Our Own Ultimate CFO Honoree, Michele Baum
Michele Baum’s career with Raven Transport began 18 years ago. At the time, Raven was a small “over-the-road” transportation company, and Baum was tasked with overseeing a five-person executive management team. Under Baum’s leadership, Raven has grown significantly and now ranks among the top 220 truckload carriers in the country, producing $90 million in annual revenue.
The financial controls put in place by Baum during those early years certainly laid the groundwork for Raven’s nearly two decades of consistent growth. “I came to work [at Raven] with no job description, no former employee to follow in their footsteps,” Baum says. “My computer was totally blank … we built and designed our business from the ground up. Every spreadsheet, every job description, every internal control was developed by our management team and refined over the years.”
Baum has instilled a collaborative spirit at Raven that helped the company weather all the economic challenges a growing company could face during that time period, including one of the most significant recessions in history. “We have a very unique team as most of our non-driving associates have been with Raven for 10 plus years and our management team averages 18 years together,” Baum says. “Not many companies can say they have employee longevity like Raven.”
Baum says that she’s tried to keep her company up to speed on fast-changing industry trends and processes, incorporating new technologies and throughout the organization. And while the transportation industry can feel like a boys’ club, Baum’s been able to achieve great success, using her leadership qualities to inspire those around her. “Being successful in life means giving back and mentoring the next generation,” she says. “[The transportation industry] is a tough male-dominated industry and women have not always been welcomed and accepted … I would like to encourage and inspire women coming into the transportation industry to believe in themselves.”