From Executive to Entrepreneur with Career Transition Expert, Laurel Rutledge


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Today, I am joined by Laurel Rutledge, an H.R. Strategist, and Career Transformation Expert. Like many entrepreneurs who come from corporate, Laurel reached a point where she just wasn’t herself anymore. She was tired, unhappy and in constant conflict between her value system and her corporate role. She was not present with her family, totally miserable and had put on 50 pounds. In short, she was no longer in alignment, fighting a corporate culture that she didn’t believe in and battling constant micro aggressions. But then Laurel realized she had a choiceand she chose herself.

Laurel explains what made her leave a very successful corporate career and launch into the deep sea of entrepreneurship. There are loads of tips and tricks that Laurel has learned on her adventure from corporate to entrepreneurship. Luckily, she shares the key three things that we need to know to have happiness and strength on our journey. Tune in as Laurel explains why she made the decision to become more visible, what it feels like to share our most intimate thoughts online, and the importance of staying intentional.

Lessons Learned from Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship really is a journey. But I always say, when you take the jump, it all just shows up for you. When you’re ready to be taught, the teacher appears. Here are some pivotal points Laurel shared with me that helped guide her success on that entrepreneurial journey.

Grace is so important. You must have grace for yourself. And understanding. We can either be our own best friend—or our worst critic. Which do you prefer?

The trauma of corporate culture is real, but you have a choice. Corporate is very different from entrepreneurship when it comes to tactics. On the surface, the language may be the same, but the way you show up, how you show up and what that means, is very different. For example, like Laurel, you may know all about HR, sales, marketing, infrastructure, budgeting. The list goes on. But in the context of entrepreneurship, you have to think differently. You have to be extremely agile and adaptable. And despite what you may already know from your corporate career, as a solopreneur, you are just that—solo (at first).

You’ve got to be okay with the fact that you’re not going to understand everything. And you have to be okay with asking questions—lots of them. Assume you know nothing. Get a coach, get a mentor—then listen, process and apply. When you give people permission to teach you something, it opens the door to new understanding. So find those experts who can help you, and become coachable.

Listen to the podcast here:

Going from Invisible to Visible

Now, Laurel is someone who is very private, and she never wanted to be visible. But when setting her intentions for 2019, and later 2020, she realized that she had to become visible and step into the spotlight in order to effect the most change.

In her words, “Being visible as an entrepreneur isn’t about you. Being visible is about being of service.” Laurel couldn’t be of service if she wasn’t visible first. She had to flip her mindset and focus on delivering the message she was meant to deliver, serving the people she was meant to serve.

In order to be found, you have to show up. You have to be visible. Laurel became visible by speaking her truth, showing up Live on social media, taking more pictures, hosting a podcast and more. And she showed her raw, vulnerable self in her posts—which were the ones that went viral. Because when you show up authentically, that’s when preparation and opportunity meet. 

Surrendering to the Flow

Laurel’s words for the year 2020 were clarity, conviction and compassion. Couldn’t have been more appropriate, right? But when 2021 hit, her word became surrender. By surrender I don’t mean giving up. Laurel says surrendering is about acknowledging and understanding your natural, feminine flow—and moving with it, even if it feels uncomfortable. Because when you get grounded in your flow, you aren’t thrown off when things change or shift. Instead you can explore with intention and make sense of things.

If you’re ready to learn the lessons from corporate to entrepreneurship and the results from being more visible, this episode is a must watch.

In This Episode You’ll Also Learn:

  • [01:25] Laurel explains what made her leave a very successful corporate career and launch into the deep sea of entrepreneurship.
  • [03:55] There are a few pivotal things that Laurel learned since jumping into entrepreneurship – she shares those with us.
  • [08:40] How Laurel made the decision to become more visible in the online world.
  • [19:15] Laurel reveals what it feels like to be herself and finally share her intimate feelings with others.
  • [33:55] How we can work with Laurel.

Here are a few of my favorite takeaways:

  • As an entrepreneur, there are going to be so many things that come at you that are unexpected and different. Make sure that you practice grace each and every day.
  • When leaving the corporate world for entrepreneurship, there are things that you have to think about that may not have necessarily been at the forefront of what you did before.
  • Give yourself permission for other people to teach you something as an entrepreneur.
  • To succeed as an entrepreneur, you need to surround yourself with the right people.

Important Links:

About Laurel Rutledge:

Laurel Rutledge is an HR Strategist and Career Transformation Expert. Formerly a Senior Human Resources Executive with global, multi-industry experience, she has built teams and departments, led large-scale human capital projects, and coached individuals from the plant floor to the board room. Prior to her last corporate role as the VP and Global Head of HR Strategy and Analytics, Laurel spent time in human resources, internal audit, consulting and risk management. This background gives her a perspective on human capital management based on the tenet that a good people strategy is based upon a good business strategy.

Laurel holds a B.S in Accounting from the University of Houston-Downtown, and MBA from Indiana University-Bloomington and multiple human resources and assessment certifications. In addition, she is the host of the weekly radio show and podcast, both named The Rutledge Perspective and focused on small business human resources and general leadership and career transformation topics.

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Our blog features a series of interviews with some of the most visible and inspiring people world wide (ILTV) PLUS inspiration, business tips, and advice from Keri.