Rising Stars 2023: Renee Hesselman

Renee Hesselman in detail

Age: 39.

Job title/occupation/place of employment: Partner, Honkamp, P.C.

Volunteer activities: Treasurer, Four Mounds Foundation; treasurer, Our Lady of Guadalupe Parent Association.

Education: Bachelor of Arts, magna cum laude, Clarke University.

Family: Husband, Ted; son, Max, 11; daughters, Madeline, 10, and Mira, 4.

Person most inspirational to me and why: My parents — they instilled the importance of strong marriage, hard work ethic, prioritizing family, compassion for others and enjoying life to its fullest.

Favorite thing to do outside of work: I enjoy spending time with my husband and three kids, whether it’s attending their various events and sports activities or traveling.

One word to describe me: Passionate.

What’s one thing that most people would be surprised to know about you: I am an only child.

Greatest fear: Flying.

What’s the one thing you are most passionate about in life: I am passionate about building strong and meaningful relationships. One of my favorite aspects of work and the charitable activities I am involved in is the relationships I have been able to build with my coworkers, clients and community members.

Renee Hesselman has a head for numbers.

As a shareholder and CPA at Honkamp, P.C., Hesselman knew she had landed where she belonged the moment she began her internship there.

“I was a business major at Clarke (University),” she said. “Once I started taking accounting classes there, I knew it was my thing. I started an internship (at Honkamp) after my sophomore year, and I’ve been here ever since.”

Honkamp’s president and CEO, Katie Thomas, nominated Hesselman for Rising Stars.

Renee’s career at Honkamp has been a business success story. She started there as an intern in 2003, but longtime Senior Accountant Khris Rettenmeier said even then, “you knew she had what it took” to become a leader in the company. And become a leader she did. Renee garnered promotions, and by 2017, she had become one of the company’s shareholders.

Hesselman said her volunteerism outside of her professional life was inspired by those she worked with at Honkamp.

“When I was first hired here, Arnie Honkamp (who has since passed away) and the rest of our leadership did a tremendous job of being involved in the community,” she said. “I saw how hard they all worked in the community. We work hard, but we like to give back.”

Hesselman has a special place in her heart for the Four Mounds Foundation, where she has served on the board for 15 years, many of them as treasurer. She has particularly enjoyed seeing the growth of Four Mounds’ HEART (Housing, Education and Rehabilitation Training) program to include young adults beyond high school.

“If higher education isn’t their role, it can be so hard to make a connection and figure out what’s next,” she said. “I think it’s important to give back to the community where we live and work and where we raise our children.”

Hesselman also gives of her time and expertise as the treasurer of the Our Lady of Guadalupe Spanish Immersion School’s parent association. She assists with a number of events, including the school’s largest fundraiser in the fall every year.

Rettenmeier said it would be easy for a successful businesswoman like Renee to “just write a check” in support of those organizations.

“To give her time is more valuable,” Rettenmeier said.

Hesselman said her colleagues at Honkamp, both past and present, provided a solid model of exactly how to do that.

“It’s so important to try to help where you can, however you can,” she said.