03 Oct Gantt Stop Won’t Stop
Silicon Valley expert and global mobility veteran, Laura Gantt talks taking risks, logging off, and remembering where she came from.
In our latest profile of key team members at SuiteAmerica, we are shining a spotlight on Laura Gantt, a Silicon Valley expert and global mobility veteran. We talked with Laura about how she got her start in global mobility – a world away from where she grew up in a small farming town in California’s central valley.
“Everyone lands in the mobility industry by chance. No one goes to school with a goal to be in mobility”, says Laura. Her story is similar to many others who have found themselves in this industry: a chance meeting at a related industry event.
Taking a Risk
“It was 1999 and I was working at a golf tournament, and I left with a job offer from a start-up housing company. People thought I was crazy,” Laura says. “I had a stable job that I was good at, and here I was entertaining an offer from a 9-month old corporate housing company.”
Not only did she entertain the offer, she took it. “It was a gut feeling that it was the place I needed to land at the time. It was a huge risk primarily because I was a single mom and had two kids but also because I was leaving a job that I really liked.”
But as we know at SuiteAmerica, Laura doesn’t shy away from taking risks. Both Laura and that new corporate housing company took a chance on each other. And now she’s been in the mobility industry for over 20 years. She helped grow that corporate housing company for ten years. Not only was she was the sole sales representative for a majority of that time but when she left, the company had 25 stable clients.
Now, as Senior Director, National Sales at SuiteAmerica, Laura’s a Silicon Valley expert and global mobility veteran. Despite her tenure, Laura hasn’t slowed down. While Laura understands and even champions the use of technology to reach out to people and grow her network, she knows that logging off technology is just as important. And sometimes, it’s more impactful.
Kelly Cockrell, SuiteAmerica’s Vice President of Sales for the Western Region, believes that Laura’s focus on building relationships is a major strength. “There’s something to be said about simplicity and being really good at the basics. Laura helps her clients navigate complex program strategies. But she also values the simplicity of putting in a little extra effort to ensure that details are executed perfectly,” says Kelly.
“She builds a deeper level of trust with her clients because they see her in their offices or at industry events and they know she follows through on her commitments. And, she answers the phone when they call! It is one of the most basic habits you need to be successful, but not many people practice it on a regular basis.”
Laura believes that “as much as clients want more automation, they also want to immediately have a person to talk to if things go wrong. I know that technology and automation is the future of our industry, but that white-glove human touch is what SuiteAmerica is known for.I provide that for my clients and I’m proud that my company is leading the way in both technology and hospitality.”
Remembering Where She Came From
In addition to be in the corporate housing industry for two decades, Laura’s also been a member of the Bay Area Mobility Management (BAMM) for nearly as long, In fact, she was an original member from when the program was called BayPerm.
“We started out having coffee meetings every Friday in Silicon Valley,” Laura says. “Now, BAMM has become a powerhouse as far as educating the industry and bringing everyone together. It keeps us in touch on what our clients are focusing on and what they need from us as their partners. And, I’ve built friendships with my peers that will last beyond any of our careers in the industry.”
Laura’s learned a lot over the last 20 years, but “I will never forget where I came from,” she says. “My dad is my biggest fan and loves to tell people what I’ve done with my life.”
And he should. He should be proud that Laura’s built her reputation in the mobility industry starting with that very first leap of faith back in 1999, taking her from a farming town to managing a portfolio of global clients for SuiteAmerica.
You can follow Laura on LinkedIn here.