Laurie Balla is the reigning Mrs Great Lakes International. The International Pageant System has been developed to promote today’s married women, their accomplishments and commitment to family and marriage. Growing up in a modest household, she learned to be resourceful. From a young age, she learned how to create the life she wanted through hard work and generating her own opportunities. After becoming a business owner, she started to teach women how to be successful and create the life that they want. Realizing her mission aligned with the YWCA, this led to a perfect partnership. Her platform is Transforming Women with the YWCA!
Laurie does website development and social media marketing that sells. When you have talent creating your products, but you don’t understand how to market them you need someone like Laurie who can develop your online presence and make your business known to the public. She makes woman owned businesses stronger, because strong women and strong businesses build strong communities.
Laurie helps you get your name everywhere. This extends to her clients as well as with the charities that she works with. She is a Woman of Vision for the YWCA, which means that she donates enough throughout the year to feed 100 families for a month. She is Marketing Chair for Junior League of South Bend, which does a lot to help the YWCA. Laurie is also the Director of Technology for WBOM (Women Business Owners of Michiana) and has been involved with that group for over 8 years. WBOM’s focus is serving those most in need: Organizations from internationally known YWCA to local groups like St. Margaret’s House, which is a day center for women who live on the street. They feed the homeless, give them a place to rest and to have fellowship with others, give them interview outfits and job opportunities, and they even have a silk scarf painting business that many people who come there participate in.
Laurie enjoys her Toastmasters club, where she serves as Vice President of Education. She loves to hone her public speaking skills while encouraging others to do the same.
Laurie has been married to her husband Dan for over 16 years and resides in Mishawaka.
What makes you smile?
I am a cheerleader for small businesses. In college, I attempted to try out for my college cheerleading squad, but days before tryouts were scheduled, the entire squad disassembled. The athletic director allowed me to re-build a cooperative squad that still exists today. I have that same determination when it comes to helping small women owned businesses around the country and when I see other women succeed in their businesses, it makes me smile!
Describe a date night with your husband...
My hubby and I love to explore the sights of Chicago and try new restaurants. Sometimes just to be spontaneous we will take off in the middle of the week! One time we took a Segway tour, helmets and all, meeting people from all over the country, then dined at RPM Steak, owned by Bill and Giuliana Rancic. We supported small businesses and had a great time.
How do you relax?
Nature is where I find my greatest calm. Beautiful, natural surroundings such as the beach is a great place to relax, even in the winter time! Being in contact with that sandy shore and looking out over the water puts me in my happy place every time! 4.
Describe your personal style...
My personal style can be described as \'Modern Marilyn\'. I love that classic 50\'s vibe, but modernized. I even have a dress that was designed by Marilyn’s favorite designer, Ceil Chapman! It is one of my favorites.