WOMEN SHAPING HISTORY 2014
Lauren Ruotolo: Director of Entertainment Promotions, Hearst Magazines
What has inspired your current career path?
Ever since I was a little girl, I knew I wanted to be part of the entertainment industry and the excitement behind it but my current publishing career path which became a very happy accident almost 13 years ago I have to say that I am 100% inspired by the industry’s enthusiasm for allowing women to break the glass ceiling. Plus, there is nothing like walking into the Hearst Tower, riding up the escalator and knowing that you get to be part of iconic brands that have been around for at least 50 plus years.
What are some of the greatest challenges you’ve faced? How did you overcome them?
That is definitely a hard question because I began my journey of difficult challenges when I was just 9-months and diagnosed with McCune Albrights Syndrome, by the time I was 9 years old, I had already been in 8 body casts and been in and out of the hospital at least 20 times. Challenges have become part of my DNA. When you are diagnosed with a disease at such a young age, it becomes part of who you are both physically and mentally. Since I can never physically overcome my disease, I found that I needed to overcome it mentally. I decided that my voice and personality were going to overshadow my physical disabilities. My voice became my largest advocate and what makes me stand out today. Okay, well-being 4’2”, walking with crutches and wearing stilettos might also make me stand out. I believe your voice is the most powerful and useful tool we have. Own what you want out of life and scream it from the rooftop. I used my voice to tell every doctor, nurse, parents, teacher and friend that said I couldn’t be part of do or be part of something due to my disability that I was stronger and more able do anything I set my mind, too.
What are some of the accomplishments you are most proud of?
First off, I am proud that I stuck to my decision at the age of 5 years to never be in a wheelchair and 32 years later, I am still walking down the streets of Manhattan. Overall, I am most proud of my determination to never let the word NO be part of my vocabulary and have taken every stride I can possibly imagine doing everything I want in life. Hey, I even wrote book entitled, Unstoppable in Stilettos.
Who have been the most influential mentors in your life?
My mentors hands down are my parents and my physical therapist Carolyn. They never ever looked or said I was different in anyway. Actually, they pushed me every day of my life to be the confident and resilient woman I am today.
What would you describe as a turning point in your life?
The most dramatic turning point in my life so far, had to be when I left home and went to Hofstra University. Even though my dorm room was probably only 35 minutes from my parents’ house, it was a different world with people who didn’t know who I was from the time I was a child. I grew up with my friends knowing me and my disability their whole life. This was the first time; I actually felt like a disabled person and had to define who I was to a whole new group of people.
It look about a month or two for me to shout once again from the rooftops who I was and what I offered but once I was heard, and had the time of my life.
What are your goals for the future?
1. To help every child and adult create a sense of self love & self-worth. By providing someone with the gift of loving themselves is a gift that will last throughout a person life. A person who loves themselves will be loved by everyone.
2. Spread my 5-minute rule across the world and ask everyone to stop defining a person by their color, class, ethnicity or disability. Give people a chance and get to know them for 5 minutes, find the common denominator between you and them. Trust me there is one, plus you may find your next best friend, colleague, boyfriend, girlfriend etc.
3. Begin a family of my own.#