Renae Shields is the founder and CEO of Core Value Consulting, LLC, a consulting firm specializing in finance, operations, planning and training for small businesses, nonprofits and government agencies. Renae acts as a coach and confidant to owners and managers – providing research, training, and planning.

Accounting and Finance
Organizational Development
Strategic Planning
Entrepreneurship & Management Consulting


Business planning and organizational development have been Renae’s focus since 1989 when she became partner and CFO in an economic development and land use planning firm that specialized in industrial startup and expansion programs.

Renae’s career experience includes serving as a loan, grant, and equity fund program manager and economic development director for a nonprofit foundation; owner, CFO, and COO of three for-profit companies; and working as a consultant with the nonprofit division of a large consulting firm to nonprofits.

Renae has worked with the boards and staffs of several nonprofit and for-profit organizations to bring them through the organizational planning processes of strategic planning and business planning. In addition, she has 15 years of experience providing in-depth QuickBooks and planning services to nonprofits and businesses, worked on short and long-term projects specific to program evaluation, marketing, financial analysis, and sourcing and training on specific applications. Renae frequently works with large nonprofit organizations, providing one-on-one technical assistance on business topics to their loan and program clients.


A summa cum laude graduate of Minnesota State University, Mankato, Renae created and implemented entrepreneurship curricula to initiate two high school entrepreneurship programs and an entrepreneurship program for at-risk youth. Her role as a high school business instructor included creating and directing programs in youth entrepreneurship, youth apprenticeship, and workforce development. As an adjunct faculty member of a technical college, she taught courses in entrepreneurship, ethics, documentation and written skills for supervisors, and time management.

Renae has been certified as an instructor for FastTrac® Entrepreneurship training programs through the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. She also developed and taught an entrepreneurship course for the Harold Anderson Entrepreneurial Center and has served as a facilitator in the Anderson Center’s Manager’s Forum Pilot Program.

Renae has enjoyed serving on the Board of Directors, Loan Committee, and Treasurer of Prairieland Economic Development Corporation, Treasurer of the Center for Nonprofit Excellence and Social Innovation in St. Cloud, MN, the Board of Directors of Central Lutheran School in St. Paul, MN, Treasurer of a community group developing renewable energy in rural Minnesota, Treasurer of a local lake improvement association, the Board of Directors of Stevie Ray’s Improv Company, and as a church trustee.

A client list is available on request.

the spirit of teaching

The issues facing most small businesses and nonprofit organizations can be complex, but they are not insurmountable. From establishing best practices in start-up organizations to building better systems, infrastructure, and operating procedures in existing organizations, Core Value Consulting helps leaders to do things better in a constructive environment.

My philosophy guides me in working with you to:

  • Ask pertinent questions specific to your organization
  • Help you to gain perspective and a develop a deeper understanding of the issues facing you
  • Develop solutions that will address your current problems
  • Use this challenge as an opportunity to deepen your understanding and ability to solve the issues that will face you in the future

my experience influences how I think about things

As the owner of three businesses, as a licensed business education instructor, as a commercial lender, and as the daughter of a small business owner, I bring a long history and knowledge of business issues to my work. From first-hand experience, I understand that everything is integrated with everything else – and how making a decision in one area of the operations of an organization may affect another aspect of that organization.

everything is related to everything else

You have an organization to run. Whether you are a small business selling products or services, or a nonprofit serving your community, what you sell or how you serve should be your focus. Knowing every aspect of operations, accounting, or marketing is probably not what has helped you to become successful thus far, unless you own an accounting or marketing firm. But, in order to be successful, you do need to develop a good enough understanding of these aspects of business to make good decisions, and that is where I come in.

common-sense coaching

It takes a person who has real-life experience and common sense to assist you in making wise management decisions and determining what factors will help you achieve the biggest impact in your organization.

That business owner doesn’t need to understand the nuts and bolts of their QuickBooks accounting system, hear the theory of financial statements, or listen to the lingo of a textbook. But they should understand what the numbers on their own balance sheet mean, what ratios the bank is going to look at when it makes a lending decision, and whether their “short-term” cash flow problem is truly a short-term problem, or a red flag for a much larger problem.

Together with the business owner, we sit down with their financial statements and walk them through the numbers in a very practical way. Together, we develop financial and operating systems and a reporting structure that is based on solid assumptions and an understanding of the real forces at work in their business.

with knowledge comes power

The right kind of practical knowledge can give business owners or nonprofit leaders the confidence to move forward knowing they have made business decisions that are based on solid assumptions.

Because I work with accounting software on a daily basis, because I understand financial statements in a practical way, and because I have been where you are, I can help you to be successful. The reward? You sleep better at night.


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