Laura Gray is the director of client services and business development at Maloney + Novotny LLC, a leading accounting firm based out of Cleveland. She is also the founder and executive director of IPride, a self-esteem program for youth that focuses on meditation, mindfulness and creative expression, as well as a published author and mother of three sons. Laura driving principle is “Who can I help today?”, drawing on painful and traumatic past experiences to help others love themselves and be the best and most generous people they can possibly be.
- What is Laura most excited about right now?
- Life in general, and the energy she feels in her professional and non-profit work.
- What was Laura’s first step in her career?
- Working in marketing for the United Way in Cleveland, which introduced her to non-profits and compelled Laura to work to help others.
- How did she transition from non-profit United Way to the for-profit private sector?
- General Electric recruited her through the United Way campaign she was working on for them.
- Did Laura know she was going to return to the world of non-profit organizations?
- She did not have any plan, but it was destined to happen because of her innate drive to help others.
- What was the most challenging part of restarting her career following a period of temporary retirement?
- Getting hired in the first place and establishing trusting, working relationships
- How does Laura’s “Who can I help today?” philosophy manifest in her regular interactions?
- Thinking of ways to serve or be of service to others.
- Hear her talk about how one good deed came back around to help her later.
- How did IPride come to be?
- Laura drew on her prolonged, horrific experience with abuse as a child .
- Took up activities and participated in programs that allowed her to build up physical and emotional self-esteem, and wanted to bring the joy they brought her to others.
- Created a program that embraces fun.
- What is Laura’s advice to those looking to heal from trauma and love themselves?
- Don’t try to diminish your pain by comparing it to someone else who has endured “more.” Everybody’s pain is equally valid and real.
- Journaling and meditation help a lot.
- How does IPride operate?
- Starting off with establishing calm and mindfulness, then moving to physical fitness and art therapy.
- Children learn how to visualize and present their inner thoughts and ideas.
- What was the most challenging part of getting IPride off the ground?
- How personal a project it was to her.
- What is Laura’s advice for those looking to start their own non-profit?
- To do it, but also listen to your heart to figure out the best time.
- Make use of the networks and connections available to you.
- Who has been the most impactful person in Laura’s journey to do well and succeed professionally?
- Her father.
- Who has been the most important person in feeding her drive to do good and make an impact?
- Her mother.
- What does she do to get herself out of a negative headspace?
- Singing and dancing (Michael Jackson helps a lot).
- What book does Laura find herself recommending to people most often?
- Diana Herself: An Allegory of Awakening by Martha Beck
- What is the best piece of advice Laura would like to hand off to our listeners?
- Best: Be humble
Do Well & Do Good Challenge Nomination:
“IPride is a self-esteem building program for youth with an emphasis on creative thought/expression and basic physical fitness. IPride is comprised of 2 sessions: IPride Write and IPride Fit.”
Do Well and Do Good’s free Facebook community can be found here.