The flair Q&A

Lauree Ostrofsky

Entrepreneur, networker and author (and Hudson Valley Magazine Top Women in Business honoree), Lauree helps you "Simply Leap" to your best and boldest self. As the founder of Hudson Valley Women in Business, she consistently gives female leaders the tools to succeed.​

Tell us about your business or specialty.

I’m an author and speaker with Simply Leap, LLC. For 12 years, I’ve helped women leap into more meaningful work. Figuring out what they want, getting past fear getting in their way, and more confidently putting themselves out there. My background is in media relations, marketing and social media, so I advise business owners on those as part of our work. Four years ago I founded the vibrant community, Hudson Valley Women in Business, which tripled in 2017 and now boasts more than 2100 members throughout our region. Women, and women-identifying genders, at every stage of business growth come together regularly to lean on and learn from each other.

How'd you get to where you are now?

By walking through the doors that opened in front of me. I’m in awe of individuals who work hard to get where there are. I work, to be sure, and most of the best opportunities have presented themselves through the years, from the topics of my books and becoming a speaker to hugging and even my move home to the Hudson Valley. Each time it felt like things were falling into place. Of course, not every open door is a perfect fit, but if any option feels too hard I’ve learned it’s a sign to let it go. Maybe it’ll come back around in another way, or there’s a door already open to try instead. It keeps me focused on the elements I can control.

What surprises you in your work?

Each stage of my business has been a surprise! As an introvert, I never imagined myself in front of a room, let alone becoming a speaker and community leader. I was comfortable behind the scenes, but then I realized it’s easier to be brave when I feel strongly about something. The growth of Hudson Valley Women in Business has been a tremendous and gratifying surprise, too. Who would have guessed that exactly what I needed and wanted was what so many of us do too – to feel less alone figuring out our businesses and to be supported in really going for it.

What drives you crazy?

When women work against themselves and each other. When I see someone publicly second-guessing themselves, when they say their work isn’t that important or money doesn’t matter that much, or when women take down another woman’s success – especially the overt kind of behavior most of us experienced in junior high – it reminds me of watching a horror film. You know when you want to yell out to the actor not to open the closet door because the monster is hiding? We are So Much stronger and more successful when we work together, and when we believe in ourselves. I want to yell that out sometimes, haha.

Who inspires you? (it can be anybody you know, or don't know)

Women supporting each other. When someone raves about the work another is doing, I want to hug them both. It’s such a good feeling. It gives me hope about the direction we’re moving in and all that is possible. I guess that answers what inspires me. There are so many successful, generous, strong women in the Hudson Valley who inspire me. Also Eleanor Roosevelt and Rosa Parks, fellow introverts who found their voices. When I think of what they achieved, I’m speechless. Oh my gosh and Mister Rogers. I love that guy and turn to his words when I need to remember what this is all really about.

You're a trailblazer - what are some highlights?

The growth of Hudson Valley Women in Business feels like a highlight. The confirmation that community is valuable, that women can powerfully lift each other up, and that all of our businesses can grow faster and better through collaboration. My books are a highlight, too. They’re like my babies. It is gratifying to connect with readers and know that my stories are helping them face fear and be more courageous. And how could I not put #HugTour on the list? It felt like a true calling at the time, to give in this simple and loving way to people I care about. The ripple effect of welcoming Hug Tour Ambassadors in 15 states and multiple countries, and growing my wall of hug photos through the years, has been icing on the cake.

Any lessons you’ve learned and would like to share?

“No matter what’s happening, you always have a choice.” This makes its way into everything I write and speak, because I learned it the hard way. In the hospital after surgery to remove my brain tumor, it felt like everything was out of my control. It was only then I realized how much I could still do – we always get to choose what we feel and think about what’s happening, how we talk about it, the people we invite around us, and ultimately the actions we take. “It’s not about you.” As an A-student from way back who grew up trying to do right by everyone in my life in order to gain their approval, the gold stars, that simple phrase has been a helpful reminder. Most of the time people aren’t thinking badly of us, or anything at all! Focus on what I’m doing. Be open to where they may be coming from and what’s on their minds, and ask if you’re not sure, even if it feels vulnerable.


Lauree Ostrofsky helps women leap -- feel clearer about what they want to do and more confident putting themselves out there. As an author, speaker, coach and hugger, she serves a community of A-students around the world who want more than anything to be paid and valued for doing work they love. Her books are, "SIMPLY LEAP: Seven Lessons on Facing Fear and Enjoying the Crap out of Your Life,” and "I'm scared & doing it anyway," about reinventing her life and career after being diagnosed with a brain tumor. Find out more about her writing, speaking and hugging at and @SimplyLeap on Instagram, Facebook & Twitter. Lauree is a Hudson Valley Magazine Top Women in Business Honoree and an Athena Award winner.

(published 2018)