Business & Leadership Coach/Professional Speaker, Laura Gmeinder, Wisconsin, USA

Laura Gmeinder

“This situation has reminded me to be more patient with myself. I’m ambitious and I had some big plans for this year. I’ve had to regularly remind myself it’s ok–and necessary–to slow down, to feel all of the feels, and to cling to my gratitude. There’s a time and place for being a hustler, and this isn’t it–for me anyway.”

As a certified coach, strategic consultant, and in demand speaker, Laura Gmeinder of Wisconsin, USA has over 20 years of experience making it her life’s mission to empower women and provide the support they need to be successful (on their terms) in business and life. Laura is a International Coach Federation certified coach (ACC) and holds her Professional of Human Resources (PHR) certification, with a Bachelor’s of Science in adult education from the University of Wisconsin- Madison.

Laura says that after surviving a “quarter life crisis,” she’s learned to make friends with her fear, and courageously left her corporate HR job (after 14 years) to set out to make an impact in the world. Her entrepreneurial spirit has lead her to started several award winning businesses including Laura Gmeinder Coaching & Consulting; she has been recognized as an InBusiness Magazine “40 Under 40”, honored for her business savvy and civic contributions, and a BRAVA Magazine “Woman to Watch.” She is additionally a judge for the International Stevie Awards for Women in Business. She strives to live an interesting life; everything she’s done was accomplished in the spirit of “Do one thing every day that scares you.”

As an entrepreneur Laura has been no stranger to working from home, but as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic her life still turned upside-down in a multitude of ways. As true hustler at heart, Laura is currently involved in several collaborations to provide free to coaching to those on the front lines of COVID. She also found out that she’s a potential participant for the SARS-COV2 Pandemic Serosurvey and Blood Sampling study the NIAID is launching, to find out to what extent the coronavirus has spread undetected in the US. She and her new husband John Mattek have been forced to postpone their wedding celebration and honeymoon, and now more than ever recognizes the importance of creating structure within a daily routine.

Laura’s facing all of this, while they are also trying to get pregnant! Learn more, in Laura’s COVID Chronicle, below:

Who are you quarantining with and where exactly are you living right now? Is this where you permanently reside or is it a temporary living situation due to the pandemic?

“I’m at my condo in a small town between Madison and Milwaukee  Wisconsin. I moved from my hometown  (Madison) last year to be closer to my now husband so I joke I’ve spent the last year social (physical) distancing. I’m extroverted so the transition to seeing my family and friends less frequently made the “Safer at Home” order a little easier. It’s still incredibly challenging. I, like most Americans, really value my freedom. My new husband (we were married in Prague in October and just hit our six month anniversary) and I live with our standard poodle puppy Shayne aka “Shenanigans” (she’s 11 months old).”

What has your community been doing to fight the rate of transmission? Is this how you think the situation is best handled?

“People have rallied. Overall people have been respectful of the social distancing 6 feet order however we are still having a hard time with wearing make in public. I’ve noticed lots in the grocery store but not seeing them as much with people are out and about exercising.”

It’s been heartwarming to see how many people have rallied around the small businesses in town.  Locals restaurant has been taking food to the hospital to feed and thank those on the front line. Our town has started an emergency response committee to help with the pressing needs and to ensure we bounce back.  Overall it seems like we’ve been much less impacted than some.

We’ve flattened the curve but at the same time we love our independence people are getting extremely restless. For a short time we had nice weather (spring in the midwest) and people hit the parks hard. Unfortunately due to trash piling up and graffiti the governor closed down 40 parks (some have since been reopened).

There’s also been protesters as our governor extended a safer at home order until the end of May.  Overall we are doing good but like anything could probably be doing better (As I am writing this my husband tells me to come look out the window.  At the Veterans Park by our house a man is playing Amazing Grace on his bag pipes and a small crowd has gathered.  They are all in masks and standing 6 feet apart. God Bless America).”

“A bit of normalcy, amid the chaos…Taken on March 25th, they had just put in our pier for the season. A reminder summer is coming and better days area ahead.” 

What’s the biggest challenge you think you’ve faced during this quarantine situation?

“I can’t escape myself and I can’t fully be me, either. It’s a frustrating dance day in and day out. My husband and I dated long distance for most of our relationship (four of five years) and only saw each other on the weekends. The quarantine has been the most time we’ve spent together so we are still finding our rhythm in marriage and it’s a very stressful time personally and professionally for us to be doing that.

And as an extrovert it’s been rough on me. I miss my people! Also since the beginning of the year  I’ve dealt with a lot of loss personally and professionally, for example my mentor and her daughter died in a helicopter crash. I’m tired and crabby a lot, the emotions come and go in waves. The anxiety really snuck up on me. The first few weeks were particularly hard.” 

What has been your daily routine so far during the pandemic?

“As an entrepreneur I’ve worked from home for almost six years so I’ve always had a fluid routine. No two days are the same and I love that however with my background I do know the importance of creating structure so I do so begrudgingly. What has made it so important is that because of COVID my hubby who is also an entrepreneur is now working from home for the first time. He is super supportive and it’s such a gift to have someone to take a break with or brainstorm ideas- for both of our businesses.

My puppy gets me up about 6:30 a.m., so that does help for consistency first thing in the morning, and we go for a 20 minute walk. Then I spend 30 to 60 minutes having coffee, meditating, reflecting and talking to my husband. (And occasionally I sneak to the other room to watch the TODAY show.)

I love feeling connected to the world, and this lets me do that. I typically work with clients from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. During the lunch hour I have lunch with my husband, and we take the pup on a two mile walk around the lake.

From 1:30-5 p.m. I work on or in my business. 5-7 p.m is happy hour, TV time or watching the sunset. We eat dinner a little later because one perk of the current situation is my husband’s been grilling every night! We are eating well and saving money as BC (before COVID) we would dine out or carry out several nights a week. We typically watch a documentary or movie in the evenings. About 8p.m. I do my gratitude app, and think of all I’ve accomplished each day (which puts my day into perspective and drowns out the voice of my inner “mean girl” who tells me I haven’t accomplished enough). Then, I review my schedule for the next day so I am prepared to hit the ground running.

I’m typically in bed between 9:30 and 10:30 p.m. because sleep is super important to me, and I need at least eight hours. I try to keep the same routine, whether it’s the week or the weekend to maximize my energy… and because I have a puppy, who is insistent on getting up at 6:30 a.m. every morning.”

Positive messaging

What have you been doing to keep your spirits up on a day-to-day basis?

“I use Woebot (app) as my gratitude journal. I have been mediating (one of my clients started offering free sessions several times a day during the pandemic) and do EFT tapping. I’m enjoy baking, Zoom happy hours with family and friends, spontaneous dance parties…. and eating a lot of ice cream. Whatever gets you through!”

Has this travel ban/quarantine situation impacted any important plans you had laid out for the near future

“YES! So far we have had to reschedule our honeymoon (Malibu) and push out our wedding celebration–which was particularly disappointing as some of our family weren’t able to come to Prague with us. We really enjoy traveling so having to stay put is hard.”

Is there anything you feel that this experience has taught you that you’d like to share as inspiration for everyone going through this together?

“This situation has reminded me to be more patient with myself. I’m ambitious and I had some big plans for this year. I’ve had to regularly remind myself it’s ok–and necessary–to slow down, to feel all of the feels, and to cling to my gratitude. There’s a time and place for being a hustler, and this isn’t it–for me anyway.

I’m a helper at heart, so I remind myself that this slower pace lets me help more people than if I was trying to power through the experience. (I am currently involved in several collaborations to provide free to coaching to those on the front lines of COVID).

This pandemic and new- for- now- normal has been hard but I know that regular sessions with my therapist and my life coach have prepared me for it. And I am grateful that our lives and livelihoods have been minimally impacted compared to so many in my community and our world.” 

Laura speaking at a presentation

Laura is committed to building community and giving back; she volunteers to support entrepreneurial development for the Doyenne Group and provides business coaching for international nonprofit The Coaching Fellowship. She is a graduate of Leadership Greater Madison and a past president of the Junior League.

Laura has been featured in various publications, on TV, podcasts and Internet shows. Take a deeper look at her website and her work, here!

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