*Interview conducted and compiled by Sheila Moeschen, IATG Senior Editor
Sometimes it comes down to eating the cookie dough without a wick of guilt. Speaker, writer, and entrepreneur Lauryn Ballesteros cops to such an occasional indulgence as one of the things guaranteed to put a smile on her face. Another non-caloric source of joy?: “My dog,” says Lauryn, “she’s awesome!” The passion and enthusiasm Lauryn brings to her work—helping people evolve and realize their professional goals through authentic self-promotion and innovative approaches to creating brand identity—is palpable, which makes her a particularly engaging speaker and leader. She has performed TEDx talks at Traverse City and Asylum Hill as well as been seen on Mashable, Fast Company, and Delta Airlines. Before cultivating her own programs, Lauryn worked as VP of Partnerships at Squidoo and prior to that helped launch The Domino Project with Seth Godin where they created 12 best sellers in 12 months. Lauryn is a source of constant movement, an element that she connects with deeply in her love of travel. “I frequently get the urge to jump on a plane and take off. Places have energy that you can’t really get until you’re there,” says Lauryn. A dream destination and experience for this socially minded creative involves working closely with endangered species in Africa or Thailand, to use her expertise as a storyteller and visionary to make a positive impact in habitats where animals freely roam. She will be sure, of course, to pack a little cookie dough, too.
Image courtesy of Lauryn Ballesteros
If you could describe yourself in three words, what would those words be?
Tell us about a girl in your life who rocks.
A girl in my life who rocks…That would be my sister Christina. She’s two years younger than me and is one of the wisest souls I’ve ever met. Deeply in love with her soon-to-be husband, her bubbliness and sensitivity for others is always inspiring.
What are your dreams/goals/ambitions?
I have lots, but in a nutshell, it is to have a family, be happy and healthy, travel to four new soul calling places each year, have an engaged audience of 2 million people, sing and perform, eat well and be of service however and whenever I can.
What are you most proud of?
Following my gut. A woman’s intuition is sacred. We’re taught to ignore how we feel and proceed with caution, but this is like instructing Superman not to fly. That’s his thing! He flys! And us women? We have the best guidance system on the planet. My life is what it is because I’ve chosen to listen to my inner truth more often than not and even when it didn’t seem to make sense. And for that, you bet I’m proud sista!
What piece of advice changed your life?
That we are not our thoughts. We are not our emotions. We are not most of what spend our days identifying with. This was the beginning of my awakening as a young woman.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Happy. Helping. At peace. Performing. Singing. Loving.
What is the number one item on your bucket list?
To interact and connect with a tiger. To find a way to save endangered animals, specifically the Tigers. Really, I want to die knowing that I’ve helped people bring awareness and influence to those who are voiceless, animals being a big one for me.
Who has been the biggest female influence in your life and why?
I don’t have one female influence. I grew up in a family that consisted of almost all women, all of which are strong and successful. My greatest female influence in my life would thus be the culmination of all the women in my family and that includes friends as well. Each has been a teacher to me in their own right and for that I am deeply grateful.
What is the biggest risk you’ve ever taken and what did you learn from it?
To be myself. It’s a risk I take everyday. I’ve learned that there isn’t really any other option. The only real chance I have at happiness is to be myself.
Why are you THAT GIRL?
Because I stand up for what I believe in. I love new adventures, I have a beautiful family and a devoted guy. My style is fierce, my dog is fly, and truth is my guide. Bam!