Laura McQuade Builds a Consultancy Focused Around Strategic Visions
Steering an organization to the next level rarely involves an ordered, linear path. Company leaders often get bogged down in day-to-day operations details, and they lose sight of the steps necessary to get the business to the next level. Clearly, the organization would benefit from assistance from a visionary who remains focused on the big picture and will help the company make that transition.
Enter Laura McQuade, a dynamic leader with demonstrated success in helping organizations develop and realize their strategic visions. As a key component of that process, she helps the company’s staff (and often volunteers) to embrace those ideals and take actions toward achieving them.
Like many other successful leaders, McQuade’s personal passions have informed her career progression. In fact, she has seamlessly blended the two elements, providing her with a clear mission that she pursues in varied arenas.
Airmedh Consulting Takes Shape
In July 2020, Laura McQuade launched Airmedh Advisory, a growing strategic consulting firm. The company provides interim leadership and ongoing advisory services in the for-profit and non-profit sectors.
Starting a business during the COVID-19 pandemic may have raised some eyebrows. However, McQuade felt that many non-profit and community-based healthcare organizations could benefit from her services during that time.
Specifically, she noted that these companies, especially those in historically underserved areas, had been negatively impacted by funding problems. As a result, a typical organization’s staff and resources were overstressed, and the company could do little more than keep treading water. McQuade felt that a highly skilled consultant could best work with the company’s management, Board, and staff to move the organization forward.
Since then, Laura McQuade has focused on identifying potential clients’ needs and discussing how her services can provide solutions. She emphasizes that a company’s transformation must take place at all organizational levels rather than using a top-down approach.
At the same time, McQuade understands that companies are often impatient and want immediate change. She is currently structuring a process that balances the need for new approaches with the realization that employees at all levels will not support organizational change that occurs without their contribution to the process.
McQuade’s Personal Passions Inform Her Work
Laura McQuade’s career choice reflects her longtime desire to empower women everywhere to choose their own futures. She extends that commitment to all underserved communities, using her overseas travels to promote citizen participation and government transparency.
Sexual and Reproductive Health
Laura McQuade has a longtime commitment to women’s sexual and reproductive health and associated rights. To that end, she has played key roles in two Planned Parenthood organizations and the Center for Reproductive Rights.
McQuade previously served as the President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Greater New York. This merged Planned Parenthood affiliate, formed in January 2020, is composed of five legacy New York State affiliates. These affiliates include Planned Parenthood of New York City, for which Laura was President and Chief Executive Officer.
In 2014, McQuade was appointed as the CEO of Planned Parenthood Great Plains (formerly Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri). The organization provides healthcare, education, and advocacy services in Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, and Oklahoma.
Prior to that, she served as Executive Vice President and CEO for the Center for Reproductive Rights. This New York-based global human rights organization uses law to advance worldwide reproductive freedom.
Banking and Financial Systems
Laura McQuade previously took an executive role with the Financial Services Volunteer Corps. This public-private partnership helps to develop sound banking and financial systems in developing and transition countries.
Serving as the organization’s first Chief Financial Officer, she was instrumental in opening its first Asian office. She also helped to lay the groundwork for programs in Indonesia, Thailand, India, and the Philippines.
Other Organizational Partners
In addition, Laura McQuade previously served as the Foundation for a Civil Society’s Chief Financial Officer. She has also held leadership positions at the United Nations Development Programme, Bank of America Global Corporate and Investment Bank, the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, and the National Democratic Institute of International Affairs.
In a testament to her hard work and dedication, Laura McQuade has received numerous professional honors. In 2019, she was named one of Crain’s 50 Most Powerful Women in New York. Also in 2019, she received the New York City and State Above and Beyond, Non-Profit Power 100, Women Power 100, and the Healthcare Power 50 Honors.
Two Recommendations for Entrepreneurs
Reflecting on her entrepreneurial journey, Laura McQuade emphasizes that she is strongly focused on innovation and finding ways to do something better. She also mentions her well-known tenacity as a positive factor in her success.
Taken together, these attributes enable her to embrace challenges and overcome roadblocks. Finally, McQuade is willing to hear solutions from all parties to a discussion, regardless of their position on the subject.
She also understands that entrepreneurs will repeatedly hear the word “no” when building or expanding their companies. Whether it applies to signing new clients, applying for financing, or some other aspect of their business, it’s useful to realize that this is simply part of the growth process. Finally, it’s also important to leave that issue behind, shake off the dust, and keep going.
On the Personal Side
As a self-described “lifelong consumer of fashion,” Laura McQuade finds the global rise of “disposable” fashion to be rather unsettling. She specifically mentions the practice’s negative impact on the environment.
From that perspective, Laura McQuade is excited by current consumer upcycling and repurposing trends. She estimates that buying (and selling) at consignment shops and online consignment sites now makes up about 40 percent of her shopping behavior. In fact, she’s equally likely to embark on a thrift store shopping trip vs visiting a boutique or department store.
Adopting more sustainable, environmentally friendly shopping habits may seem somewhat inconsequential in the grand scheme of things. However, this practice reflects Laura McQuade’s ongoing commitment to identify problems and develop workable solutions. This constructive approach informed the Airmedh Advisory launch, and it clearly influences decisions throughout her entire life.