Celia Dietrich, the founder and executive chair of Dietrich Partners, is a homegrown talent, which is good, because her skill is in helping public and privately held companies make the most of theirs.
In December her Denver-based management consulting firm released its “Rocky Mountain Region Middle Market 2021 Sentiment and 2022 Outlook.”
The report indicated that even though the impacts are letting up, the Rocky Mountain region’s middle market businesses — those with revenues from $10 million to $1 billion — still face challenges, including those around workforce, supply chain and mergers and acquisitions.
The trend was projected to continue through 2022, and it’ll spill into 2023 for some industries, the report notes.
Dietrich’s concern for the region hits close to her home, literally. She grew up in Arvada and holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Metropolitan State University of Denver and an MBA from the University of Colorado. She’s still a state-certified public accountant.
Her philanthropy and hands-on work in the community is extensive, including serving on the Board of Trustees with Children’s Hospital Colorado and is an advisory board member of Vectra Bank Colorado. She also is aboard member with the Anschutz National Mental Health Innovation Center and an advisory board member of Johnson Financial/JFG Wealth Management Group.
For 25 years, though, she’s held leadership roles in management consulting firms locally and globally. She started her own firm in 2014. Her clients include large public and privately held companies ranging from middle market to Fortune 100.
Dietrich Partners has been recognized nationally and locally, named 5000 a Fastest Growing Company, a 2021 Colorado Company to Watch, as well as a Great Place to Work in August by a research organization called Great Places to Work for All.
We caught up with Dietrich to get her perspectives on business, government, being a woman at the top and the advantages of growing up in metro Denver. Here’s what she told us:
Colorado Politics: What are the takeaways from the report you oversaw on the Rocky Mountain region’s business future?
Celia Dietrich: Overall, business leaders are cautiously optimistic. The pandemic and its effects brought new challenges for business leaders resulting in a mixed recovery – some rising to the challenge and realizing their most profitable years yet, while others are still struggling to recover. The report provides data in the areas of revenue, cash and investment, strategic planning, leadership and advisors, M&A activity, ESG, customer engagement, company culture, employee engagement, overall sentiment and more. A few data points of interest include:
1. 50% of Rocky Mountain region middle market executives report 2021 revenues exceeded expectations.
2. 43% of the region’s companies are strategically investing in technology and acquisitions.
3. Some private equity firms are waiting to invest, citing prospective companies being overvalued.
As business leaders plan for 2022 and beyond, they are using the skills and insights gained over a turbulent 24 months to equip them for the future. Leaders are nimbler, have a fresh perspective, and feel more equipped to take on challenges that may lie ahead.
CP: What can local government do to help?
Dietrich: One of the unique elements of Colorado is our collaborative business community that has diverse industry representation, fosters healthy competition, and supports partnership between local government and business owners. Denver has held long standing synergistic relationships with small business and the middle market companies alike while at the same time attracting large corporations to the region. Innovative programs such as the ScaleUp Network, Global Landing Pad, and the Business Investment Program have provided the foundation for a successful economy. Local government must continue to create a business-friendly climate through the creation and support of innovative programs and relationships in order to drive our economy forward.
CP: Colorado had a robust economy before the pandemic. How does it build on that success when the crisis period passes?
Dietrich: The pandemic has posed many challenges for our community and economy. As we continue to navigate the lasting effects and look to the future, it is vital we collectively remain engaged and committed to building a stronger Colorado. We must be engaged with our community, personal networks, and local government. No single segment of our economy or individual can do it alone, making it vital to find ways to work together towards positive solutions and innovation.
CP: Is being a woman CEO a unique challenge, or are those days behind us?
Dietrich: When it comes to delivering work, it’s not about gender – it’s about being the right capable person with the expertise, habits, and style to participate. At the same time, I do believe it is important for women to support one another and their businesses. The experiences women CEOs live can sometimes feel isolating, making it crucial to have a strong support system of women who relate to your reality and are willing to open doors for one another.
CP: What advice would you give a young woman who aspires to lead a company? What is the bedrock for a career at the top for anybody?
Dietrich: It is absolutely critical to have sponsors – people who have had direct experience with you and your company, trust what you bring to the table and refer you without reservation.
CP: How does growing up here give somebody a different perspective than moving here, or does it?
Dietrich: Growing up here I’ve been able to witness the many changes that have occurred in our state. While many of these changes have been positive, we’ve also seen the negative impacts of a growing city – growing pains if you will. Having the historical perspective about what has made Colorado such a great place to live and work is important as we continue to build a better, stronger Colorado.
CP: Why was Metro State a good choice for you, and what do you think gives it an edge for other students?
Dietrich: Metro was a great choice for me for a variety of reasons! As I student I was provided the flexibility to work a full-time job while earning my accounting degree. At the time I was working as a paralegal – I had originally wanted to be a lawyer, but my mother encouraged me to switch to an accounting career because “the world will always need accountants”. Not only was the campus close to home, allowing me to be close to family, but it also had one of the top accounting programs in the state.
As a student at Metro, you are with a diverse set of classmates – some are recent high school graduates, others are working professionals completing continuing education or looking to making a career change. Having the ability to study alongside those who can provide perspective and guidance on the professional world is invaluable and a competitive edge for Metro.