Letter to My Younger Self: Laura Young, Human Capital Management, Jersey City

24 AUG 2022

Laura Young, head of Benefits and Wellness in Human Capital Management (HCM), shares advice she would give her younger self. 

Dear Laura,

Spoiler alert, you live in New Jersey. You’ve been there for 25 years and you love it. This is one of many wonderful things you could have never predicted in your young New Yorker life.

I know you like to carefully plan out the details of your future to reduce uncertainty, but I encourage you to always stay present and welcome new opportunities and experiences.  Someday you will have the privilege of leading Goldman Sachs’ efforts to provide competitive benefits and wellness offerings that meet the diverse needs of its people.  Would you believe that your degree in athletic training would be the foundation that landed you here?

Your career path will be anything but linear, and that is a great thing. Your wealth of experience and passion for health will position you to advocate globally for the resilience, mental health and overall wellbeing of employees and working parents and also develop the expertise to adapt concepts of wellness for the professional environment on a global scale.

Before you decide to open your dream wellness hotel on a remote island, I want to share a few more words of wisdom that will help you along your path:

Build a supportive community. Surround yourself with people who are invested in your success. Don’t be afraid to ask for support and guidance. Mentors, family, friends and colleagues will become trusted advisors.

Stay true to yourself. Identify your values and allocate your time to support them. This will not only keep you anchored to your purpose, but also will bring joy and meaning to your life.

Be your own best critic. Focus on both your strengths and areas of development to continue evolving. It can be easy to get hung up on criticism and let the fear of failure prevent you from challenging yourself. Take a non-judgmental stance on feedback and view it as an opportunity to grow.

Leadership is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Especially as you become the head of a global team, recognize the different experiences, cultures and values of those that you manage. Leveraging the collective breadth of skillsets and perspectives on your team can also help you deliver better solutions as a team. For example, prioritizing and tailoring employee benefits, wellness and resilience services to ensure employees feel supported requires applying both a global and local lens.

Celebrate the small things. Take time to acknowledge the small wins and enjoy the moment – whether it’s how you’ve moved forward, overcome a challenge, or met a milestone. Pausing to enjoy the ride will help to keep you motivated which will ultimately enable you to reach your goals while building up your sense of pride and achievement along the way.