Meet Impact 100 Jersey Coast Member Linda Lautenberg
By Janet Mazur Cavano
Where do you live?
Holmdel, New Jersey
What do you do for a living?
I’m the co-founder of Evolve, a professional development company I launched in November for women who’re at a transition point in their career or looking to make a shift in their personal life. What makes it special is that we’re not career coaches. Our signature program focuses on bringing women together — we lead them through five full days of programming. The real magic is the women go through this together, getting inspiration and confidence from each other. It’s been really well received! I’m a returner (to the workforce) from a finance background and both my partner and I found the pivoting, the freelancing, the trying-to-figure-it-out on our own to be very isolating.
How did you discover Impact 100 Jersey Coast?
When I was starting to return to the workforce, I got involved with the alumnae online group for Harvard Business School. A member told me about a philanthropy group in New Jersey and pointed me to her sister, who was a member — it was everything I was looking for and I joined in 2017.
What inspired your about the organization?
Initially, it was the energy and enthusiasm in Impact’s numbers — the level of organization and professionalism was incredible! I wanted to be a part of something that was going to have an impact on the lives of others! I also love that it shines a light on non-profits all over the county.
How have you been involved in Impact and what has it meant for you?
The first year, I was all IN! I was on a Focus Area Committee (FAC), served as a leader for the site visit, and then as a liaison to the finalist. In the second and third years, I chaired the Environment, Parks and Recreation Committee. Not only are you doing something amazing, but it is a great way to gain professional experience.
Selfishly, I got some of ME back! I’m sure it’s a thing people don’t think of much, but women who’re staying at home, or are on career breaks, can gain so much experience and confidence from their involvement. The women leading Impact JC do so much work to make it so possible and so comfortable to take on a leadership position!
You keep renewing your membership; tell us why.
When I see the impact we’re having at the end of year – the joy and gratitude on the faces of the recipients at the annual meeting — it’s so worthwhile.
Also, all the wonderful women I’ve met; it’s great to meet people from around the county and also to work with an intergenerational group – this really gives you a range of perspectives. In fact, my 78-year-old mother-in-law is going to join this year – she has so much knowledge and background to offer!
What’s the best piece of life advice you’ve received?
Breathe. I got that advice recently. A speaker at an event who just launched her own business was giving everybody in the room this advice. It’s something I forget a lot of times. Just stop and take your time. Everything else will all still be there. Just breathe.
What keeps you sane and balanced?
My family and my friends! I have an incredibly supportive husband — he’s an ophthalmologist with a practice in Toms River — and once I decided to launch my business, he really stepped up. So have my three kids! My business partner and I work amazingly well together, too. Having the support grounds you and makes you really grateful.
What’s one thing about you that most people probably don’t know?
I have a bright and beautiful six-year-old therapy dog, a King Charles Spaniel called Archie. He has his own hospital volunteer credentials and he’s been a therapy dog since he was three. You go through a rigorous training process — we both are trained — and then you can bring them to nursing homes and school programs. Archie lives in my house with my two cats, a rabbit and the four rescue kittens that my daughter is bottle-feeding!