Interview by Hannah Sprouse
As Executive Vice President at FrazierHeiby, Lauren Parker is balancing her family time within the digital realm of her job. Originally from Dayton, OH, Lauren moved to New York City to pursue a career in marketing and communications. After close to a decade in the Big Apple, she picked up and moved to Columbus with her husband to raise their kids closer to family and to continue her career in “one of the most exciting cities in the Midwest,” as she proudly exclaims. Lauren loves the welcoming and diverse community that surrounds her in the Buckeye state. She values the importance of her employees, her husband and children, and the people of Columbus.
Give us a snapshot of your career path, including past employers and positions: The bulk of my career was spent with Peppercomm, where I honed my skills in crisis and reputation management, brand positioning, social media management, influencer marketing and other communications-related disciplines. I then took on the role of VP of Communications with Hot Paper Lantern, an agency focused on brands navigating digital transformation. When I moved back to Columbus in 2015, I was able to keep my job in New York and work from a home office, traveling back to NYC often. While working from home is not for everyone, I was able to find a routine that worked for me and learned to love the flexibility and digital tools that kept me connected to my teams.
Tell us about your new job role and organization: FrazierHeiby is a boutique communications and marketing agency that’s been well-established in the Central Ohio market for more than 30 years. As Executive Vice President, I’ll guide company strategy and business development, while managing a number of accounts and expanding our service offerings. In this industry, our employees are our greatest asset, so I’m also focused on expanding our professional development and fostering a culture of curiosity, creativity and continuous learning. I’m excited about the opportunity to take the firm to the next level and expand perceptions around what we do, where we play and who we serve.
What most excites you about FrazierHeiby? The FrazierHeiby team is so strong and I see huge potential to build on its great foundation. My arrival, plus some additional staff restructuring, was intentional to ensure sustainable leadership, elevate the experience working with and for our agency, and – ultimately – drive scale-ability and growth.
What gets you up in the morning? And what gets you through the work week? I’m a working mom with three kids under the age of four, so……coffee. Sincerely, I am genuinely proud of the career I’ve built and eager to flex different parts of my brain to solve problems for my clients along with my stellar team. I get through the workweek by looking forward to the precious time I’ll get to spend with my husband and kids. And when I can squeeze in time to do something for myself, like reading a book or going for a long run, my energy is restored.
What advice or mentors have helped guide you along the way? I’ve had several mentors over the years who picked me up when I was feeling down and encouraged me to try new things and see my full potential. The best advice I’ve received is simple: take risks, know you will stumble, and try again. That’s helped me find confidence in my own abilities and learn to be comfortable with uncertainty.
Explain some of your work-life balance challenges. How do you achieve success in spite of the hustle and bustle? I am very protective of my time – with three kids and a career, I have to be. I schedule my days for maximum efficiency and always look for ways to multi-task. Part of my morning routine involves reevaluating my priorities for the day – at work and at home – and making choices about what’s realistic for me to tackle. I also make sure to schedule time for myself to exercise or read. Giving myself those mental breaks to recharge is critical for avoiding burnout.
What do you do or where do you go to unwind? I recently ran the Columbus Marathon, my fourth full marathon to date (and fastest time!). Running is a great way to let my mind wander and enjoy the outdoors. Columbus is a great city for runners with paths, trails, parks and fun places to explore on two feet. My favorite running destination is Antrim Park.
What might someone be surprised to know about you? I’m an introvert! I like to socialize and be around people, but those experiences leave me feeling tired and drained. If given the choice, I’d always choose a night in with a good book. (I recommend Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain for my fellow introverts).
If you could have a superpower, which would you choose? I wish I had the power to be in multiple places at once. I could be in the office working on an exciting new project, playing with my kids at COSI, and getting all of the work done around the house without missing a beat.
When you were a kid, what did you say you wanted to be when you grew up? My mom kept a homework assignment I completed in the fourth grade where I wrote that I wanted to work in advertising in New York City when I grew up. Fortunately, I came pretty close to that vision for many years!
What books or podcasts are you reading/listening to now? I’m currently reading Calypso by David Sedaris and The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, both of which are fantastic. I listen to a number of really varied podcasts when I run, including This American Life, Armchair Expert, Revisionist History, How I Built This and Pod Save America.
What would your autobiography be called? I wish I could borrow Mindy Kaling’s memoir title, Why Not Me? Thanks to a lot of support from family and colleagues, I’ve been able to discover a willingness to try new things; a belief that I could take on any challenge if I tried. When I see a problem, I think, “I could figure out how to fix that.” When I see an opportunity to step up and lead, I think, “Why not me?”
Which organization are you involved with around the community? I’m a member of the Columbus chapter of Women in Digital, which aims to empower and bring together women working in technology-driven careers. It’s been a great way to meet others and exchange information on the latest trends we’re seeing across various industries (after all, digital is transforming essentially every career path).
What are among the top places you’d recommend to someone who is visiting or new to Columbus? Some of my favorite spots in the city include the Franklin Park Conservatory, The Columbus Museum of Art and Gallery Hop in the Short North. For a night out, I’d recommend catching live music at Rambling House, dinner and a beer at Rockmill Brewery, and a round of duckpin bowling at Pins Mechanical Co.
What’s the most exciting thing about Columbus right now? In moving to Columbus from New York City, I wasn’t sure what to expect and wondered if I’d have access to the things I loved most about the big city like great restaurants, live music/theater, and other cultural venues. Fortunately, Columbus completely delivers, just on a smaller scale. Columbus offers art, culture and entertainment – plus access to top-notch educational and career opportunities, affordable living, and a diverse, welcoming community.
What are three things that you think Columbus needs? 1. Public Transit: I’d love to see public transit continue to expand and improve. Fortunately, investments are being made in this area and I hope it continues. 2. Sports: The new Crew stadium will be a huge advantage for the downtown area – and it would be great to field another major pro sports team in Central Ohio. 3. Healthy Food: Columbus has a number of small urban farms and industry organizations that pool their resources. I’d love to see more support of these essential resources that are greatly needed in the urban city center.
If someone were to ask you what the “pulse” of Columbus is, what would you tell them? Columbus is changing fast – and moving in the right direction. I’m thrilled to be a part of this vibrant community.