Feb 14, 2018
Laura Love, is
the Founder and Chief Cultural Officer of GroundFloor Media, Inc.,
which has been recognized four times by OUTSIDE magazine as one of
the top five Best Places to Work in America (including twice at No.
1). Laura joins Jim and Jan in a discussion about building a
startup around a vision of shared values and culture, and shares
leadership basics learned over the years that have given her
company an attrition rate of 2 percent (the metric).
[2:21] Laura believes that
investing time in the hiring process, including informal meetings,
helps discover if a candidate will be a good fit. Immediate and
thorough onboarding brings a new associate into the culture and
teaches them the values. It is essential for associates to feel
welcome and wanted.
[5:08] Laura wants people to
feel that the company is a family that always has each other’s
back. Extending the family to their clients means getting to know
them on a personal level. Feedback to clients comes from a place of
integrity and support.
[6:30] Laura started GroundFloor
Media from her basement, and she wanted to design a company where
people were treated like human beings and where people actually
wanted to work because it didn’t feel like work.
[12:58] Laura finds that being
personally open and vulnerable with her team allows her team to be
open with her when they are going through difficulties.
[14:13] Laura hires based on
values. She has filled her company with people who embrace the same
values and culture so she knows they will make the decisions she
would make if she were present.
[18:34] People remember the
words you speak and the feeling behind them. If a leader is not
aligned with the words they speak, people will notice. Be
intentional and be aligned with what you say.
[26:36] Laura depends on peer
groups, and meets quarterly with a forum and checks in with them
monthly. She has a ‘painful 7:00 a.m. accountability call’ each
week with a peer, where they share experiences, not advice. Laura
offers three reasons to get involved. It can be lonely at the top,
so feedback advisors are crucial. You are in this together and
learn from each other. Your forum is loyal.
[29:57] Laura has one-on-one
walking meetings to give associates space to unpack their dreams
for her. Then she empowers them to work on that development ideal
for four weeks and report back to her.
[32:25] Laura puts an emphasis
on hiring people who are smart and able to go create and to make
decisions. Laura’s entrepreneur father taught her to do business on
a handshake. Use contracts but business should be based on trust
and respect, and with people whose company you want to keep. To
make the business world better, deal with people you like and
respect. We all work harder because of it.
LinkedIn: Laura Love
“Culture is like a heartbeat.
You can really feel it when you walk into a room of any company
that has a strong culture.”
“We are a family, … we have each
others’ back, and that extends to our clients, as well. We are part
of their family.”
“I knew that I knew how to do
PR. I never imagined owning a company.”
People who see the silver lining
in every situation can learn from bad experiences and apply the
good in new circumstances.
Unless you are open and vulnerable and allow
people to support you in your journey, they will not engage with
you when they go through trials.
“If you hire correctly and you
hire based on values, then it doesn’t matter as much that you’re
not in the room, anymore.”
Much of leadership is about
hiring the right people and creating a culture where it’s very
intentional but organic.
Culture is set from the top but
if it’s only a mandate from the top and it’s not embraced, it will
People remember the words you
speak and the feeling behind them. If a leader is not aligned with
the words they speak, people can sense that.
Leaders give takeaways. The goal
is to have people hear you and create their own
“Everyone has a chance and a
choice. They choose ‘in.’ And if they choose out of our
organization I will support them fully.”
“If [a development goal] comes
from me, it’s not going to be as impactful as if it’s something
“I hire people much smarter than
I am and I get the hell out of their way.”
“Do business with people you
like and respect. We all work harder because of it.”
“The biggest learning I’ve had …
is so simple, but it’s just — be real. People are so comfortable
when somebody’s real.”
“It may mean that it looks messy
… it may be painting outside the numbers but at least it’s your
artwork and it’s exactly who you are.”
“I would tell people that are
younger and starting out — don’t try and be any different than who
Put together a list for the year
of 52 things you will do that scare you or you have never done
In 2001, Laura
Love decided to take a
leap of faith and create a public relations agency that was unlike
any she had experienced before. Drawing from a background in
journalism and extensive experience in media relations, she
launched GroundFloor Media (GFM) out of her basement in Boulder,
Colo., with a focus on hiring senior-level talent who both served
as strategists and handled tactical execution for clients. Sixteen
years later, the peer-to-peer model still stands, and GFM is now an
award-winning communications firm focused on public relations and
crisis & issues management and staffed by nearly 40 seasoned
professionals. In 2016, Laura co-founded GFM’s sister agency,
CenterTable, offering social media, digital advertising, website
design and development, SEO, video production, creative campaigns
and content development.
GFM has been recognized four
times by OUTSIDE magazine as one of the top five Best Places to
Work in America (including twice at No. 1). GFM was also named the
Best Boutique Agency to Work For in the nation by The Holmes
Report, an influential public relations industry newsletter. It was
also recognized by the Denver Business Journal as one of the top
small companies on its Best Places to Work list for seven years in
a row. In 2016, GFM was named a Certified B Corporation® by the
global nonprofit B Lab®, which recognizes companies meeting the
highest global standards for corporate transparency,
accountability, and social and environmental
In 2015, Laura created GFM’s
primary charitable giving arm called The Get Grounded Foundation.
The private 501(c)(3) foundation provides one-year community grants
for new or expanded, innovative or entrepreneurial programs or
projects within an existing, qualified nonprofit that directly
support the healthy development of at-risk or neglected youth
between the ages of 3 and 13 in the Denver Metro area.
Community involvement is not
only a passion but a way of life for Laura. Since she launched the
agency, Laura has dedicated at least 15 percent of GFM’s work to
nonprofit clients and pro bono accounts. She serves on numerous
boards including Center for Women’s Health Research, Downtown
Denver Inc., Early Milestones Colorado, Emmanuel Sanders
Foundation, Havern School, Rocky Mountain Children’s Law Center and
Tennyson Center for Children. She is a member of the Colorado
Women's Chamber of Commerce and she serves on the Denver Art
Museum’s marketing & strategic alliance committee. She is also
past president of the Colorado chapter of the Entrepreneurs’
Laura earned a master’s degree
in journalism from Northwestern University and a bachelor’s degree
from Vanderbilt University. In her spare time, she likes to dabble
in real estate investing, is a frustrated interior designer and
can’t figure out why she is always last on the Peloton leaderboard.
Her teenage daughter just got her driver’s permit (so she
encourages you to please stay off of the road), and her two young
sons may have given her a gray hair or two, but they also always
keep her laughing.
Books mentioned in this episode
Tribe: On Homecoming and
Belonging, by Sebastian