Every Friday evening, Laura Richard and her husband Bill take care of his elderly parents, one of whom struggles with the early stages of dementia. Recently, they moved the 80-somethings into a new apartment and routinely bring them meals, clean their apartment and hang out.
This responsibility in her personal life mirrors her professional ideologies as well. Two years ago, the 33-year-old started her own business, Laura Richard Consulting, with the vision to market and plan events that fall into the categories of social justice and environmental protection. Also, she is committed to keeping her services affordable so they're attainable to a range of Milwaukeeans.
"My strongest driving force is passion," says Richard. "I have a lot of passion to be of service to my community and the world at large."
Since starting the business, Richard managed and promoted multiple events, including the East Side Open Market, Friends of Hank Aaron State Trail and the Milwaukee Mass Portrait. She also organized a fundraiser for the Hunger Task Force last December called the East Side Artists' Boutique that raised more than $4,000 for the organization.
Richard says she enjoys playing a small role in fulfilling the needs and dreams of others, like maintaining and improving the East Side Open Market so the organic farmers have a bustling environment to sell their produce.
After graduating from UWM with a communications degree a decade ago, Richard took a job working for a large corporation doing health enhancement and diversity training, and she quickly realized it wasn't really scratching the proverbial itch, so she moved to Philadelphia, finished a Master's program in education at Temple University and went into teaching.
"It just wasn't my avenue," she says. "I went into education very idealistically, and although my ideals were good, they just weren't realistic."
Richard never set out to start her own business, but her volunteer work led her to the path.
"It all happened very organically," she says. "I was involved in a lot of volunteer work, and my name started circling around the mid-size non-profit sector as a person who could creatively and enthusiastically get the job done."
Richard's volunteer work in Riverwest introduced her to Bill, whom she married in Mexico in March 2005, and again a few months later in the presence of friends and family in their backyard.
Richard grew up in Brookfield, but today owns a duplex in the Riverwest neighborhood. "I left Brookfield as soon as I could," she says. "Riverwest is a better fit for us."
A few years ago, racist literature was anonymously distributed to many Riverwest homes, and Richard -- along with a few others -- was instrumental in creating the "Strength Is Our Diversity" signs that hundreds of Riverwesterners staked in their yards as a peaceful but firm message to the haters.
Richard admits that operating a business from home, like everything else, is peppered with a few cons, including the discipline it takes to stay on task and the instability of income. But, just when it starts to get a little scary, opportunity knocks.
"I learned early on that it was all going to work out. Once, I was lamenting to Bill that I didn't have a new project on the horizon, and within a week, I was offered two major events," says Richard. "The universe always provides."
Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.
Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.