Career Success. Business Motivation.
Personal career and business expertise, diverse education, successful entrepreneurial ventures, and multicultural knowledge – youll tap into all of these assets when you work with Laura Schlafly. She serves as your guide to finding your ideal career choices, and she brings a depth of knowledge to the table to help you map it out.
Learning from an Entrepreneur, Inventor & Mentor
Laura learned the skills of the entrepreneur early, working beside her parents. Her father, an auto body repair specialist, invented the portable sandblaster concept. It turned out to be a tool with a built-in customer base. Lauras father set the business up in the basement, and Laura, at the age of 10, learned to package spare parts for each unit. For over 30 years this company grew domestically and internationally. The brand name is still well-known today. But for Laura, there was even greater involvement to come.
A Consuming Interest Builds a Business Foundation
At the tender age of twelve, Laura inexplicably developed a strong affinity for Asian cultures, which seemed odd for a child growing up in Ohio in the 60’s. Her consuming passion continued right up to the time to select a college and a potential major area of study, which led to the selection of Ohio State University and a major in Japanese studies. During a summer study program at a Tokyo language school she lived with a Japanese family and formed deep friendships that have endured to this day.
Always Exploring New Fields and Skills
The fact that Japan had not yet developed into a business force in the U.S. did not stop Laura from taking side trips into other fields through which she began to build a diverse background of skills and knowledge. At Paine, Webber, Jackson, Curtis in downtown Cleveland, she was exposed to the stock brokerage business. When her father was considering retirement from the family business, Laura decided to support him again, taking on a greater role in marketing and strategic direction. As fathers have been known to do, hers changed his mind after a couple of years, so Laura directed her attention to getting further education and in spending five months living and traveling throughout Japan, cementing valuable friendships and contacts along the way.
Immersed in Business
Upon returning to the U.S., Laura acted on one element of her vision of combining business with her passion for “all things Asian”, and she enrolled in the MBA program at the University of Michigan. It was the marketing piece of this program that aligned most closely with her capabilities and interests, and when her husband’s work took them to Miami, she entered a new industry that was to engage her for many years……high tech products and services.
Laura’s timing was perfect for entering the technology industry. Her MBA status and marketing focus opened the doors for her years in product marketing management at a Miami-based, British-owned data communications company. She learned plenty about developing business plans and working with engineering, advertising and manufacturing to get new products designed, produced and marketed. The most engaging role was as a sale specialist working with the advanced products sales team and calling on large corporate prospect/customers, educating them on the value of data encryption.
Hidden Talent Emerges Helping the Family Enterprise
About the time that Laura was feeling stale in the data communications business, she began to receive news that the 30-year-old family business that her mother was now running solo was in trouble on several fronts. Laura decided to quit her product marketing job and took over running the company for the next three years. Truly it was a turnaround role involving all aspects of this company. The coup de gras was her decision to sell the business in the best interests of the shareholders. Another lesson was learned in how to sell a business!
New Role, More Learning, from Technology Industry
After the sale of the family business, Laura took a field sales position in a manufacturer’s representative company that was soon acquired by a rapidly growing computer network products company based in Silicon Valley. She spent the next 6 years with this exciting hi tech firm covering South Florida and the Caribbean. It was a time of huge industry growth with much money to be made. After 5 more years with more companies in this industry Laura hit the wall called “Dot Bomb” in 2001. But there was a beautiful silver lining to come of this experience.
Persistent, Risk-Taker, and Explorer
It was a time of self-reflection and re-direction for Laura. In the midst of the turmoil of 9-11 she felt the strong desire to make a physical move across the country, found the more refreshing lifestyle of the Pacific Northwest and settled in Portland. All this without having a job and knowing virtually no one.
Lucky for Laura that Portland, although known as a “big, small city”, and its people were welcoming.
She networked like crazy (before it was truly trendy) and decided not to return to the corporate world, but to return to her entrepreneurial roots.
Love of Things Asian Meets the Entrepreneurial Spirit
Laura saw an opportunity in yet another field new to her and, with that “never give up…keep learning” attitude, she founded XL Concepts, where she brokers various forms of Asian language advertising media and huge Asian expositions to U.S.-based businesses that wanted to reach Asian consumers.
The company thrived by engaging home builders, VoIP providers, universities, insurance companies, cable providers, visitors bureaus, casinos, airlines, piano stores…..you name it, that became good clients in the boom economy of 2005-2008.
Walking the Talk
It was in the mid-1990’s when the concept of “coaching” gained recognition as a valid method supporting people in their workplace, careers and personal lives. This is when Laura became interested in the value of the coaching concept and engaged with a coach to work with her on certain issues in her work environment and career track. Her experience as one on the receiving side of coaching for the last 20 years has been profoundly transformative in countless ways. Her decision to volunteer as a mentor within a large local job seeker group evolved directly from her own personal experience with the value of coaching in determining her own purpose in life.
Laura’s ultimate calling is to be to other seekers of Choice, Change, and Clarity, what those several coaches meant to her over the past many years. The experience has been both invaluable and transformational. Her mission is to share this kind of experience in helping others achieve their own clarity about their choices for change going forward.
Laura puts all of these varied experiences to work in her career coaching, workshops and presentations. Contact Laura and begin building new career paths of your own today.
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