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Money Tales

Managing Dumpster Fires, with Rachel Donnelly


In this episode of Money Tales our guest is Rachel Donnelly. When she was a young adult, Rachel’s mom was diagnosed with cancer and passed away a couple of weeks later. Rachel’s dad had previously died, so along with dealing with the shock and emotions, Rachel was probating her mom’s estate. She was also stepping into her mother’s shoes by taking care of her uncle, who was in the later stages of Parkinson’s disease. This meant even more logistics of getting the power of attorney, healthcare proxy, and other legal documents in place for her uncle. Rachel tells us she remembers standing in the parking lot of a bank after trying to set up an estate banking account after her uncle died and wondering why someone wasn’t available to help her manage this incredible dumpster fire. This got Rachel’s entrepreneurial blood flowing and inspired her to start a business.

Rachel is a driven and compassionate entrepreneur who has used her personal experiences to create meaningful change for others. After enduring several losses, including the death of her parents, she founded AfterLight (formerly Black Dress Consultants), a business that assists clients in managing the administrative tasks associated with legacy planning and after loss. Her goal is to enable clients to focus on healing in grief and getting back to the things that really matter after a loss.

Rachel is also the co-founder of Professionals of After Loss Services (PALS), a training and support network for industry professionals who offer services to individuals and families after the loss of a loved one. This industry organization has been instrumental in enhancing the quality of services available to those coping with loss.

Before starting AfterLight, Rachel worked in higher education fundraising for several institutions, including Agnes Scott College, Emory University, and Georgia Institute of Technology.

Rachel is a proud alumna of Agnes Scott College, where she earned her degree. She also serves on the Board of Directors of Love Not Lost, a non-profit organization based in Atlanta that provides grief tools and free photography sessions for families facing terminal diagnoses. Rachel is also a member of the Atlanta Estate Planning Council.

Rachel resides in Atlanta with her husband Zack and their two children. She is dedicated to her family and her community and continues to make a positive impact through her work.

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