Class of 2009
When she was selected for the Class of 2009, Ranadene K. Tapio was the spark behind Big Give MN, a not-for-profit organization launched in April 2008.
What are you doing now?
Chief officer and director of business solutions at Business Office Consultants in Sauk Rapids, which offers expertise on revenue cycles in the health care industry. BigGiveMN.com is still going strong!
How did the 5 Under 40 award affect your life?
It made me much more aware of how — what each person does within their own communities — affects others. How helping someone, leads them to help someone else — the ripple effect of it all. I've been fortunate to speak at area organizations around town about volunteering and the impact one person can have.
Other big changes since you received the award?
In the past five years, I have officially entered my 40s! Our children are now 11 and 15. My husband and I recently celebrated our 17th anniversary. We've moved houses within our community. I've run and sold two businesses.
What will make the St. Cloud area greater in coming years?
Community involvement. It doesn't have to be big or organized. It's so important for everyone, to reach out to those around them. Offer support right within your own circles. Teach the children in your lives, how to give and volunteer. For the sake of it, without expecting anything in return.
Originally ran: January 1, 2010
Randi Tapio knows what it's like to need help.
In 2000 she was commuting to work at a Golden Valley clinic when she got into a car accident. Tapio's broken ribs and shattered left femur meant she couldn't hold or feed her 6-month-old daughter, Ashley.
And she couldn't work, resulting in the loss of two-thirds of the household income.
That experience forced her to re-evaluate. She knew she wanted to continue her work in the medical field, which she had been doing in various capacities since she was 15. But she didn't want to be the kind of mom who was constantly rushing and never spending time with her family.
So she started a medical billing company, MediBill Professionals, out of her basement in April 2001. She handles medical billing, consulting and other services for small- and mid-sized health care practices.
Business has been good to her. It took a few years to get momentum, but she eventually grew. She hired one other person, who worked with her from 2005 to 2007. Then business boomed. In 2007 she moved to Midtown Square mall in St. Cloud to accommodate the growth. She employed eight billers and had a total of 12 employees.
"It's a roller coaster at times," she said.
Indeed. The recession has hit her business, as it has many. So she recently moved back to her basement in Sauk Rapids. She employs five billers, although she will hire more as she brings on more clients.
She is poised to help her clients transition completely to electronic billing as more health care organizations move to electronic medical records. MediBill's clients don't have the expertise or budgets to do that, but her staff has experience helping national vendors implement such programs.
She, the staff and their clients stay competitive on trends through continuing education. MediBill has forged relationships with the local Rasmussen College and has taken on interns from the school. It also hosts regular training sessions on topics such as HIPAA, customer service, practice management and hiring.
Besides the business, one of Tapio's greatest accomplishments is founding Big Give MN, a not-for-profit organization launched in April 2008.
She had been a member of the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce leadership group. During a group visit to The Salvation Army, she met a man who told his story of job struggles. He urged her to use her skills and abilities as a business owner to help him get a better job.
He looked familiar. He was a Vietnam veteran like her dad, Garry, who had died of a stroke and heart attack in 2005. He looked like her dad in some ways.
When she asked for his name, he told her she already knew it. It was Gary.
"That was a huge moment for me," she said. "It was just so completely eerie."
Since then, she has used her network and skills to connect people in need with everything from furniture to diapers. Big Give doesn't collect money; it connects people who have things to give with people who need those items.
"It truly feeds my soul," she said.
And she remembers when she needed help — and hope. No matter how small, she wants to give that to her staff, her family and the community.
"I'm doing my part in the world to give people hope," she said.
Education: Bachelor's degree in health care management and geriatrics from North Dakota State University.
Hometown: St. Cloud.
Involvement: Girl Scouts, volunteer at Living Waters Lutheran Church in Sauk Rapids, and help with various nonprofits on what's called a furniture committee.
Job: Owner, MediBill Professionals LLC and co-founder of nonprofit Big Give MN.
How she leads: "We compensate our entry-level staff fairly — and as our team members gain experience and broaden their knowledge within the company, we pay them for that drive and dedication," Tapio wrote in her 5 Under 40 award application. "From the top down, respect and teamwork is expected of everyone. If you ask those who work for me, I know they will say that they enjoy their jobs, our environment and our culture."
She said business owners should believe in their dreams. "Go for it," she said. "And failure is only when you stop when you hit a roadblock."