Keri Laine Professional

What Matters Most 

January 10, 20233 min read

My Dad was one of my biggest career champions. 

He gave me a book when I was 16 that aimed to advise women on how to manage themselves in the workplace in order to grow.

The guidance included suggestions to wear clothes that don’t stand out, so for years that’s what I wore (pant suits in navy, black, or gray…). Never bake for a company pot luck, or you could become seen as the office mother hen…. so I brought the plasticware and drinks insted. Don’t forget to avoid cocktail parties, socializing with alcohol sends the wrong message…. and certainly do not talk about family or kids. 

As my career grew, I worked in industries such as construction, engineering, manufacturing, technology, logistics, often the only female on the team.

The message I remembered from it was that for me to be a leader, especially in male dominated industries, I had to be sure I blended in. 

Play it safe. 

Stay in my lane. 

Be a silent showstopper. 

Take your seat at the table, but don’t speak up. 

That didn’t last long. 

Dad meant well. He also knew me well, and at the point I blasted through all the corporate ceilings of age and gender, we laughed about it when I wore neon pumps that matched my company logo to a board meeting…  simply because they were fun. I had reached the point where it didn’t matter what I wore, because my results spoke for themselves. 

Reality is, my personality is the farthest from blending in, and therefore my wardrobe followed suit (pun intended). 

I am opinionated, but I earned the right and credibility to speak my thoughts clearly and with confidence.

I can’t stay in the lanes when I am the one building the highway. 

Playing it safe was boring, so I took every risk and bushwhacked through to my own paths. 

My Dad died the morning of my 40th birthday. He may never know the impact he really had on my career, or that the dreams we once talked about have since turned into reality. 

I think about that book sometimes. The one he gave me, compared to the one I am writing. I went from wearing boring flats to a closet that holds a rainbow of bright pumps… from avoiding company cocktail parties to being the biggest instigator of them. 

From not talking about my kids at the office, to hosting holiday events that include my boys and my colleagues kiddos as well.

(I still don’t bring food to potlucks, but that’s just because I simply don’t cook… everyone has strengths and weaknesses after all). 

Whenever I do publish my book, I hope it helps others navigating their career (male or female) to trust that being true to who you are, following your passions, crushing your goals, bringing results, treating others well, and how you carry yourself…. Is what matters most. 

Although he’ll never get to read it, I am pretty certain my Dad would agree.

#impact #career #technology #engineering #manufacturing #leadership #strengths #goals #dreams #passions #personality #bewhoyouare #womenentrepreneurs #executiveleadership #womenexecutives #kerilaine

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Keri Laine, MHR, CMS

Keri has held C-level roles in various size organizations, public and private. In the past fifteen years, she has specialized in helping technology, manufacturing, and engineering companies disrupt their sector with entrepreneurial, innovative success across the globe. Keri has led organizations through employee growth of 100 to 4,000, both public and private with revenue stages from $40m to $5.6b. She has facilitated 27 mergers and acquisitions globally, spearheading the talent and human capital perspective as well as the business integration, strategic planning, internal communication, and change management. She is a former global Chief level Executive that has taken three organizations public. Keri is a keynote speaker and author. Keri earned her undergraduate degree with a focus on Organizational Behavior from the prestigious Rollins College, where she also earned her Masters Degree in Human Capital Management, and now teaches Graduate level coursework related to strategy, planning, talent optimization, culture building, and more. She is also certified in Change Management, and is a Certified Executive Leadership Development Coach who has coached more than 200 of the top executives and entrepreneurs.

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