399: Navigate Tradition and Innovation in Business With Laura Grondin

Laura Grondin

In a recent episode of our podcast, “On the Brink with Andi Simon,” I had the pleasure of speaking with Laura Grondin, an exceptional leader in the world of business and innovation. Laura is the CEO, chairman, and owner of a privately held industrial products company with two subsidiaries: Bingham & Taylor and Hartford Technologies. These companies supply diverse products, primarily to the water, gas, and automotive markets. Our conversation was all about how she has been able to navigate tradition and innovation.

Visiting Laura’s website is a journey into the heart of an enterprise that brilliantly merges tradition with forward-thinking innovation. Her companies, with a rich history spanning 175 years, epitomize the power of adapting to change while holding onto core values. This blend of the old and the new is not just a business strategy; it’s a philosophy that permeates every aspect of their operations.

How to Navigate Tradition and Innovation in Sustaining a Business?

Laura’s leadership showcases the essence of what it means to be an innovative, future-thinking leader. She understands the dynamics of organizations that thrive. Her ability to innovate and see the world as it evolves is extraordinary. This perspective is crucial, especially in an era where the future is uncertain, and many are apprehensive about what lies ahead. Laura shows us how you can navigate tradition and innovation, and build a better business.  As Babe Ruth once said, “Yesterday’s homerun will not win tomorrow’s game.” This quote perfectly encapsulates the spirit of Laura’s approach: you can be good today, but thriving tomorrow requires a whole new set of skills and vision.

By 2005, Bingham & Taylor had already made significant strides towards gender diversity, becoming a 51% female-owned company. In 2021, Laura Grondin took over 100% ownership, ushering in a new era for women-owned natural gas and water businesses. V Technologies is a testament to the power of merging deep industry knowledge with modern innovation. It’s fascinating to see how Laura’s leadership has transformed these companies, pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in traditionally male-dominated industries.

Laura’s influence extends beyond her business ventures. She is a prominent figure in the sailing community, serving as a member of the US Sailing Board of Directors and holding various positions, including chair of the international Melges 24 Class Association. Her passion for sailing has twice seen her compete at high levels, earning her nominations for the prestigious Rolex Yachtsman of the Year award. Laura’s involvement in sailing reflects her competitive spirit and commitment to excellence, qualities that she brings to her business endeavors.

Moreover, Laura tremendously advocates for women in business, particularly in STEM fields. Her involvement with organizations like C200, which supports female CEOs, underscores her dedication to empowering the next generation of women leaders. Through her work, Laura is paving the way for women in STEM and business, breaking down barriers and inspiring others to follow in her footsteps.

How can “Sailing” Build a Mind-Set that Works So Well in Business?

Let’s think of the metaphor: we should all be trying to navigate tradition and innovation in our business. From my perspective, as a corporate anthropologist who works with organizations that need to adapt to fast-changing times, I was thrilled to share Laura’s story. It is a powerful reminder of the importance of adaptability and forward-thinking in today’s business landscape. Her ability to blend tradition with innovation sets her apart as a leader who respects the past and embraces the future with open arms.

In our podcast, Laura shared insights into how her companies are innovating and creating new ways of doing things. This spirit of innovation is evident in every aspect of their operations, from product development to customer engagement. It’s clear that under Laura’s leadership, Bingham & Taylor and Hartford Technologies are not just keeping up with the times; they are setting the pace.

The Power of Women Leaders as Successful CEOs

Laura’s journey is a testament to the power of women leaders in driving change and innovation. Her achievements inspire aspiring female CEOs, demonstrating that with vision, dedication, and a willingness to embrace change, it’s possible to lead and succeed in any industry.

Laura’s story is not just about her achievements; it’s about the broader impact of women leaders in transforming industries and driving progress. I encourage you to visit her website to learn more about her companies and their groundbreaking work. Laura Grondin’s journey is a shining example of visionary CEOs shaping the future, one innovative step at a time.

You can also watch our podcast on YouTube:

Laura Grondin



From Observation to Innovation,

Andi Simon PhD

CEO | Corporate Anthropologist | Author

Read the full transcript here:

Andi Simon – Welcome to On the Brink with Andi Simon. I’m Andi Simon, as you know. I’m your host and your guide. My job is to help you get off the brink and to see things and feel them and think about them in fresh ways, so that you can see the opportunities, often through role models that you may not have known before or met before. But as you listen to their stories, and I guess we have 398 podcasts now, something happens to you and your mind and you go “oh, she did it, I can do it too.”

And so today I am absolutely excited and honored to have Laura Grondin here with us. I met Laura at a vintage meeting. She is a devoted member of Vistage, and if you’re unfamiliar with Vistage (www.vistage.com) it is a huge organization that’s global that brings together CEOs and their key leaders and speakers like myself to help them “see, feel and think” in new ways. And they are very exciting. But what Laura and I began to think about was, how could we tell her story so that you could learn from her, pick up her wisdom, think about how she was able to navigate rocky waters.

You know there are not many women CEOs of many companies in technological, automotive, water and gas markets. And I’m going to read you, her bio. Laura is the CEO and chairman and owner of a privately held industrial products company with two subsidiaries: Bingham and Taylor and Hartford Technologies. They supply a diverse range of products, primarily to the water, gas and automotive markets. You should visit her website because not only is it full of who they are and what they do, but how they’re innovating and their extraordinary, ability to create new ways of doing things and to see the world as it’s developing. But they are 175-year-old company, and they reflect a blend of tradition and forward thinking. That’s not inconsequential because people are afraid of what’s coming next. But the past is not going to help you thrive tomorrow. What did Babe Ruth say? Yesterday’s homerun will not win tomorrow’s game, so you could be good but tomorrow is a whole new journey. V Technologies is a woman owned business which embodies the power of merging deep industry knowledge with modern innovation. it’s a little interesting that, by 2005, Bingham and Taylor was a 51% female owned company, and 2021 Laura Gordon took over 100% of it, ushering in a new era for women owned companies in the natural gas and water sector. She is also heavily involved in the sailing community. She’s a member of the US Sailing Board of Directors and served in multiple capacities, including chair of the international Melges 24 Class Association.

She was also past Commodore of the Groton Long Point Yacht Club.  She’s been a competitive sailor for many years and was twice nominated for the Rolex Yachtsman of the Year award. And she’s a tremendous advocate for women in business, particularly in Stem fields. And she’s been involved with organizations like C200, which is a wonderful organization that supports female CEOs.

Andi Simon –Laura, it’s so much fun to see you, to have you. And thank you for joining me today.

Laura Grondin (00:03:33) – Thank you. Andrea.

Andi Simon (00:03:34) – You and I have been talking a little bit about your own journey, and it’s a wonderful journey that other women who are either starting up their businesses or trying to get ownership should hear about. Remember, there are 13 million women-owned business in the US, and they’re all trying to scale and grow and figure out how do we do it and do it a little differently perhaps. Tell us about your own journey. Who’s Laura?

Laura Grondin (00:03:58) – Right. So, I began my journey. Really? I think about it, my time at Yale University. I was a member of the of the Yale sailing team there. I ended up joining that team by seeing a flyer on a pole. This was, you know, 1981. There was no internet, there was no Facebook. And honestly, I think if there had been, I probably would have been too intimidated to show up.

I showed up and that kind of began, a different leg of my sailing journey, which I can talk about later. But when I graduated, I had studied architecture at Yale, and my father, had acquired, Virginia Industries, which owns Harvard Technologies, and Bingham and Taylor while I was in school. So, I didn’t grow up with it around me. From an owner perspective, my father was an executive, so he offered me a job doing what was then called data processing. You might now refer to it as IT. And I decided that doing that versus going and drafting like literally with a pen and or pencil, drafting in an architecture firm might carry me further in my career. So, lest you think I’m going to give you a year, year by year, blow by blow, that just sort of sets the stage for where I started. I never expected to stay, but my father gave allowed me increasing opportunities. and in 1999, he decided to retire. and he made me the CEO of the company.

I would say that I spent my first five years as CEO. trying to correct or bring the company, into competing globally. We had some pieces of the business that were not working well, and I had to make some really difficult decisions. Shutting down plants, looking in people’s eyes when they, you know, you tell them they don’t have a job anymore. It’s a very difficult thing to do. I then spent the next five years sort of. Okay, we’re okay now. Let’s just, continue to be okay.

Andi Simon (00:06:31) – And then I’m laughing because that’s a great way of talking about how people love stability.

Laura Grondin (00:06:37) – Yes. Now, I will admit that during the .com boom, I felt, that I had missed something being in this sort of, old line manufacturing company. You know, our one of our businesses is 175 old, the other ones, almost 100 now. So, I do remember that feeling of like, wow, I should be doing something else. Then I’ve really spent the last 15 years if I have my math focused on how to grow and build these businesses. And that’s what has brought me to where I am, today, speaking with you.

Andi Simon (00:07:18) – You know, you’re, as I’m listening to you, a couple of things for our listeners and our viewers to emphasize, one of which is serendipity. You know, that sign on the post. Was there an intentional searching for you?  There was none to look at. And there was something that caught your eye and you went and looked. And then your father offered you something completely different than you studied — so much for planning–and you have spent your whole life there. In fact, you didn’t probably know what you were going to do there, but it was something interesting. And you’re an explorer at heart, I bet.

Laura Grondin (00:07:58) – And I would actually share that, when I, you know, my involvement with C200 at the time, was really quite impactful to me, but I didn’t. I joined C200 because I had gone to a meeting of the women corporate directors.

I’m, I’m still actually engaged with that organization, but I had gone to try to figure out how to be a director on someone else’s board. And while that didn’t work out, I sat next to, Catherine Switek, who at the time was the chair of C 200, and she said, you know, you should really think about joining this group. So, I would have to put into the lessons learned bucket for today, the “open the door,” strategy.  Because the doors that you’re describing, as well as the story that I just told our door, are places I ended up. Unintentionally, yes, but because I went through the first door, I got to the second place because I was open to trying something that, I wasn’t really sure how it was going to work out.

Andi Simon (00:09:13) – The interesting part of our conversation is that I had a life of serendipity, and someone said to me, no, God was watching you. And I said, well, I don’t believe in God. And he said, well, he believes in you.

And I said, okay, I’ll take that. They said, how do you grow your business? I said, I show up. I said, I keep finding places where the door opens, and I never know what’s inside. I am an explorer by archetype, but as we’re talking, you know, you have taken a company that needed to be turned around. You wanted to, you know, protect the legacy of your father, and yet you knew its growth was going to come in new markets and new places with new things, and somehow you had to begin to visualize it. I don’t want to lose that story for a moment, though. Tell me about it. How did you do that? A little at a time, bringing you knew people. You know, what is the nature of growth like that? This is a real growth story.

Laura Grondin (00:10:07) – Yeah. So, the biggest thing for me changed when I stopped looking inside the company and I started looking outside the company, and I think it was someone in my age group saying, viewing the world from behind your desk is a scary place to be.

And I, so I started going to Tradeshows. I went to visit customers, suppliers. I had by that point, I think, joined the Vistage Group. So, I had different coaches along the way. I had a kind of a peer support group as well. And what I really learned was that the more I was out in the industry talking to people, the more I learned about what was going on, and the more and the easier it became for me to figure out, like, okay, where are the opportunities? So, one example, we provide a product at for in the California market. Now, in a lot of times, what they’ll put in the roadway is a concrete box. We supply a cast iron one. I mean, this is like, this is very Mother Earth, right? Kind of stuff. And, but we went out and we saw these concrete boxes, and they were sort of crumbling a little bit, and we thought, we said, well, we can make something better than that.

And so, we did. And but that was, that’s a small example, but it’s an example of if I hadn’t been out there looking, I wouldn’t never have seen it.

Andi Simon: Yes. And you can say that a dozen times if I wasn’t out there looking, I never would have seen it. And my folks probably would have fulfilled it with what was there, as opposed to seeing the opportunities of something even better. Right? You know. Have you been? Have you been able? Because I hear this all the time. I find it myself. It’s hard to get our folks to begin to see opportunity as opposed to fulfilling within the box that they know.

Laura Grondin (00:12:20) – Yes. And I you know, I do think that we have, some very good salespeople, and some good executives who’ve been with the company and been with the industry, who really do have an understanding of the fact that you have to continue to innovate. as a company, we have been one of the first to incorporate plastic in our industry, for our specific products.

Not to say that plastic hasn’t been used in, in other sectors, other parts of the industry, but certainly, with what we do, which for Bingham & Taylor is to provide access and security, for the gap for gas and water utilities. and so, there’s been a history of innovation in the company, really back to our early days in the 1800s, of looking and seeing and, you know, working with customers to say, what can we do, you know, to help you out and, I. I think that’s really been the key to success. And I think we have that is embedded in our DNA as an organization. And it’s helped us be very, very be very successful.

Andi Simon (00:13:47) – But, you know, you said something important there. You said, how do I help you? What is it about what you need that I can help you be more successful as opposed to this is what we do. Let me sell it to you. Let me tell you about the features and benefits of it and why you should buy me. And that mindset is a very powerful one that people should embrace, regardless of whether they’re in the service industry or they’re manufacturing something it isn’t. What you do is what do they need. And this has changed everything because people’s needs are all going through a great transformation now. Right. And they are all concerned about, you know, the pandemic, the post pandemic, you know, as you’re thinking about it. And how have you built, you know, a couple of, of HR kinds of questions. How did you build a team that embraces the kind of creativity that you seem to articulate?

Laura Grondin (00:14:41) – I think the key is that people have to feel secure. They have to feel that you are there for them and that, you are not going to judge or criticize them if they make a mistake or if they bring something to the organization that ultimately doesn’t work out. And I will say that I have gone down a few rabbit holes and pursued a few new products that that never worked out.

I’ve also pursued some that took longer than I thought to really be developed, but I think it’s that openness to allowing for creativity, allowing for mistakes, and also for having some patience around developing something when you can, you can see that it is good for the customer. It will work. It sometimes takes longer than one would hope.

Andi Simon (00:15:45) – You know, you said a very important word though, because we decide with the eyes and the heart, we think it’s with the head. But in the neurosciences and cognitive sciences and a little social science have shown us that if you see it, you can begin to believe it. Your story begins to encompass it. And even if it isn’t quite there yet, somehow, you’re going to figure out how to because you can see its benefits. It’s really going to be transformational in some way. If only I can make it happen. How do we do that? You know, how many times did Edison fail (2774) before his electric lightbulb finally worked? And you got the same attitude to it, right?

You know, a friend of mine the other day said something apropos to your sailing life. You have two lives here that I think are worth sharing. And he is wife had lost her position as a senior executive in a firm and she had gone back to baking and he laughed and, and he said, you know, as a sailor, I’ve learned that life is like the ocean and the winds and all the currents outside of my boat and I have to now navigate on rocky waters, because I never know where that wind is going to take me and how I’m going to tack to get back to where I need to go. And in some ways, the wife was beginning to address it in the same fashion. It was outside of her control. So now she was going to have to navigate her own course of life’s challenges. My hunches that there are metaphors that you’ve learned in sailing that would be of interest to our audience as well, because it sort of parallels the way you’ve approached your business.

Laura Grondin (00:17:24) – that’s true. And, you know, in the last couple of years, I’ve done a lot more highly competitive racing than I had, probably since college. and, you know, I took a hiatus from my Vistage group, so they required me upon missing a number of meetings to kind of share some of my lessons learned from the racecourse. And one of the things that I like to share, particularly when I have the opportunity with young women, women, even girls, is to always keep the tiller in your hand, to not give it up. And I translate that to say that always take the opportunity for a leadership position. even if you don’t think you can do it or don’t know what you’re doing. I shouldn’t say don’t know what you’re doing. Don’t think you know you’re doing what I should say. hopefully you do know what you’re doing. But anyway, is to is to take that risk and to not, you know, just turn over the leadership to someone else.

And that has really, helped me quite a bit, in my career. not just in the sailing. And so that is one of the keys, things I would say. The other, lesson and there, there are quite a few. So, I’m, I’m just cataloguing in my mind which ones to share. but I think what I would say is, one of the things we say on the boat is do “normal.” And I know that that’s a word that could be controversial in this day and age. But what we mean by it is just do your job. Do what you are expected to do. If you see somebody else on the boat faltering, you need to kind of let them falter, because the minute you step to do their job, you’re not doing your job well. And I think this does also translate into business is that if I do my job well, it allows other people around me to do their job well. and that has been, I think, a real key to our success, as a team.

And our teamwork is that we believe in each other, and we count on each other and that that trust that is just really, really important. And I think those are some of the lessons that, you know, I took from the racecourse into the business world.

Andi Simon (00:20:03) – You’re not taking your staff out sailing now, are you?

Laura Grondin (00:20:07) – No I’m not.

Andi Simon (00:20:11) – but this is really relevant for women, particularly going into science or technology or in engineering or math, where the turnover rate is high. You know, I gave a couple of workshops on imposter syndrome, and I didn’t realize I’ve been an impostor my entire life. I’ve always been overconfident, but I always thought I could figure it out and how to do it. As you’re looking at the future, which is going to be so Stem-ish, you know, some wisdoms that you begin to see developing for women in particular, but for men and women, this is going to be a whole new world developing.

Laura Grondin (00:20:51) – It is and the I believe there’s a statistic out there that something like half the jobs that will exist in five years don’t exist today or something like that. And I think this leads me back to really a point that I made before, which is that you just have to be open to change, and you have to assume that things are going to change. And, you know, a lot of people want their life to be predictable. And if you ask them, you know, where they think they’ll be in five years. It’s a projection of where they are today. And that’s really not the way that life works. You know, it. It really is that it is. You know that things are going to change. So, when I, you know, look at the businesses that we own, I think about what is going to disrupt us, what are the things that might not be happening today but could happen in the future, that could change, you know, the things that we’re doing? And one example that I would give that is we for many, many years, we melt cast iron at 2700 degrees, and we use Coke, which is a byproduct of coal.

And we were we were not an environmentally friendly company in that regard. we had all the appropriate EPA permits and all that, but we made a decision to go with, electric melt. So instead, we are using electricity. Now, I’m a realist. I understand how electricity is generated, however. Overnight we became a more environmentally friendly company. It allowed us to get out of some of these permitting issues that we have, and it increased our productivity, and it increased our, capacity. So overall, it’s been a really, great decision, for the company. But part of it came because of a fear. You know, I was afraid with environmental regulations getting tighter, that we were going to get to a point where somebody might come and say, hey, you just can’t do this anymore. And I thought, that’s how not an acceptable answer. I need to do something else.

Andi Simon (00:23:25) – But you know, you said a couple of things in our conversation here. Look outside, not inside, you know, and being environmentally at least concerned and attempting to make changes, I think that we as, as leaders, must do that. And, and solar power is my home now. And, and there’s a community group here that wants everyone to pay attention to their carbon footprint and to reduce it. And they don’t realize that so much of the carbon comes out of simply living. And they’re unaware of what could be done. But if you can make a major transformation like that now, you’re right. Electric energy is coming from somewhere. So, something, whether it’s wind or it’s and everything has a negative piece to it. Even electric cars. What are we going to do with the batteries when they stop?

Laura Grondin (00:24:14) – Yeah, yeah. It’s not a straight line.

Andi Simon (00:24:17) – Nothing is. On the other hand, humans are very clever and creative, thank goodness. And I hope that, what the folks who did this have is a pride that they are making a difference. And it isn’t simply protecting their job, it’s really something bigger. The purpose is more than just me and my job. It’s me and my society in which I am. I’m living and that’s really, I think, transformative now. I think it’s not going to be casual. We’re going to have to really focus on this.

Laura Grondin (00:24:49) – Yes. I agree. And I would say that there’s two things that I think bring joy and pride to our employees. And one is the investments that they’ve seen us as an organization make. The second thing I would say is that, you know, we do help bring clean water to people’s homes. and I believe that, you know, we emphasize that with our employees, we remind them that that is, you know, ultimately what our products help do. And I think that that, you know, fits that piece of people that want to feel that what they’re doing in their job and as part of an organization is something bigger than just themselves that they’re contributing to, making, you know, the world a better place.

And I know that that’s more of a younger person’s game, because that’s not exactly what I mean, but it is something I think that’s more in the hearts and minds of younger people. and maybe it’s just the idealistic part of life, I really sure. But, you know, I think I think finding. So maybe I’ll stop thinking that way and just say that I think that it’s about, you know, finding things that your employees can feel proud of and feel proud of themselves and the work that they do.

Andi Simon (00:26:18) – To some degree, I don’t care whether it’s elder or younger. A company is a place that you can belong to that does something intentionally to improve the quality of our lives. Everyone embraces it and they become part of their own personal story. Remember, when they work with you, it’s part of their personal brand. You know, when someone says, where do you work? You want to feel proud of where I work? And let me tell you how we’re and, and it isn’t easy today to be able to do that.

We’re actually starting some research on what belonging means and how it it’s a story all about. But this is really cool. Are you looking at other and things coming out of I or, I don’t know, machine learning or blockchain or quantum computing? I mean, are there little indicators of things that the fifth industrial revolution is going to come and transform you?

Laura Grondin (00:27:10) – Yeah, I don’t know about that entirely. and, and but it is on my mind to try to figure out how we can use that. we used it last week to do some research on our competitors.

Literally, we had somebody who, you know, they went to the I guess it’s called ChatGPT. Yes. And they put in some questions and gave the list of competitors we were curious about because we’re going to a trade show next week. And, I mean, it was amazing to me what we got back in an instant. and it really made me realize that, like when I go to Google search for something that maybe there’s a better way.

And so, I think for us in the short run, it may be about being more efficient with gathering information on.

Andi Simon (00:28:12) – I know. I have a management development program for a client I work with for six years, and, and we’ve added decision making into the mix, and I went to chat. I use chat all the time. I love it.  And I said, okay, how will you, ChatGPT, change the way we make decisions. And in about this much time came a whole list of all the things we can do better and faster and easier than brainstorming, decision trees, you know, six hats process. and I went, oh, so I can’t simply help my accountants begin to see how to make better decisions without showing them how to use the wisdom. You don’t have to believe all the stuff that comes out. You can go check it out. But in a second you have my best friend, who comes back, and I can call Laura, or I can call my best friend and, in a minute, at practically no cost, you get a pretty good starting point.

And then it says at the end of each one. Now, if you’d like more information on any of these, let me know so I can put in and all comes more information. And I’m a curious person and I like speed. So, speed and ease has taken over from Google and talk about Google missing the boat on this one. You know. Hello. Where have you been. Had it alphabet and not see what’s coming. And it’s sort of an interesting time even for a Google.

Laura Grondin (00:29:42) – And yes, it has to be because it is it is really going to change a lot of things. Yes. and I think what’s going to make it difficult is to know what’s authentic. you know, what was, I listened to a professor or some type of podcast about a week ago. And, you know, they were talking about the fact that, you know, student papers, as an example, can just get drafted by using AI. Well, then how do you know that it’s that it’s a true piece of someone’s work? That’s a little scary to me. But I think for a businessperson where we’re not so worried about authenticity or about, I shouldn’t say authenticity, but about it being a real work and individuals work. I think, you know, we can definitely do things faster.

Andi Simon (00:30:37) – And, but you said an important word. What is my work? And I had a copywriter who, was very angry that I was doing a good deal of my blog stuff on chat, and she was now becoming the editor, not the writer, and she said I’ve had enough, I quit. And I said, well, you can quit, but I would advise you to reconsider who you are and what you do. because you should be using this as a starting point for all of your creative stuff. because everybody is going to, and you will find yourself an archaeological ruin for the way we used to. And ironically, I got a couple of emails from people I know who are copywriters saying, I’m looking for new clients. Do you know anyone? And I said, unless you’re unless you’re fast and now the question for you and us is how do we know what’s authentic? And I’m not sure what does that word and what does my work.

Andi Simon (00:31:32) – All those things are now going to be thought about again. You know. Right. So. And you want it to be my, my, my daughter is a special ed teacher. And she started to use, you know, lesson plans, out of chat for her special ed meet kids. And it comes out fast and easy and gives her time to do the work with the kids instead of doing the plan for the kids.

Laura Grondin (00:31:55) – Right. And why not?

Andi Simon (00:31:57) – She said it’s pretty close. I have to still do it. but it is, it just takes away the pain of having to put something on paper. I don’t know, I do think the times are they are changing. So, they really allow time for us to wrap up our lovely conversation, give our listeners one, 2 or 3 things you don’t want them to forget. And I’ve written a couple of things down here too. Okay.

Laura Grondin (00:32:19) – In case I missed. That’s good. So, I would say number one is open doors. Yes.  And don’t be afraid to walk through them. and be open. Once you walk through that door, be open to what happens because it just may not be what you expected.

I would say the second thing is, don’t view the world from behind your desk. Find a way to get out and talk to people and build relationships so that you get information. I so often go to I’m going to trade show next week. And it’s not about what any one person tells me. It’s about what I hear collectively that informs my decisions. and then maybe, I guess the last one I’d like to leave with is take any opportunity you can find to take on a leadership role, even if it’s as a volunteer to get that experience of leading.

Andi Simon (00:33:25) – I think that is so really profound. I teach a leadership academy, and I say to my leaders, you need followers too. And you are a follower as well as a leader. Your analogy of holding your place in the boat is important.

You know, know what your job is, but also knew how to move and be flexible so that you can play the role that’s needed at the right time, in the right way. Clearly, I don’t want another pandemic, but I used to tell my clients, if you want to change, have a crisis, or create one, well, we don’t need more crisis, but look at how many new things emerged out of something bad because everyone has changed. And I often lecture on how to make change your friend instead of fearing it or fleeing it. Your brain wants to get away from me and from it. But if you can tell it, “That’s a good idea.” You did. I can tell. Next thing I know, you are the Young Woman of the year maybe, and all of it is coming together in ways you planned. Right. Last thoughts.

Laura Grondin (00:34:25) – You know, the sailing has really been quite a renaissance for me over the last few years, and not something I ever expected to be in a position, at this, part of my life. I just really believe that life is a journey, not a destination. And that, again, I feel like I’m repeating myself. But being open to what might lie ahead is, is so important to having those most wonderful life experiences.

Andi Simon (00:35:01) – And I’ll end by telling our listeners to have fun. And I think as you listen to Laura, both in business and life and in sailing, just smile a lot. You’ll find that it brings a warmth to the folks around you. They’ll trust you. the reduces the risk, you know? Let’s see where it takes us. I like the word see, feel, and think, because that’s how we make good decisions. And the data is there for us to sort out a lot. I’m Andi Simon. This is On the Brink with Andi Simon, and you all are my favorite friends. Thank you for coming. You send me great emails at info@Andisimon.com or info@Simonassociates.net. My third and newest book, Women Mean Business, written with Eddie Fraser and Robin Spizman, has 102 women in there who give you five wisdoms each.

That’s 500 wisdoms. Like today’s conversation, everyone who opens the book gets inspired. You have no idea how interesting it is to go to a client and have that client underlying the book in yellow all over the place, and she said, I’m going to change the way I’m running my business, really. I mean, this is sort of an interesting experience for me. And that came about to Laura’s point because Edie called and said, “do you want to write a book. And I said, about what she says, well, I’m not sure. I said, sure.”

I mean, that was the door that opened. And out of it came this wonderful book that’s selling remarkably well. Amazon loves you, so go pick one up at Amazon along with my other two books. Been a pleasure to have you all today. Laura. Thank you so much for joining me.

Laura Grondin (00:36:32) – Thank you Andrea, have a good day.

Andi Simon (00:36:34) – And bye now.