DisruptHR Madison: Interview with Laura Gmeinder

024eebdLaura Gmeinder is a leadership coach, HR (business) consultant and motivational speaker. She believes we are all leaders, regardless of our title. Life is how you show up and the impact you have on others.

Laura loves working with individuals, teams and business owners to help them uncover the challenges they are facing (ah clarity) and create actionable steps to move forward. Her background in Human Resources and business savvy enables her to offer creative strategies for business owners as they build a business they love – that compliments the lifestyle they want to live.

Her passion is helping women harness their confidence so they feel empowered to create a life on their terms. Many of her clients are ambitious but often feel frustrated, burned out or stuck. They know they want more but don’t always know what is next or how to get the life they know they are meant to lead. Many dream of starting their own businesses as a way to help others – and live out their passion AND create a better work-life balance.

Laura took some time after the very successful DisruptHR Madison to share her insights with us.

HR Gazette: Why did you decide to organize DisruptHR Madison?

Laura: The soul searching that led me to start my own business also reaffirmed how much I love HR. I was looking for ways to give back and support my profession. And I missed being a part of a community. This movement encourages ideas and discussion about what we can do collectively to make the world of work better. I’m proud to be associated with DisruptHR.

HR Gazette: How did you get involved with DisruptHR Madison?

Laura: Coreyene and I had reconnected about a year ago to talk about our businesses and discuss collaboration opportunities. She mentioned the Disrupt idea and I was hooked. I signed on to co-organize and speak, the only one in the group with a dual role.

HR Gazette: What are some of the unique challenges and opportunities with DisruptHR?

Laura: Madison is such a great city with so much to do. Getting DisruptHR out there and sharing the opportunity is exciting and challenging all at the same time. We were very pleased with speaker interest and unfortunately had to turn down several talented individuals…at least for this go-around. The future looks bright for DisruptHR Madison!

HR Gazette: What do you admire most about your co-organizer(s)?

Laura: Coreyne is great to work with! It amazes me how much our strengths compliment each other. For example, I am in awe of her attention to detail. She’s always one step ahead and goes above and beyond to ensure an extremely professional process and event. The level of organization going into this event is building a strong foundation for not only DisruptHR Madison but the future of Disrupt in Wisconsin.

HR Gazette: How and when did you get involved with HR and Talent?

Laura: Truth be told I never set out to be an HR lady. We needed an internship to graduate and my other option was to do something in the nonprofit world. As a child, I spent a lot of time volunteering and because of that experience I assumed I’d eventually land in a nonprofit role. Getting a little corporate experience seemed like a great idea (read: backup plan). But my semester internship led to a job, which led to a career, which led to a business…a career path I would never have imagined for myself. Some days were hard (hello job eliminations…my heart and stomach hurt just thinking about those days) but I couldn’t be happier with how my work life has played out! So I guess in some way all the heart and hustle going into DisruptHR Madison is a tribute to my accidental career and a hope that everyone will find-create-do work they love (because we spend so much of our lives working —and our time here is too short to be anything but happy).

HR Gazette: You’re well known in the HR space. Please share 2 or 3 other ‘influencers’ in HR and Talent who you follow and tell us why.

Laura: My former boss Valerie Popp. She was also a mentor to me and one of the first to encourage me to rise to my potential. Because, really, all it takes is for someone to believe in you. I am also largely influenced by Rebecca Ryan having first become familiar work in Madison Magazine articles, such great insight, and Penelope Trunk for her incredible vulnerability and always challenging my way of thinking about work and life and everything in between.

HR Gazette: We are a big believer in the shift from traditional thoughts of HR to embracing modern HR as part of ‘people and culture‘. What does ‘people and culture’ mean to you?

Laura: I am a huge believer in work you love. People have strengths and they either embrace those or spend their whole life fighting what is meant to be. Culture is the people and the experience. Take good care of your people, help them develop their strengths and you will have a culture where people enjoy coming to work and are highly productive.

HR Gazette: What other DisruptHR chapters do you hope to visit and why?

Laura: I am so excited about the movement! I would love to speak at or attend other DisruptHR events. I would say LA (because I am encouraging a friend to take the stage), Sydney, AU or Belgium because I’ve never been there and would love to see how the world of work is different in another country.

HR Gazette: In 10 words or less tell us what Disrupting HR means to you.

Laura: Rebellious. Creative. Insightful. Community. Essential. What’s next.

HR Gazette: Finally.. if you could be a superhero, which superhero would you be and why?

Laura: She-Ra Princess of Power. She gracefully transitioned between her role of Adora and She-Ra. I feel like I have a delicate dance too between the role of co-organizer and speaker. Luckily I have help from the fabulous Coreyne Woodman- Holoubek (who has been so understanding and supportive of my dual role), and her “right hand do- it-all” Mary Callen (aka rock star), the Disrupt HR community (so many speakers are friends and people I admire) and my boyfriend who cheers me on every step of the way.


Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not of The HR Gazette or its team members.
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