While you were laughing at the antics of Laurie Mrva’s Sister Leo in Attic’s production of Nunsense, you probably had no idea of the serious side of her life: she runs a local business that aims to help self-employed folks achieve success. Now, if you yourself have a business or are thinking of starting one, or you work as an outside salesperson whose income depends on acting like a business owner, that probably caught your attention.
Daleville’s Mrva hails from the town of Maine in New York state. Until she came to Daleville in 2005 to visit a friend, she never thought she’d live here. But “at the end of a week, I fell in love,” she said. “It felt like home.” This from a woman who had studied fashion merchandising. And had worked with the Footlocker company in New York City for 11 years, achieving executive level.
As part of her job she found “I have a talent and passion for helping my employees deal with obstacles to their careers. I got the ‘problem children’ who needed TLC. I worked with some who had been forgotten. One woman, I had to give her a 90-day notice, but told her if she [could learn to] come in with the correct attitude she’d keep her job. This was a cool thing to experience.
“A year after that, I worked with a man within the company. I gave him the opportunity to work at it and he became a totally different person. And got promoted to a position he had always wanted and had not been able to get in five or six years.”
So she learned how to develop what was inside people. And in running her business to do just that she has added assessment materials and coaching. No sooner had she started her business in 2008 than she signed up for Leadership Roanoke Valley. “My team’s environmental program, ‘Actions Change Tomorrow,’ was voted best program by our classmates.” This led to her joining the Cool Cities Coalition. She also volunteered at the Botetourt Environmental Expo last year.
Two of Mrva’s Botetourt clients spoke about her. Kim Mott, of Padgett Business Services, found Mrva’s coaching let her develop a business plan so that she can in turn help her own accounting clients reach their goals. Caleb Mann, of Mann’s Farmers Insurance Agency, has worked successfully with Mrva on various projects about his business.
As you might guess from her Nunsense role, Mrva, 36, has musical ability. She sings in her church’s choir and plays the cello. “Music has been a part of my life from a very early age: beginning dance at age three, performing in musicals from age six and playing the cello from age nine through college in orchestras. I now bring it out at holidays to accompany my church choir. Someday, I hope to become involved in an orchestra again.” Meantime, she’s involved with Attic, acting or doing sound or light work.
With all this talent and experience Mrva finds herself in demand by charities as well as clients. Now she’s working on the second Goodwill fashion show August 11 at the Jefferson Center. But she keeps her business goals always forward.
She loves working with people to help them overcome the frustrations holding them back so they can find greater success and fulfillment in their lives. How does she find clients? Through “a lot of networking.” The secret to her own success lies in believing in herself, persevering and figuring out how to overcome obstacles: not settling for status quo. Good secret for us all to know.
For more information, go to Mrva’s web site at www.achievesuccessllc.com