Featured Member: September // Featured Member // News // Sep 01 2015
What is your background? What got you to where you are now?
I love helping people refine who they are and what they want out of work and life. I am passionate about helping businesses to thrive as they develop teamwork and leadership skills with an emphasis on utilizing each person’s strengths to allow employees do what they do best individually- and collectively. Setting employees up for success ensures that the company will excel.
My background is in adult education (training and facilitating). My college internship as a human resources generalist turned into a job, one that lasted 14 years. I am a people person and very outgoing so as a HR professional I was drawn to recruiting, coaching and counseling and employee engagement. As my career progressed I started getting more involved in the community. I took on leadership roles and built up my skill sets and my confidence. I also started coach training and working with coaches to learn the skill from inside out and cherry pick best practices. I was drawn to coaching as the changes I experienced in my life were significant! I was finally comfortable in my own skin and had the confidence to do anything I believed I could and was willing to work hard to accomplish.
After awhile I outgrew my role at my company and knew it was time for something more challenging so I started coaching on the side. In taking time to figure out who I was and what I wanted out of life I realized that I really did like human resources so that is why I decided to incorporate both coaching and consulting in my business, skills that have proven to be very complimentary. My business really utilizes all of my skill sets and allows me to do what I like and am good at; my corporate experience is what sets me apart from my competitors..
What business do you own/work for?
Laura Gmeinder Coaching & Consulting, LLC
What made you decide to start your business?
I tried to ignore my calling for several years because it seemed so risky to be an entrepreneur but ever time I would look at a new job or try to envision my perfect day at work I kept thinking about owning my own business until it was the only choice that made sense. Now with some of the speaking I do I share my journey as a way to inspire others! I love helping people and businesses in a meaningful way. I am at my best when I have a variety of projects to work on and enjoy the flexibility and creativity that comes with working with who you want, when you want. Truly every day is better than the last. It’s so freeing to be yourself and do what you do best! That is the secret to success.
What is your biggest accomplishment so far in life and why?
Serving as President of the Junior League of Madison is an accomplishment I am very proud of. Running an organization of 300 women dedicated to improving the lives of women and children in the Madison area was a goal I had set for myself but one that seemed too big; the thought of it was scary. When I was first asked, I turned down the opportunity because I didn’t think I was ready. Luckily, they asked again. I am so grateful for this second chance as life has taught me they are rare! I am so proud of the way the Junior League supports the Madison community by providing trained volunteers and financial resources to support women and children.
I really think that the opportunity to lead opened my eyes to what could be and encouraged me to play big. It helped prepare me for my biggest undertaking: starting my own business. This experience taught me that you never feel 100% ready to do something, so you should just do it anyway if it is important to you.Women in particular really struggle with impostor syndrome so sometimes you just have to fake it until you make it. But really what you need to be successful it already within you!
What is your biggest accomplishment in your business and why?
My biggest accomplishment is supporting a client who needed to overhaul teamwork and communication in their company with the goal of developing trust to encourage participation of the management team in the creation of strategic initiatives. Seeing, and hearing about, how things shifted and how developing a higher level of engagement impacts the bottom line really motivates me. Engagement at a high level is priceless to the long term success of an organization. Culture shift is hard; it doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a concerted effort day in and day out to lead, to demonstrate (and inspire) the attitude and work product you expect, to coach your employees to work in a way that aligns with the company mission and vision. This is what sets apart good companies from great companies in a competitive economy. It is also what retains your top talent in an economy where up to 80% of people don’t like that jobs and aren’t engaged. I really enjoy the challenge that comes with tackling these types of workplace dynamics and how my role as coach and consultant guides teams to where they want to be.
What is the biggest obstacle that you have face while in business? What is the biggest fear that you have for your business?
I think the biggest challenge for me is not having someone to regularly bounce ideas off of. I am a Libra and so a bit indecisive at points, which is challenging if you are a soloprenuer. I recognized early on this could ultimate sink my business. Knowing your weaknesses is really a strength because than you can do something about it. I have a hard time asking for help (must be the big sister in me) but if I think of it as advocating for my (business’) needs then I will do whatever it takes to find resources and support. I am a proud member of the Doyenne Group and their community has been a great support to me. I have also benefited greatly from working with coaches and seeking out mentor relationships, specifically my SCORE mentor.
The biggest fear that I have is growing too fast or too slowly and how that will impact my clients. But I remind myself that I need to follow my intuition and continue to attract the right clients and everything will work out perfectly.
If you could give one quote to live by, what would it be?
“Do one thing every day that scares you.”
An interesting life is cultivated at the edge of your comfort zone!
What does Madison need to encourage entrepreneurs to stay and grow their businesses?
LEAP! There is no feeling like following your passion. Every day is better than the last. I feel so fortunate to be an entrepreneur in Madison. The support and encouragement I receive on a daily basis is inspiring. Also, it’s never too early to start asking for help- even if you just have an idea or are thinking about starting a business. I wish I would have reached out sooner. There are so many organizations, groups and people ready to point you in the right direction but looking back, early on I spent a lot of time spinning my wheels. People want to see you succeed, especially the Doyenne Group.
What words of advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?
I think Madison needs to make sure that everyone is aware of the resources that are available and continue to build on, finance and support what’s offered to entrepreneurs. I am a participant in this year’s Leadership of Greater Madison program this year and we are focusing on projects that help high school teens think about career opportunities and encourage them to stay here to start their careers. At one of our meeting Zach Brandon came in and highlighted StartingBlock I think this is a great resource and one that is really needed to keep- and grow- the next generation of entrepreneurs in Madison. There needs to be more discussion around entrepreneurship as a career path early on.