Laurie Hunt’s mantra for living her life is “I’ve got more-in-me. What shall I try next?”
Growing up with four brothers and being the only girl in her family, meant her needs often came second and she felt limited in her opportunity.“Everything evolved around the boys.” she observed. And it was when they moved to a farm outside of Winnipeg, that this became more apparent, as the boys continued to play hockey, while she had to drop all her activities.
Except on Saturdays, when her mother would walk with her to the local library, where Laurie would take out 14 books at a time, read them and be ready for the visit the next week. That practice instilled in her a love of reading and research that has been a constant thread throughout her life.
While her preference was to study French and travel she was talked into enrolling in a Business Program because it was more practical according to her mother. Her degree served her well as she worked her way up the ranks and through different positions in HR and marketing in Nortel. Towards the end of her 18-year stint there, Laurie moved into Women’s Leadership, with a focus on developing executive women leaders in the company. This move was her entree into creating mentoring programs to develop diverse leaders.
After leaving Nortel, Laurie and her husband moved to Boston, where at 43 she went back to school to get her Masters in Gender and Cultural Studies. Building on her past experience, her thesis focused on the impact of race and gender on mentoring for leadership development in the high tech industry.
Calling herself the accidental entrepreneur, Laurie’s consulting practice grew from her research and she went on to create mentoring programs to develop diverse leaders within the education, high tech, and public sectors. She also created a program for Company of Women. By this time she was back in Canada living in Barrie. Throughout her career Laurie has been actively involved in the community initiatives, volunteering her time to help local non-profits.
But it was her passion for running that stayed a constant, regardless of what she was doing or where she was living. “Whenever I had a heavy project at work, I knew that if went for a run, I could clear my mind and find creative solutions.”
Laurie, in case you hadn’t guessed, is a life-long learner, always seeking new opportunities and challenges. She started first with marathons, and at 51 ran the Boston Marathon. With the move to Barrie, she decided to join the local triathlon club, and at 54 embarked on her first triathlon. “After I had read a book on how to do it.” she jokes. Knowing that having the help of a supportive community makes all the difference, Laurie developed a mentoring program for the triathlon club, now in its 5th year.
Since that first race, she has completed over 20 triathlons and pushed herself to complete a half ironman at 57. I mention her age, because Laurie’s whole point is that we can start at any age. She is positive there is more in everyone, we just haven’t tapped into it, or believe enough in ourselves.
“It’s all about moving. As women we get so disconnected from ourselves, from our bodies.” she passionately declares. And the researcher in her can produce all the data to prove that exercise and movement have a direct impact on our health.
Last fall Laurie launched The More-In-Me Movement, an initiative designed to inspire people to get moving, literally, to find their ‘more-in-me’. On International Women’s Day this year, Laurie decided to start a Women’s MOVEment and created a Facebook group as place to grow a community for women. In three short weeks 82 women have joined the group. A big believer in storytelling, she is conducting live interviews with members so they can get to know each other and be inspired from each others’ endeavours.
Normally someone who would want everything planned, Laurie has decided to let go of having it all scoped out, and instead wants to grow the movement organically. “I am allowing myself to see how it unfolds and create intuitively, rather than wait until I think it is ready and I have it figured out.” Exciting ideas are percolating already including big plans to create a Women’s MOVEment Day.
“It’s not about winning, it’s about the journey. About proving to myself that I can do more, that I will do more. And help others find their more. It’s my legacy.” concludes Laurie. “Not only have women been blocked out of boardrooms, they’ve had to fight to get ‘permission’ to be at the starting blocks in sports.” She wants women to be confident in pursuing whatever track they choose in life, work, family and athletics too.
To learn more, contact Laurie@lauriehunt.com