Women’s History Month: Trusting God’s timing

Associate professor Laureen Mgrdichian discusses running a business and being relentless in the workplace.

Natalie Willis, News Editor

Women in the workplace often face obstacles that their male colleagues will likely never encounter, according to associate professor of marketing Laureen Mgrdichian. Raising a family and maintaining a fulfilling career has been challenging for Mgrdichian, but trusting God’s timing has enabled her to pursue her aspirations without giving up time with her family. 

AN ENTREPRENEURIAL SPIRIT 

Mgrdichian was born in Downey, California close to Biola’s campus where she graduated in 1980 with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications. She then received her Master of Business Administration in marketing and organizational development from the Anderson Graduate School of Management at the University of California, Los Angeles

Growing up, Mgrdichian’s father had a few of his own businesses which instilled a desire within her to start her own business. Former American cooking teacher and television personality Julia Child became one of Mgrdichian’s main sources of female inspiration due to Child’s relentlessness in pursuing what she loved even at a late age.

“We always want to be growing and learning and I think that never stops and there’s possibilities of what you can do no matter what age you are,” Mgrdichian said. 

 You know just kind of following the things you’re interested in and seeing where that leads I think is kind of fun.”

In graduate school, Mgrdichian recalled that her passion for baking inspired her to bring cookies to class to share with her peers. A friend encouraged Mgrdichian to pursue a baking business, eventually hiring her to bake cookies for an event. This opened the door for Mgrdichian in the industry. 

“I made some cookies and she paid me and I thought well that was really easy,” Mgrdichian said. “From there it just kind of grew and I started doing some different corporate events. I did a lot of corporate gift baskets for companies in the L.A. area and then I even supplied some restaurants and coffee houses.” 

As her baking business grew on the side, she was also working for a marketing firm and spent a majority of her time traveling to her clients in the Midwest and East Coast. 

THE BUSINESS OF RAISING TRIPLETS  

When Mgrdichian and her husband Tom had triplets, the corporate business world was placed on the back burner while she raised and cared for her three children. She explained that while she took a step back from her work at the marketing firm, she maintained her baking business, formerly known as Lucy’s Cookies, and now transitioning to Sugar Rush Studios. 

There are different seasons in a woman’s life, she explained, and her decision to step back from the corporate workplace was a necessary season that enabled her to enjoy her children’s growth. 

“It’s like juggling a bunch of balls and some are crystal, breakable balls and some are bouncy balls and [you have to] let the bouncy balls bounce so the crystal ones don’t drop,” Mgrdichian said. “I like that analogy because you’ve got things that you’re taking care of and it’s kind of like the tyranny of the urgent, you know, let the bouncy balls go that aren’t that important but take care of the important stuff.” 

Soon after her children entered fourth grade, Mgrdichian took a role as an adjunct professor at Biola which gave her the flexibility to take care of her kids, run her business and explore her calling to teach. 

WOMEN IN LEADERSHIP  

For women in the workplace, especially those involved in male-dominated industries, Mgrdichian advises performing the tasks of the job to the fullest extent and learning how to communicate effectively with the main audience. 

One of the courses she instructs is centered on providing women in leadership with the verbal communication skills they will need to assert themselves in a workplace environment. 

“There’s not just one prescribed path for a Christian woman in her career,” Mgrdichian said. “It can look very different across the board. It’s fun to bring in different women who have all made different choices and are at different places in their careers to see how the Lord worked in that and the things that they’ve learned along the way. Then we do a lot of reading on the communication styles and differences between men and women.” 

Along with learning how to successfully communicate in a room of male colleagues, consistently growing and moving forward at work is essential. Opportunities expand with the amount of work and dedication given, she explained. 

“Don’t take your foot off the gas pedal,” Mgrdichian said. “Lean in, keep your foot on the gas pedal until you have to take it off. Yes, you may get married down the line. Yes, you may have kids but until you have to pull out for whatever reason, get as far as you can before you have to step out so that way if you step back in, you can come in at a higher place.”

GOD IS FAITHFUL 

Mgrdichian recalled feeling lost prior to graduating college because she was not sure what her purpose was. Trusting in God’s faithfulness has kept her optimistic through times of uncertainty and emboldened her in times of triumph. 

“God is faithful and he’s never not right. He’s always faithful and he’s pretty capable, so if you wanted to make something really clear, he could make it crystal clear,” Mgrdichian said. “He’s working in our hearts and transforming us to direct us.” 

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