I learned it can impact every aspect of a small business from entity formation to growth decisions and employee matters to sales and marketing. I also realized that to serve small business owners, I would need to understand estate planning as the family assets can all be held within the business. That's how I came to the beautiful trifecta of my service offering: business, tax, and estate,” she explains.
Her clients range from professional service firms to construction companies, household employers (aka parents that hire a nanny) to educators and artists, individuals to corporations, LLCs, S-Corps, partnerships, and sole proprietors.
Rebecca says she looks to mentors that foster growth in different phases of her life. “My mother, Dr. Maurine Dufault Fritch, is a role model for managing a successful career, motherhood, and running a business. My tax mentor, Valerie Sasaki, literally taught me all I needed to know about state and local tax to thrive at my first legal job -- tax associate at KPMG -- when she was an adjunct professor during my final semester of law school. My leadership mentor is a dear sorority sister, Angela Guillory, past national president of Sigma Kappa Sorority; she challenges me to be a better leader, a stronger leader, a compassionate listener, and a creative problem solver.”
Her biggest business struggle has been managing her own expectations. “I am a perfectionist by nature and strive for flawless execution in all I do, from baking cupcakes for my bon's birthday to drafting a legal document and presenting a workshop on intersectionality to constructing a balloon arch for the Walk to End Alzheimer's. There are instances where 95% isn't good enough (legal analysis for example), but many times it is more than enough (public speaking, sewing projects), and sometimes 80% is plenty (balloon arch).”
She advises new business owners to focus on progress over perfection. “I adopted this mantra in the early days of starting my business, when I felt as though I was ‘drinking from a fire hose.’ Even as the extreme hustle of building the foundation of my business wanes, I still return to this phrase.”
Her ideal referrals are family business owners who are ready to do those tasks that need to be done - transitioning from sole proprietor to a corporation of some sort to limit liability; drafting an estate plan that syncs up with their business succession plan; working through a tangles tax issue be in multiple years of unfiled federal returns or how to apportion income between multiple taxing jurisdictions; setting up a system that ensures all nanny compliance tasks are completed in a timely manner; or even a review of business contracts to ensure enforceability.
Rebecca enjoys being a part of the MOB for the support and energy. “That synergy that comes from having a group of passionate women empowering each other. Even amongst MOBs of the same industry, you see the building up, supporting, cheerleading, sharing best practices, and support. This is rare in the professional world. By lifting each other, we are making a real, tangible difference in bettering our community,” she explains.
Working for herself allows Rebecca the opportunity to help dreams become a reality for other small business owners and build genuine, sustainable relationships. “In serving clients that are also my neighbors, I am relieving them of a stress or burden which in turn allows them time to engage with their family, commit to growing their business, or volunteer in our community. The ripple waves radiate out from the work I do with family owned businesses to impact the broader community. Additionally, I am setting an example for my little ones. My two boys will watch their mother further her career, build a business, serve with integrity, and grow relationships through genuine and authentic communication. As mothers our actions when parenting have a great impact on our children, and our actions when not in the active parenting role (e.g., at work, volunteering, interacting with our adult friends) are also influencing what they learn about the world, how we interact with those around us.”
Rebecca’s exclusive offer to MOB Alliance members is a free 30 minute consult via phone or in person at her office.
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