• Laura

ROOTS (the conclusion)-part five

The importance of remembering your hype team and hometown during an unpredictable era

Isn’t it funny how one little word can offer so much variety in meaning based on the perspective?

Over the past several weeks, I’ve dissected the word ROOTS and we’ve analyzed how we can reconnect with the different aspects of our roots to help shape us and prepare us for a redefined future. As 2020 finally comes to a close, we can use these concepts as a checklist for reflection, and self-discovery to ensure we wake up in 2021, feeling that much more in tune with who we are, where we came from, where we are going, and how to help others.

  • In Roots part one, you were reminded to reconnect with your faith and family. This is easier said than done, as these are each quite possibly the two areas in our life we take for granted and resist nurturing under the assumption that they will always be there.

  • In Roots part two, I encouraged you to remember what hobbies and talents might have identified you before your career. For me, it was dancing, and now I’m sharing my love and excitement for dancing with my children, which gives me the joy to have it back in my life again, even if it’s just in the living room.

  • In Roots part three, I hopefully made the hospitality folks giggle, and take notice of how much they either MISS being in the weeds, or love their newfound freedom to be pulling weeds whenever they want.

  • In Roots part four, I shared my quarantine hair story, which so many of you can relate to from these past months. Not only were we on lockdown, had tighter budgets, and watching our roots get longer by the day, but I learned that taking a chance on someone and being willing to get out of your comfort zone can have an amazing impact on their life course.

So that brings us to Roots part 5, and the conclusion of the series and guide. This time, I'm reflecting on how ROOTs makes me think of my own hype team, and then last but not least, my hometown, and the people in it.


I think it’s easy to forget the roots of our education and where we learned certain skill sets once our careers take off. We get so busy, with the forward momentum of keeping up with the daily grind, achieving excellence, nurturing team members, and focusing on what’s next. We forget where we came from. We forget that once we knew nothing. We forget the days of “faking it until you make it,” and we can easily forget the teachers, professors, mentors, friends, and early leaders that molded us, believed in us and took risks with us. Don’t forget them, I can assure you they are still cheering you on and love to see you succeed, especially now as you embark on a new normal. They’re part of your roots but can also help define your future.


I promise this won’t turn into a country song, however just typing the words “my hometown” actually made me hum it in my mind as if it was one. I guess that’s the tone you naturally turn to when you are from Columbia, Missouri. Ever heard of it? I’ve actually been surprised since I moved to Florida that it’s more commonly known than I expected. Mostly in part because it’s a college town as the home of the University of Missouri, or “Mizzou” as we call it. Also, just a short drive from the Lake of the Ozarks where we spent summer weekends hitting the outlets, mini-golf courses, and oh yes Party Cove. (It’s a real place and MEN, don’t ever let your daughters visit.) That’s all I’m gonna say.

Oh and NO, we don’t have buffalo roaming our backyards, (literally everyone asks me that,) but it is in the heart of the midwest. Yes, HEART is what I said. I use that word because just about everyone from the midwest comes with a sense of grit, hustle, humility, and heart.

I grew up in this town, and have remained friends with the same group of girlfriends that I went to kindergarten with to this day. My “sisters.” When I think about my hometown, I think about my family of course, who still reside there, but also those girlfriends who many of them also still reside there or have parents still there. As the years have gone on we’ve been there for one another for things like weddings, showers, babies arriving, promotions, and sometimes even the ugly stuff like divorce death, and you guessed it…. Layoffs.

I have several amazing close friends in Florida that have been by my side through the adult portion of my life, and I adore them all. However the “Missouri girls” KNOW me and understand how I navigate the context of my life based on where I come from. We can actually go years without seeing each other, yet pick up where we left off as not a second has passed.

As the pandemic started, we naturally all found a little more time to connect, and like so many others, started a group text. It became one of my more active group text gangs. Something about the ebbs and flows of our conversations gave me such comfort. We shared laughter, silly emojis, heartfelt stories, perspective on the virus, and yes even a few happy hour zoom calls where we grabbed a bottle of wine and hid from our families in our closets to giggle and catch up. I can’t remember when I had so much time to truly be engaged with this group via texts, or phone calls like I had wanted. Work always had me drowning, and the guilt of being a friend that wasn't present ate me up quite a bit.

Through the furlough and layoff phase though, they’ve helped remind me who I am. They care about me as a person, and they know me as Laura… and not a title for a hotel company. I appreciate their level of inclusiveness, despite me being several states away, during one of the hardest times of my life and reminding me that sometimes we need to turn back to our roots, to rediscover ourselves. They’ve also reminded me that they will always be there, our roots are always there and can’t be stripped of our story.



Who were the people that helped shape your career, gave you your big break, mentored you over the years, or simply held a coveted title of a friend in your life? Are you still in contact? Maybe it’s time to reach out, and say thank you for their nuggets of wisdom. Thank them for their friendship. Maybe it’s time to look around and see who YOU can now befriend, support, or guide during such an unpredictable era.