"Why is Laura bothering to do all this?"
This is the question my aunt asked of my father the other day. In her view, I’m at the time of life where I should just be coasting my way to the retirement finish line. Why, in heaven’s name, am I pushing myself to write a book, start a new business, chase speaking opportunities, seek consulting contracts, and learn how to promote myself on social media? It just seems like so much work!
And it is.
It’s a lot of work. However, it’s work that I am passionate about doing. Maybe I want to leave a legacy. Maybe I just want to accomplish something before I die. Or maybe there’s more—maybe I’ve finally found my voice, and I have something to say!
A few years ago, I was happily putting in time. I enjoyed my work in learning and development and collaborating with my colleagues. And then everything changed. I started to network. This was new to me. I’ve had a long career, but networking was never part of what I did. Truthfully, I had no idea what it really was and how to do it properly. However, I learned quickly and began to grow my professional network. As luck would have it, I connected with Lorie Corcuera, who became a friend and someone who opened up a door to a whole new professional world for me.
Through Lorie, I was introduced to the Women in Tech Regatta, and Melody Biringer. It was at the Regatta that I truly found my voice. For the first time in my life, I was on stage with something to say to the business community. I became visible, and credible, and my voice was heard.
The Regatta experience led to mentoring, coaching, more speaking opportunities, and new friendships. I learned what it means to “find your tribe”. I was supported by these new friends, and supported them in return. In finding my voice, I also found the courage to speak up about what I knew to be right.
Over the last 2 years, I’ve met a lot of people—many of whom have confided in me and shared their stories of why they chose to quit their manager. The stories reached a critical mass where I felt it was no longer enough to listen and coach. I had to spread the message wider, and chose to write a book. It was challenging and, at times, heart wrenching. I’m often plagued with imposter syndrome (Who am I to write a book? I don’t have my masters of anything!) and have no idea how to sell a book (Who is going to buy this thing? What do I do to market it? Why should anyone want to buy it anyway?). In spite of all that, I persevered. The driving force was the people behind the stories featured in my book. These people not only trust in me to tell their stories, but they also believe that I have the platform to share them with a wide audience. I can’t let them down!
And so, here I am on my latest adventure. I have created C-Change Learning and Development to support my book. My company exists to evangelize the message of people-centered workplaces and the part of the manager in employee engagement and retention. I believe in managers—in their power and desire to do what’s right—and I believe in me!
I am living proof that it doesn’t matter how old one is or at what career stage. There is always a place for doing the right thing and following your passion.
Why am I doing all this work at this time in my life? Because, dammit, I have something to say, and it’s in service of all those out there who are frustrated, maybe angry, and are ready to quit their jobs! I want to help all those who feel disengaged and disillusioned, and I will do so by training managers to provide the kind of workspaces where people feel engaged, supported, and allowed to achieve their potential. In the process, I will help companies realize greater employee retention, customer satisfaction, and—yes—profits.
I have found my voice, and I will use it!