An Interview with Laura Hammarstrom: Event Manager and Founder of Laura Hammarstrom, CMP, LLC

An Interview with Laura Hammarstrom

Laura Hammarstrom is an experienced event planner and business owner who has organized many events both in the US and internationally for very important people, including top bosses at big companies and rich families.

She worked at Walmart’s main office for over ten years, where she managed events and projects.

Laura knows a lot about organizing events and talking to people. She has a special certificate for meeting planning and has started her own event planning company called Laura Hammarstrom, CMP, LLC.

Tell us about yourself?

Hello! In the quick social media sense, I would share that I am a traveler, freelance event manager, kayaker, bluegrass music lover, OZ Trails mountain biker, non-fiction book reader, Mexican food devourer, earth hugger, a caring partner, and dog mother.

Personally, I am most proud of being an avid traveler that loves exploring other cultures and traditions, having traveled to 62 countries—the further off the beaten path in remote mountain villages, the better. Nepal was the first country that truly stole my heart and lit the fire to keep discovering.

Professionally, I am an entrepreneur and Certified Meeting Professional, leading Laura Hammarstrom, CMP, LLC. As an event manager in the incentive travel industry, there is nothing greater than providing attendees with experiences of a lifetime.

What makes you different than other professionals in your field?

I feel fortunate to have ‘grown-up’ professionally working at the headquarters for the Fortune 1 company – Walmart, and especially fortunate to have worked in a chief of staff role supporting the Walmart International President and CEO.

Having a seat at the table with c-level executives running the world’s largest company gave insight into operating a business greater than any degree I have received.

The experiences I had during this time with building out strategic plans, project management, and honing leadership skills have proven invaluable as a business owner and event manager.

How much potential market share can you achieve in the next 3 years?

The past year has been incredibly difficult on the event industry. As challenging as it has been for many, it has provided time for business owners to tighten up their business strategies and provided a huge opportunity to grow market share as the industry recovers.

What was the most important part of your professional journey?

When I found out I could mix my job as an event manager with my love for traveling the world, it was a big moment for me.

The more I found out about the part of the event industry that deals with travel rewards, and after I joined the Society of Incentive Travel Excellence, I realized I had found the perfect job for me.

What are the best and worst purchases you’ve ever made?

As a self-proclaimed nomad, I prioritize travel over material possessions like luxury cars or big houses, always finding a way to explore. I also value a good night’s sleep, crediting my Puffy mattress for life-changing rest.

Reflecting on past spending, I question the value of money and time spent on clothes and shoes after a year at home.

What takes up too much of your time?

My iPhone. Whether it is checking social media, the news, stocks, emails, real estate listings, photos, etc., I always have it nearby. If I don’t, I feel lost and panic a bit. All the more reason that finding ways to check out completely by hiking in the woods or kayaking down a river is important to me.

What three pieces of advice would you give to college students/new startup business owners who want to become entrepreneurs?

  1. Relationships matter. Every professional job I have been hired for is because of someone I knew. It wasn’t from the internet, job posts, recruiters, or other traditional methods; it is because someone heard of the position and thought of me. Relationships have become even more important as a business owner in event management.
  2. Explore roles, industries, and careers. I thought I needed to have my professional life figured out at the age of 18 – which university, my major, and future career path. I was so focused on becoming a marketing and advertising professional in the corporate world the first ten years of my career that I nearly missed out on finding my true calling in the event industry. Fortunately, my mentor challenged me to take on a new role, and it transitioned my entire career path.
  3. You don’t have to know it all. You just must have the vision. You can always hire subject matter experts to help build out your vision.

Who has impressed you most with what they’ve accomplished?

I first understood the essence of entrepreneurship through Stephen Huynh-Ufford during a 75-day adventure in South America. Traveling alongside Stephen and his partner, Bill, I was captivated by his journey of founding, growing, and selling companies.

His business savvy and willingness to explore South America’s backroads for an extended period left a lasting impression on me.

What drives you to keep going when it’s really tough?

The awareness of broader experiences fuels perseverance, emphasizing the importance of perspective and compartmentalization.

Despite meticulous planning as an event manager, deviations can feel catastrophic, yet they serve as reminders of their relative insignificance in the larger picture, teaching resilience and self-compassion.

Related Post