Wavemakers is an initiative I've kickstarted with Femme-O-Nomics’ founder Leah Eichler (@Femmeonomics) that profiles female innovators — women who are constantly blazing new trails, inspiring others and revolutionizing the status quo. This week we meet Laurel Walzak. She is currently the Director of Integrated Sales at the National Hockey League. Based in Toronto, she is responsible for securing and negotiating strategic alliances with blue chip companies. Besides helping the league develop its revenues, she is also into cycling and is busy getting her MBA. You can follow her @laurelwalzak.
My current state of mind is curious, focused and healthy. I am curious about learning new things at work and at school. I am focused on time management and my various responsibilities at work, school, in my community and at home. I am exceedingly busy and strapped for time and find myself looking for it. Right now with adding the demand of my MBA into the equation I am still trying to figure out how to balance it all, not sure of the answer yet or if I will ever find balance but for some reason I am comfortable with that and my situation. I think what helps me with these responsibilities is my healthy state of mind along with a healthy body, I feel physically and mentally strong.
2. If you could choose what to come back as, what would it be?
Dietician, the science of food and nutrition has always been of great interest to me, I am passionate about healthy eating, fitness and weight training and it is a lifestyle for me. I would come back and coach others to achieve their own balanced lifestyle that incorporates physical activity, healthy eating habits and a positive image about their weight and body. I would take on the challenge to conquer childhood obesity and teach children and their families around the world to enjoy the benefits of healthy eating combined with physical activity in effort to get them to live a healthier life.
3. What is your greatest indulgence?
Shoes are my greatest indulgence. High heels, flats and athletic footwear, I am not a fan of flip flops. Manolo, Prada, Gucci, Jimmy Choo, Jimmy Choo and did I mention Jimmy Choo, they seem to fit my feet the best and I like their collections and designs (I keep the Jimmy Choo XV Limited Edition Book on my coffee table at home, it inspires me). Even though my shoes are sometimes an expensive indulgence I simply enjoy them. I take pride in my presentation and my self-expression and I believe that a great pair of shoes can add a little fun, flare, elegance, femininity, and personal style to my wardrobe and they are with me every step of the way, literally.
4. What or who helped you the most to achieve your success?
It is difficult to narrow down one person as there are so many incredible people that have contributed to my success, family, friends, my boyfriend, employers, fellow employees, peers, bosses, mentors and rivals. I truly must thank everyone that has come in and out of my life for a reason as they impacted me in a way that has shaped the person I am today.
I have been given many opportunities, including the opportunity to work with and get to know some truly amazing mentors. I appreciate these individuals who see potential in me and who are willing to invest their valuable time and energy into coaching and supporting me and my career. These relationships are friendly, unique and important and their advice keeps me focused and grounded. The fact that my mentors are in my corner and want to see me succeed boosts my confidence, my competitive spirit and keeps me accountable. I am indebted to them.
My parents and four siblings deserve a special mention, we are a very close family and we have a unique support system. They unconditionally encourage me and rally around me and revel in my journey, they also know I am dedicated to my family and I reciprocate the same behaviours towards them as they do me. This support goes both ways.
Finally, my natural desire and personal determination has contributed to my achievements in life to date. I am proud of my accomplishments but feel I have so far to go, so much to learn and so much more to contribute both professionally and personally to others.
5. What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Work hard, be accountable for your actions and give back to your community.
My grandparents and parents taught me hard work by their example and they were my role models. I also always looked up to my dad and his career. I was fortunate to have witnessed his incredible drive and work ethic first hand and I thank him for teaching me the same. My mother taught me about being accountable for my actions. She use to say, “do what you want to do because you want to and be accountable for your actions and the choices you make, if you cannot be accountable then don’t do it and so make a different choice that you can stand behind”. She gave me room to be my own person, make my own decisions and make my own mistakes and I have made many.
They also taught me about giving back to my community, these reigned high in my family’s values. I have gained tremendous personal satisfaction from my experience as a volunteer and have and will continue to offer my time and/or donate financially to the causes I believe in and those that are less fortunate than me, again I am grateful.