21 Women Making An Impact: Laura Ness Owens, VP Marketing Communication & Public Affairs, Doosan Bobcat North America

Written by: Brady Drake
  • United Way Volunteer and Investor
  • United Way Employee Campaign Committee Member
  • United Way Emerging Leader

What is one lesson you have learned? How did you learn it?

How to create appropriate boundaries. I have learned that everyone handles stress and tension in different ways – and when colleagues, friends or family put their stress or tension on me – through guilt, anger or disappointment – I internalized their feelings and wasn’t my best self in how I responded to the situation – yet I continued to let it happen. At some point, I realized that I was enabling the bad behavior by not managing it better and I learned the value of boundaries. I didn’t remove those individuals from my life, I don’t hold grudges; rather, I put emotional boundaries in place that allowed me to put myself back in the driver’s seat for the good of my feelings, my happiness and my success. I respect myself more now, I am more confident, I’m not weighed down by past emotional burdens, I’m true to myself and my values, and I truly understand the meaning of kindness to oneself.

What advice do you have for women looking to build their professional careers?

Vice President Kamala Harris recently said that you don’t need permission to lead. I couldn’t agree more! Don’t wait for someone to allow you a seat at the table – find your way to the seat! If you stumble on the way, learn from it and try again!

What do you think is the biggest issue/challenge/priority for women in the workplace?

Finding our voice! I’ve struggled with what to say, when to say it and how to say it.
As a result, I worked to find confidence in how I did my fact-finding, how I built my message and how I honed my approach. It isn’t easy, but every breath offers a great opportunity to reset ourselves and start over!

Workforce development continues to be a leading topic for our business community – how can we all be part of the solution?

As employers, we are responsible to continue creating opportunities for individuals with all backgrounds, educations and experiences. At Doosan Bobcat, we’re proud to offer on the job training and hire people with diverse backgrounds to help us achieve our company goals. We need to continue to look internally at our practices and processes – and encourage other businesses to do the same to address workforce development in our community.

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Brady is the Editorial Director at Spotlight Media in Fargo, ND.