C4W Member Profile: Laura Olsen

What is your profession? Photographer // Laura Olsen Imagery

What do you enjoy doing outside of your career? Playing with my two dogs, Calliope and Peanut.  Reading and rock climbing are also two favorite pastimes.

How long have you been a member of the Center for Women? I have been a part of the C4W as a volunteer and member for about six years.

What inspired you to become a member? My mother told me that there are three kinds of people; the first kind talk about themselves, the second kind talks about others, but the third kind are the most interesting, they talk about ideas.  The Center for Women is a group of women who come together to talk about ideas.  I will always be a member for that reason.

What kind of impact has the Center for Women had on you? I now believe in the power of partnership to move all who participate forward.  I always struggled with the idea that to get ahead I had to beat someone else.  I was never good at sports, so the idea of competition was foreign and frightening.  But, through the Center for Women, I have seen time and again that the best way to get ahead is to bring others with you.  Partnership is a beautiful thing.  I am grateful to the Center for creating a community of women who also believe in the power of partnership.

How has living day-to-day as a woman affected you? I am fortunate to have been told as a little girl that I could one day be the President if that’s what I wanted to be.  That was not really a part of my life plan, but still it’s nice to be told.   I have always been artistic and creative.  Women are not only accepted members of the world of the arts, but vital.  I had the fortune of having female heroines that had gone before me and had succeeded in doing great things.  It’s not like that for every girl.  I am grateful that I grew up with a feeling of belonging in the direction that I had chosen.   And to all women striving to make it in a male dominated field I say; Press on!  Because girls will grow into women in your field believing that they too belong equally with the boys.  The world does not disagree with what a girl grows up believing.

What kind of message would you like to send out to women who are trying to succeed in today’s economy? First I must say, when you find and follow your passion success is inevitable.

In economic downturns it’s exhausting to wade through all of the bad news that bombards us.  News media, business meetings, daily banter, sometimes it can feel like things are just terrible everywhere and are not getting better.  One must have energy to plow through the dismal outside world and to focus on the task at hand.  When the task at hand is thriving by living your passion, then you don’t have time to watch the doom and gloom channel.

A passion wakes you at dawn and won’t let you sleep at night. You can’t wait to keep moving forward to see your dreams and ideas come to life.  Energy to get through the day isn’t always effortless, but more days than not it sure feels that way.  Your conversation is enlivened and your demeanor changes. People are naturally drawn to your enthusiasm.  They want to be a part of what you are doing. Success can’t help but find you.

The reality is that not everyone can quit their job and follow their dreams in an instant.  It happens, yes, but not to everyone.  But passion for life can be revitalized in you in the form of a perspective change.  When you stop looking at your job as a job but as something that touches people’s lives, as all interactions have the potential to lift others or drag them down, you then develop a new way of seeing the world.  It’s that perspective change that can begin to bring you success right where you are, even if that’s not where you will eventually end up.

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