WIN Spotlight: Laura Hyde Page
Welcome to the latest “WIN Spotlight,” our ongoing series that celebrates inspirational women in our community. Each interview features a member of WIN who is championing innovation at her organization. We dig into the diverse perspectives, influencers, missions, drivers, and dreams of these leaders, and of course, share practical tips.
We’re excited to feature Laura Hyde Page, Innovation Director at Salesforce and WIN Ambassador. When Laura's not innovating at Salesforce, she works as an innovation coach for two cities tackling ambiguous projects as part of Bloomberg Philanthropies Mayor's Challenge, travels, and regularly attends WIN events.
We met for coffee at the Ferry Building for a Friday morning coffee and chat. Enjoy!
Who are you and what do you do?
Like a lot of the incredible women I have had the chance to connect with through WIN, I think of myself as a hybrid researcher strategist. Officially, I work within the Office of Innovation at Salesforce in a team called Ignite, where we help our most ambitious customers accelerate their customer-centered transformation journeys.
What are the life moments that most influenced who/where you are today?
I had this crazy notion that I should get a law degree and an architecture degree because my brain couldn’t handle the idea of choosing between the creative and analytical. My parents were unwavering in their support of this insanity and really helped me through both graduations and the career ambiguity that followed! Luckily I ended up finding my place in the world, but I am grateful that they never insisted I define what I wanted to be from day one.
If you had to choose one, who is the woman that most inspires you? Why?
Whether it was refusing to take the Dutch flag off her bike during World War II (despite being shot at), or raising three children with a husband who was out to sea 6 months of the year, both of my grandmothers have taught me to be resilient and appreciate what is really important in life.
How do you stay inspired and creative? Do you have any routines or rituals?
I meditate for anywhere between 2 to 20 minutes a day which has really helped me stay present, focused, and keep anxiety at bay. I have also started keeping a gratitude journal where I list three things I am grateful for each day, and try to get out into nature or to an art gallery at least once a week for inspiration.
What is the best advice someone has given you?
Be the kind of person who is willing to admit they were wrong, have changed their mind, and are still figuring things out. The reality is life is messy and we grow and change over time. Very few decisions are set in stone and being open to the good and bad that life throws you can lead to amazing things.
How did you get to your current role today, and what is your advice for women looking to take a similar path?
I think a lot of luck and an adventurous spirit got me here. I am an Australian who has lived in London, Hong Kong, and now San Francisco. With most of these moves I also had to take a huge leap of faith career-wise and accept that there could be a lot of rejection and what felt like backwards steps along the way. As far as advice goes, I would say, stay curious about people. You never know which conversation might spark a new direction or idea.
What is the last book you read and why?
I have just finished Dare to Lead by Brene Brown. I had watched a few of her talks and even spent time discussing her approach at a recent WIN Breakfast Club, so decided to read her most recent book. I not only love her research, but also her candor and willingness to tell personal stories to explain a lot of her insights about human behavior. She is kind of amazing!
What is your favorite app and why?
The Keep app by Google. It’s simple but I am a list maker and I use it for almost everything. Whether it is as straightforward as a shared grocery list with my husband, books to read, or activities to do on vacation, I think anybody who saw what I keep in Keep would probably feel like they knew me pretty well (which probably means Google knows me a little too well).
What is your favorite podcast and why?
I love so many podcasts, but recently saw Sarah Koenig speak at an event called People Nerds and was so inspired by the depth of thinking that went into the first season of Serial. She talked about how, as producers, they rapidly pitch their ideas to elicit feedback and how she ended up being much more of a feature in the story than she had initially planned. One of the big takeaways for me was around how important it is to tell the story that needs to be told in that moment, and not necessarily sticking to a formula that feels safer. I think this is incredibly important in the world of innovation where, if you are not careful, time and budget restrictions can lead to a templated way of doing things that suck the magic out.
What excites you most about the world right now?
Along with enormous technological change we are starting to see a huge shift in social values as well. While there is a lot of focus on the negative, there is a new generation of opportunistic, community-minded leaders who are really starting to have a voice and shake things up (Greta Thunberg, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Noor Tagouri and SO many more). While change won’t happen overnight, I think it’s really exciting.
What is your favorite quotation?
Haha — I’m just gonna go ahead and answer with Brene Brown again. From her latest book:
“Choose courage over comfort. Choose whole hearts over armor. And choose the great adventure of being brave and afraid. At the exact same time.”
Photos & interview done by Katie Burwick
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