From time to time we feature different members of our team, to learn more about them and their pursuits both in and out of the office. In celebration of her third anniversary with Allshore, we interviewed Laura Wright, a Client Relations Manager and Recruiting Assistant, to get her perspective on her work and hear about her goals.
Our resident problem solver, Laura loves new projects and responsibilities. Allshore’s Chief Operations Officer Tara Waddle said, "From day one, Laura has always been up for a challenge. Her logistical thinking and ability to resolve issues promptly has made her an outstanding asset to the support team. This year, she joined our recruiting team, where her engaging communication abilities truly shine. Thank you for your dedication, Laura!"
Andrea Gudbergsson, another Client Relations Manager, works closely with Laura for recruiting and told us, "Laura has been a pleasure to work with these last three years and I thoroughly enjoy working alongside her! She is a great asset to our Allshore team and she has challenged me to improve my problem-solving abilities. She has helped refine our spreadsheets and processes to take them to the next level. I absolutely love her sense of humor; she gets things done in a fun and effective way!"
We met with Laura to learn more about her drive for success and thirst for learning.
So, to start off with, can you tell us a bit about yourself and your life so far?
Well, I was born and raised here in Norman, Oklahoma, though after high school, I spent several years in other locations for school and work. I was originally an engineering major in college, and still have a love for all things related to math and science! I moved back to Norman to be close to family again, and have been here since. I have been in the customer service industry for as long as I have been able to have a job, and continue to love the interactions and relationships you build while working closely with other people.
What is your favorite thing about living in Norman?
Norman is great place all around, but I think my favorite thing about it is the proximity to my family! There are also a lot of fun events downtown throughout the year that I love to attend. Art Walk, Norman Music Festival, and the Halloween festival are my favorites! It is always exciting to walk around downtown, or on the University of Oklahoma campus, and check out all of the neat, locally owned stores that we have.
You mentioned your love of math and science. Could you tell us more about that interest and how it has shaped your life?
I have been doing “experiments” for as long as I can remember. I used to mix all kinds of random things together, just to see what would happen. I am by nature a very curious person, and I have always felt like science helped me explore things in which I was interested! As far as math goes, it was a natural ability that my parents helped foster in me as a child. I think that my love for those fields has allowed me to think in a rational, scientific way and to explore solutions to situations that others may not think about. That has allowed me to grow exponentially, both professionally and personally. I feel that it will always be a huge asset, no matter what tasks and goals are ahead of me in life.
Has there been a work-based challenge that experimentation has helped you with?
What has been your favorite project or problem to solve while at Allshore?
Over the course of my three years here, I have worked on many different projects and it has really helped me grow professionally. I think in general, just learning new things and being able to try something different is what gives me the most satisfaction of all. I’m especially proud of my progress with professional email writing. When I finally felt fully confident in myself, it was a big moment.
Do you have a similar calling outside of work to try new things? Has there been anything you've found that you love to do?
I do like to try new things, whether it be exploring somewhere I have never been, eating new foods, or growing new plants. I absolutely love to garden! I found this out a few years ago when someone gave me a plant from their own garden. My love for it has continued to grow, and now I have all kinds of fun plants and flowers!
Let’s talk about gardening! What do you love about it?
I find it very satisfying to see something start as a seed and end up as a beautiful plant! I have some that I started about three years ago from tiny little seeds and now they are huge and thriving. There are also many other ways to grow plants without seeds, and I find it fascinating to watch as a leaf or a stem begins grow roots and become a completely new plant.
Do you have specific plans for your garden, or is it more of an organic creation over time?
It absolutely started as an organic creation. One plant led to three, and those lead to three more. Now that I have such a large collection though, I have been making plans for raised beds and specifically planning where they all should go! I also like to give out plants as presents. I am not sure my family enjoys it as much as I do, but I love sharing plants that I grew!
What are some of the things you grow right now? Is there any specific plant you want to have in the future?
I have African violets, orchids, and philodendron growing inside, as well as some smaller baby succulents that are not quite ready for outside yet. In my gardens outside, I have a variety of succulents, lilies, daffodils, and irises - just to a name a few! I have a few cacti, but honestly, I haven’t had the best luck with those. I would really like to get a Gerber daisy, because those are one of my favorite flowers.
Are there any other hobbies you have?
I have quite a few hobbies that I really enjoy! I like to paint with oils and acrylics, am an avid reader, and like to play almost any musical instrument I can get my hands on.
Tell us more about your painting and musical pursuits!
Mostly, I tend to paint flowers, and roses are my favorite flower to paint. I have always been into art but I started using oils in college and won several contests with my paintings. I have played the violin since I was in 5th grade. Since then, I have taught myself to play the piano, ukulele, and guitar to varying degrees. The violin is my favorite though, and I even have an electrical hook up on it to connect it with my amp.
Have you played live anywhere with it or have plans to perform?
Not in recent years, but I did used to play at weddings with a few friends as a quartet. Now, it’s just a fun hobby for me to enjoy!
So, backing up a little, can you tell us more about your family?
I have a wonderful daughter who is about to turn eight; she is extremely smart and talented. She is on a competitive gymnastics team, plays piano, takes vocal lessons, and is very active in the youth program at our church. I have one sister that lives in Tulsa with her husband and sons. I try to make it up to visit as often as possible! My mom lives here in Norman and she is a huge part of our lives! She is a wonderful woman and I have been very blessed to have her as my mother.
Do you all have any special traditions that you do together, either for the holidays or in general?
My family is big about the holidays, and I mean all holidays! We go over to my Grandma’s house for every holiday and, despite being almost 84 years old, she still manages to cook massive and very delicious meals for us.
Which holidays are your favorite to celebrate?
My favorite holidays are Independence Day and Halloween! My daughter and I always dress up together for Halloween and we pick something new and scary every year. We haven’t decided yet on this year’s costumes, but we talked about going as members of the Adams family. She recently watched the show for the first time LOVED it! We also talked about going as Coraline and the Other Mother. Our favorite costumes so far are probably the zombies we did last year; we got a lot of compliments!
So, to switch gears some, who do you consider your biggest role model and why?
I think of my mom and grandma as my biggest role models. They are both extremely strong and self-sufficient women who feel that family comes first. They have both played a massive part in my life and taught me many lessons along the way. Because of them, I understand the value of family and try to spend as much time with them as possible.
Could you tell us what your greatest accomplishment so far in life is and why are you proud of it?
My greatest accomplishment is raising my daughter. I could not be more proud of the little person she is, and the young lady that she is becoming. She has a beautiful heart and kind soul; to me that is the most important thing to instill in a little one. She is pretty much my whole world.
What about your greatest professional accomplishment here at Allshore?
There are a lot of things that I have been able to do here, but the thing that I feel is the most important is becoming more confident in my leadership abilities and learning to trust in myself to make decisions. That’s something I will always be able to build on, but I do feel that I have achieved that in my time here.
What are some other professional skills you would like to continue building?
There are several goals I have including trying more software development, learning even more about QA/QC testing, becoming and Excel wiz, and diving deeper into project management. I would like to get to the point in my career where I am actively project managing. The skills that I am working on now, such as development and QA/QC, are extremely important to truly fill that role in a field like ours. It is hard to create estimates if you have no idea how long the development should take. Also, a lot of project managers will do their own QA/QC testing, so learning these things has been a huge building block to get me where I want to be down the road.
Our tried and true helping hand, Laura impresses us with her willingness to try new things and her broad scope of skills. Thank you, Laura, for everything you do to solve problems and expand our horizons!