“She Says” with Laura Luckman Kelber
Giving is something that comes easy to long-time Women Employed donor, Laura Luckman Kelber. Being the daughter of a former Cook County Judge, she always had a passion for social justice and community politics. With dreams of one day becoming a senator, Laura had a change of heart and decided to follow a more creative path. One that led her to obtain an MBA instead of a law degree, venture into advertising and later marketing, where she is now the Chief Marketing Officer of Double Good. And while she has seen great success throughout her career, Laura still looked for an opportunity to give back. She found that when she was introduced to Women Employed.
Ten years ago, Laura was invited to attend a Women Employed luncheon and it was love at first sight, saying, “Women Employed sits at the intersection of my advertising career and love of social justice.” Though she was between jobs at the time of her attending, she knew that when the time was right, she would find a way to give to the organization. Since then, has been a faithful supporter. In this installment of “She Says,” Laura Luckman Kelber shares her background, why she supports Women Employed, and why others should too.
Tell us a little about you and your background.
I’m born and raised in Chicago. I started in Rogers Park and then spent a great deal of time in Skokie. After college, I returned to Chicago and never looked back. I’m a city girl and love everything about it, so the suburbs just weren’t for me.
I initially thought I was going to be a senator. My dad was a criminal defense attorney and later became a judge in Cook County. So, I sort of grew up around the Chicago machine. With my dad, you could either talk about sports or you could talk politics, and I chose to talk about politics.
I went to law school, but it wasn’t for me, so I pivoted and got my MBA. I fell in love with being creative and went into advertising, and now marketing. But while I have enjoyed being creative, I’ve always had a passion for social justice and community politics. It’s always been in me. And that’s where Women Employed comes in. It sits at the intersection of my advertising career and my love of social justice.
I was introduced to Women Employed at one of your luncheons about 10 years ago and fell in love with the organization. Women Employed is very special in this city. It’s important that Women Employed is focusing on Women of Color and low-paid women who often lack support. For example, people working in the service industry, hourly employees, and people work two jobs and have children and still need help. I understand that struggle. And that’s why I feel so strongly about this organization because Women Employed is working to ensure those supports are in place.
More than ever, there need to be people who have the resources to help those who don’t. That’s how I was raised. My parents didn’t always have those resources. And even though I had an idyllic suburban upbringing, I always knew that there were people who didn’t share that same experience. So that’s why I support Women Employed.
What is something that you would tell people about why they should support Women Employed?
It’s just the right thing to do. If you’re fortunate to have all your needs met, and have something left over, then you should share a little of what you have. I want to live in a society where everybody has a home, is safe, and feels secure.
I don’t believe in the “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” mentality because that’s not true. Individuals can only do so much, and you can’t fix a broken system. And I think Women Employed does a good job of trying to fix what’s broken.
What do you think paved the way for you to become who you are today?
My parents always taught me to treat people well. They were always so kind to everyone. Even though my parents had great success, they came from nothing. They came from poverty and were proud of it. A lot of people are ashamed of where they come from, but my parents weren’t. And they never forgot where they came from.
What kind of impact do you hope to make or legacy to leave behind?
I just hope that I am able to help people, even individually. In any organization I’m affiliated with, I mentor and help individuals rise. I hope to be a good steward of my luck and continue to be known as someone who treats people with respect and kindness.