by: BARB RANDALL - Laura Schlafly, founder of Career Choices with Laura, specializes in helping baby boomers make career changes.Laura Schlafly, founder of Lake Oswego-based Career Choices with Laura, has a service business with a unique niche. She is an 'encore career specialist,' a career counselor specializing in inspiring and guiding baby boomers to investigate and then launch what she calls a 'second act career.'

'What makes this career coaching business unique is that I specialize in working with the baby boomer generation, mid-life professionals who have typically experienced a ‘career detour,' as I call it. They are starting over, largely due to a business merger, layoff, downsizing - a health or family issue - or simply want work or a career that is more meaningful. That's my market niche,' Schlafly said.

Schlafly's education and experience give her ample resources from which to pull when coaching others. She has a bachelor's degree in Japanese studies from Ohio State University and a master's in business administration from the University of Michigan. She has worked in a stock brokerage firm and supported a small business with marketing and strategic planning. She spent years focusing on product marketing management at a Miami-based, British-owned data communications company and has learned plenty about developing business plans and working with engineering, advertising and manufacturing to get products designed, produced and marketed.

'My career journey has been different,' she said.

And, Schlafly used many different tools to map her career path.

'Remember ‘What Color is Your Parachute?'' she said. 'I sat at the kitchen table and did all the exercises. Career coaching was popular in mid-90s. I was working with a career coach and she said, ‘I think you'd be good in this field.''

So Schlafly began her work as a career coach. She saw an opportunity to combine her skills and interests - plus the wealth of knowledge gleaned from her own five careers - into a tailored strategy that helps her clients uncover their core passions and apply them to a motivating career with purpose and a paycheck attached.

'I help people make career changes,' Schlafly said. 'I help them with more than just a job search and coaching help. I can assist them in learning about social media, how to do a resume and a really good job search.'

In the midst of the turmoil of 9/11, Schlafly felt the strong desire to move across the country and came to Portland without having a job, knowing virtually no one. She began volunteering by coaching job seekers at Lake Grove Presbyterian Church and now extends her services throughout the community.

All clients receive a free consultation so they can sample Schlafly's coaching style. They also get some homework: Identify what it is that you have always wanted to do.

'I divide their homework into four parts,' she said. 'Do you want to make a career change? Where are you now? Where do you want to go? And what's blocking you? What are the challenges to keeping you from doing what you want? We'll figure it out. We sit down together and create a custom game plan. I want to know what success would look like to you and we go forward from there.

'I hold your feet to the fire and give out the homework. I hold you accountable and encourage you on the way.'

In addition to personalized coaching, Schlafly offers small-group sessions. She recently conducted a group session on pre-retirement planning titled, 'Don't Let Your Nest Egg Become a Goose Egg.' She is working on a program with the New Thought Center that will include spirituality into the coaching process.

For more information about Schlafly and her services, visit or call 971-208-5852.

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