Grace Pederson ’21 and Abby Freeland ’22 completed Eide Bailly’s BOLD program last fall. BOLD is a three-month program focusing on leadership development for students in business-related areas of study. The program provides an opportunity for high achieving female-identifying students to learn and apply leadership skills, step outside of their comfort zone, experience mentorship, and develop personally and professionally.

Pederson and Freeland first heard about the program from a campus recruiter who spoke with students in Concordia’s Women in Business student organization. After learning more about the BOLD program, both were motivated to apply for this leadership development opportunity. Each is driven to be successful and knew applying to the program would benefit their future careers.

“I always strive to be better,” Pederson says. “I know that I can keep growing in some way, whether that’s professionally or personally, and I thought this program provided no better way to reach my goals.”

Freeland was eager to be a part of the program because she wanted to gain more connections for networking and also get involved with a company she was looking to apply for an internship with.

Before the program’s kickoff, BOLD mentees and mentors were asked to complete a personality assessment to help provide the best match for the program. Over the summer, the 10-12 mentee and mentor pairings were encouraged to meet virtually to get to know each other. During these virtual meetups, mentees were able to ask questions they had about different business-related topics.

The official program ran on a virtual platform from September through November and consisted of eight sessions for two to three hours at a time, each providing a new learning opportunity for both mentees and mentors. These discussions highlighted different topics ranging from finding your true self, networking tips and tricks, vulnerability, and gratitude.

“I learned tips on how to be successful,” Pederson says. “It made it fun to interact with others my age who had the same mindset to want to grow.”

Abby Freeland

Freeland, an accounting major from Mayville, N.D., says the program helped her step outside of her comfort zone. 

“I realized that not everything is going to go the way we want, so we just have to ‘embrace the suck’ and appreciate how valuable building relationships and connections can be,” she says.

After completing the BOLD program, Freeland applied to Eide Bailly for an internship and is currently working as an audit intern.

Grace Pederson

Pederson, from Warroad, Minn., is double majoring in finance and business with a concentration in marketing.

“I enjoyed being able to put school and work away for a while and learn and grow with other women,” she says.

Now that the program is finished, Freeland and Pederson are part of the alumni group and meet every couple of months with other BOLD alumni from previous years. For these two Cobbers, empowering and inspiring young women is important.

“I think that because business-related majors and the industry is so male-dominated, women need that extra support and confidence to help when striving to be a leader or achieve a high position,” Freeland says.

Both are actively involved on campus, especially with Women in Business and the Rachel Hollstadt Women in Leadership Program through the Offutt School of Business.