I’m excited to share Laura with you today.
I met Laura over 20 years ago during my internship at a local public relations agency. The entire group became fast friends and I spent the next two years soaking up everything I could from this incredible team. I admired Laura’s knack for quickly building relationships with clients - she was smart, funny, and crazy talented, and I felt like I was in the presence of a celebrity when she had her first book published. As a writer, a published book is some kind of far off dream, but her talent had turned it into a reality. She went on to write and publish three other books, under the name Laura Young, just to prove to herself that she could do it, and do it well.
From a young age Laura was inspired by a special woman, her mother, who was also a writer. While her mother was never published, Laura read and admired her words, and the way that she fit all the things into life so effortlessly. From an early age, Laura was encouraged to write, and that encouragement has translated into success throughout her life. Today Laura’s writing can regularly be seen in The Voice (Tribune) Magazine, MD Update, Churchill Downs Magazine, and Extol, among many others.
While Laura’s career took twists and turns through both corporate and nonprofit roles, she is loving her current role as entrepreneur.
Along the way I watched other people go off and do things for themselves, incorporating the elements that they loved into a career, and I realized I could also do that. I found myself a 42-year-old first-time mom, and I wanted a piece of that.
That spurred Laura on to launch her own consulting business, providing both public relations and writing services to a variety of clients.
Like so many of us, Laura was faced with this intense desire to be both full-time mom and full-time career super woman. But for Laura, it was different. She and husband of 10 years, Ken, met later in life. When most of her friends were well past settled into marriage and children, Laura and Ken were still in the butterfly stage of first dates. But their whirlwind romance quickly led to a marriage, and a couple short years later, a beautiful baby girl, named Grace.
“I wanted to do it all, but there was a part of me that heard you can’t have it all. The structure of the business side wasn’t satisfying anymore, and I thought, if others could be a success, why can’t I,” she said. “I’m not mommy of the year, but I want to be there when Grace needs a hug or a cookie - I want to be there to enjoy it."
I want to do it all, is the theme that echoes in so many mom’s heads as they struggle for that perfect balance, but Laura has a theory, and it goes back to her school days.
I enjoyed hearing her recount the profound impact one teacher had on her and her classmates during her time at Sacred Heart Academy. This particular teacher demanded excellence from her girls, all while teaching them they could do anything and be anyone. For that teacher, she had grown up during a time when women didn’t have that freedom. Laura believes she pushed her students to be the best to give them opportunities that many other women hadn't had in the past.
The result, a group of strong-willed, successful females set on changing the world and being everything to everyone. And from that experience, Laura learned to work hard and push the limits. She also learned the importance of having people in your corner to encourage you on your journey.
We’re all just trying to get through the day. We need to recognize we all have individual stories and we’re all trying to be super woman. It’s never a competition.
One super woman in Laura’s life is Lara MacGregor. We’ll meet Lara a little later on our Real Mom journey, but Lara is an inspiration, not just to Laura, but thousands of other women too. Lara is currently battling terminal breast cancer and an uncertain future, but she is a wife, mom, Hope Scarves founder, and the epitome of grace and kindness.
“When I’m wondering how to respond in certain situations, I always think about what Lara would say,” said Laura. “She’s wonderful with words of encouragement and offering support to other women around her.”
This interaction has no doubt inspired Laura as a mom herself, as she regularly shares with her daughter, a personal mantra - listen well, learn a lot, laugh a lot, laugh some more, and above all, be kind.
At the end of the day, women need each other. They need to be reminded that they’re doing a great job and they don’t have to do it all. And sometimes those reminders come from the ones we least expect.
“It was just a normal day for me, but Grace said, you’re my superhero, because you do it all,” said Laura. “I want her to know that she can juggle all the things - I want to empower her as she grows.”
Thank you, Laura, for sharing your journey with us and being such an inspiration to so many women around you!