Kolbeco RAPIDFIRE: Lauren Kolbe

If you’re reading this blog, chances are you know Lauren Kolbe, but do you really KNOW her? Sure, we all know her favorite color is green (the lime family of green is preferred), she’s a yoga master and of course, Kolbeco’s founding partner. But now’s the time to dig deeper and really get to Lauren: what makes her tick, and who is she really beneath all of that creative marketing genius?

Here she is, the one, the only, Lauren Michelle Foley Kolbe! (Look, you’re already learning so much about her! Now you can call her by her full name when you lose her at the grocery store.)

Q:Firstly, we want to know more about Kolbeco. How was Kolbeco conceived, when was the conception and why did you make this your baby?

A: In 2000 the company I was working for closed suddenly, and one of our competitors reached out to me to freelance. Before long, more people started asking me to work for them. At that point I realized that we actually have a business here. I could help a larger group of growing companies and provide the community a service that was in demand. By 2002 we were incorporated, Scott joined us in 2003 and in 2004 we hired our first employee.

Q: In the beginning days of Kolbeco, where did you work?

A: Like so many entrepreneurs, we started the business out of our house. Our first employee, Pat, had a key to our house, and would arrive for work in the morning, come and go to meetings, and we’d all eat lunch in our kitchen. Pat and our first dog, a big black Chow Chow named Sushi, had a sort of… “agreement”, so Sushi allowed him to enter the house, but would keep a very watchful eye on him. By 2005 we moved the business out of the house, for our own sanity and because we had outgrown the space!

Q: What makes Kolbeco different?

A: Scott and I both come from the corporate side, so we see that as a blessing to clients. We look at the client’s problem, situation or goals from their perspective because we were once in their shoes and could understand what they may be facing.

Q: Do you have a favorite moment over your years at Kolbeco?

A: That’s hard to pinpoint as there are so many wonderful moments we’ve experienced…I would say my first moment of EXCITEMENT was the day we discovered we had made the St. Louis Business Journal’s list of the area’s largest PR Firms for the first time. That was a feeling I’ll never forget, thinking wow, we made it. We’re legit, people know us. We’re ranked in our industry with people we’ve looked up to for years. Our team did some celebrating that day!

Q: What inspires you to work with clients?

A: When they have enthusiasm and excitement for their business, and know what they want to achieve. That’s contagious. You can’t help but want to be involved and do everything possible to help them succeed.

Q: Alright, enough with the Kolbeco questions. Let’s get to know the REAL Lauren Kolbe. Do you have any secret skills or talents?

A: I don’t know how secret it is, but I like to cook and would have to say that I’m pretty good! I have very specific dietary restrictions, so it’s been fun learning to navigate new ingredients, foods and spices to make delicious food that I can enjoy.

Q: Do you have a special recipe?

A: My vegan, gluten free “meat” loaf. It might not sound appealing, but when a meat-loving friend took a bite and said “hey, that’s pretty tasty” and then went back for more, I knew I won him over.

Q: What’s the secret to your happiness?

A: The ability to have time in my own head to recharge and refresh. It’s important for me to take time and space to stay grounded. For me, that’s yoga. If I skip yoga, it has an effect on my world. Just taking an hour of my day to get out my head is what I need to feel fresh and grounded.

Q: What did you want to be growing up?

A: A politician. I grew up in a very politically active family, so I was around politics my whole life. I got involved for a little bit after college, but quickly saw that it wasn’t for me. I’m glad I learned this early in life!

Q: What song is in repeat in your car, head, Spotify?

A: Tom Petty: American Girl. It’s typically the first tune I flip to when I get in the car. I‘ve always loved it, but for some reason I got really hooked on it after his Super Bowl halftime performance in 2008.

Q: What do you need for survival?

A: Dogs

Q: Last binged show?

A: Ozark

Q: Dream vacation?

A: I’m a water girl, so it would involve water – a lot of it. We would charter a boat in the Virgin Islands and go island hopping. We would need at least 2 weeks and you certainly will not hear from us.

Q: What gets you pumped up?

A: Being around groups of people who are mutually excited and have a passion for something. I feed off of other’s energy, so feeling and seeing that passion gets me excited.

Q: This question is solely for my benefit. Is your dad real?

A: YES! I swear that he’s quite real, and quite loud.
(Side note, Erica has worked at Kolbeco for almost 4 years and has never met Lauren’s dad. She is convinced he is actually a cardboard cutout.)

Q: Celebrity crush?

A: Don Henley. If you ask Scott who I would leave him for (my hall pass), he would definitely answer correctly.

Q: Follow up, who was your FIRST celebrity crush?

A: John Taylor from Duran Duran

Q: First cassette you remember purchasing?

A: Oh man, the first ones I remember I believe were my mom’s that I would just listen to in the car, like Meatloaf, Carole King, Billy Joel, and REO Speedwagon. I think the first one I purchased with my own money was Bon Jovi – Slippery When Wet.

Q: Favorite quote?

A: Not only is this my favorite quote, but it was also my senior quote in the yearbook. To me, it’s a constant reminder to slow the hell down.
“Half our life is spent trying to find something to do with the time we have rushed through life trying to save.”
-Will Rogers

Q: It’s a Saturday. Where can we find you?

A: Oh DEFINITELY on the water. I am happiest when I’m on the water, in the water, around the water …

Q: Favorite drink?

A: That fluctuates depending on the day, between a martini and wine.

Q: Proudest moment OUTSIDE of Kolbeco?

A: When I officially made the Martini Top Shelf Wall of Fame at Blue Sky Martini Bar in Winghaven. I’m sort of joking about that, but it was pretty darned exciting and it took almost two years to achieve!

So there you have it! Now you know Lauren on a deeper level. If you see her on the street or at an event, you can sing her a little Bon Jovi or offer her a martini. Stay tuned for our next RAPIDFIRE (or not so rapidfire, we like to talk) to get to know Scott Kolbe, the second half of the Kolbeco partnership.