Founder, Laura Campbell & Assoc.
Laura Campbell has more than two decades of experience launching and growing businesses – as an entrepreneur, a venture capitalist, a strategist and a corporate communicator for both public and private companies. During her career she has assisted more than 250 businesses and start-ups in their growth and development, as well as guided hundreds of executive coaching clients. In addition to mentoring at the Wond’ry, Ms. Campbell is active board member and advisor to multiple organizations across the nation.
Ms. Campbell’s strengths lie in her ability to help businesses and individuals identify, articulate and implement their often cutting-edge visions. She is known for her organizational abilities with an eye on the big picture, as well as her solid grounding in the financial realities and details of new business development and existing business management.
Ms. Campbell has served as CEO of Laura Campbell & Associates since the company’s inception in 1997. The business growth advisory firm’s clients include new and existing businesses, investors and individuals from across the country. Laura Campbell & Associates supports clients in areas such as strategic planning; executive coaching; sales and business development; fundraising strategy and investor relations; and marketing and communications.
Previously, Ms. Campbell founded the Nashville Health Care Council, a highly successful organization created to support the growth and collaboration of new, existing and relocating healthcare businesses. Ms. Campbell developed the Council’s business plan, raised more than $1.5 million to fund its launch and ongoing operations, assembled a prestigious Board of Directors representing diverse areas of the healthcare industry, created a variety of events and informational resources, and significantly increased awareness of the industry’s presence.
Before spearheading the formation of the Council, she was a Partner at one of the South’s oldest, largest venture capital firms, Massey Burch Capital Corp., primarily investing in early-stage healthcare, technology, communications and other service companies. As a member of the investment committee, she evaluated new ventures, advised companies in the development of their business plans and identities, and assisted in managing the portfolio of investments. During nearly a decade with Massey Burch, Ms. Campbell led the formation and marketing of a $30 million fund and established a leading annual venture capital conference.
Ms. Campbell is a nationally recognized expert in launching, growing and funding companies. In addition to mentoring for the Wond’ry at Vanderbilt, Nashville Entrepreneur Center and Launch Tennessee, she has served on boards of numerous companies and organizations, including the Nashville Society of Financial Analysts, Nashville Capital Network, Vanderbilt University Health Care Management Programs, Belmont University Center for Entrepreneurship Women’s Programs, Tennessee Venture Group and Franklin Road Academy. Ms. Campbell was appointed to the Nashville Entrepreneurism Task Force and also served as Co-Chair of the Healthcare Delivery Solutions Congress, a national forum for industry thought leaders. She was recognized as a top “40 under 40″ in both The Tennessean and Business Nashville and honored multiple times in the Nashville Business Journal’s Health Care 100 and Medical News’ InCharge Healthcare.
Q. What excites you most about the Wond’ry?
A. Aside from the state-of-the-art facility of the Wond’ry, I am most excited about the opportunity to collaborate within a like-minded community of innovators and entrepreneurs. I especially appreciate how the Wond’ry brings together students and faculty from all areas of the university for a truly comprehensive approach to innovation. I am excited to support others in achieving their dreams and hope to make a meaningful impact in addressing key issues in the world today.
Q. What do you feel are the most important skills you have to offer in your role as a mentor?
A. I am a strong listener and strategic planner, which enables me to assess a current situation and help identify next steps to advance a business or concept. I am highly skilled at helping individuals articulate their ideas in their pitches, strategic plans and business plans, as well as in their sales, marketing and investor materials. Given my background as a venture capitalist, angel investor and entrepreneur, I also understand both the investor and CEO mindsets.
Q. What has been your proudest moment in your career?
A. Being the first female venture capitalist at Nashville’s first institutional venture capital firm, Massey Burch, was definitely a high point. Entrepreneurism was contagious working alongside Mr. Jack Massey, the first person to found and list three companies on the NYSE: Kentucky Fried Chicken, Mrs. Winners and HCA. Another memorable moment was creating and launching the Nashville Health Care Council, an organization that has had such a positive impact within Nashville, across the country and internationally.
Q. What has surprised you most about your job?
A. Ideal textbook scenarios often do not work in the real business world. Things tend to go haywire, especially in early stage businesses. This volatility and lack of structure creates stress and loss of focus for many individuals. It is key for innovators to set clear goals, maintain balance and protect against riding an emotional, adrenaline-fueled rollercoaster. There is also continual push and pull between a desire for innovation and a resistance to change, which often causes frustrating inertia.
Q. If you could do everything over again, would you make the same career choices?
A. One thing I would do differently is to surround myself with more mentors—especially early in my career. Knowledgeable mentors help individuals accelerate their careers and avoid pitfalls. This is a key reason I volunteer as a mentor at the Wond’ry.
Q. In your opinion, what is the most important quality for success?
A. Perseverance is critical to success given the countless obstacles individuals encounter in business and in life. Empathy is another incredibly important quality. Being able to truly understand the views of others helps propel businesses and innovations forward.
Q. When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A. A veterinarian
Office Hours: By appointment only
Areas of Expertise:Fundraising, Healthcare, Marketing