Laura Black: A Journey to
a Different Kind of Happy

Laura Black with her husband

As the author of the acclaimed book Climbing Down the Ladder, Laura Black delves into a specific stage of life that she finds particularly intriguing—the transition phase for women who are stepping away from their careers or navigating empty nests.

With a touch of humor and candid storytelling, Laura’s writing captures the truth of human experiences and connects with readers on a deeper level.

On July 18, Laura will be joining Associated Women, in partnership with the Federation of Jewish Women’s Organizations of Maryland and other like-minded women from our community, to explore how we can add meaning to our lives at times of transition within our careers, our families and our volunteer roles.

We recently caught up with Laura to learn more about her journey, personal growth and deep commitment to giving back. Oh, and we laughed a lot too – she’s funny!

Growing Up

Born in New York and raised in Miami, Laura says she grew up as a pudgy, overweight, frizzy- haired girl in a place where beauty standards reigned. Everyone was beautiful.

“Exercise and outdoor activities were really part of the culture, and I liked to sit home and read.”

As a young girl, Laura’s parents signed her up for baton lessons.

“They so wanted me to be graceful and be active. There were the little skinny girls in their tutus and me with an oversized shirt and shorts. I knew I was never going to be in the parade. So, I gathered the kids in the neighborhood and told them for 25 cents each, I’d teach them what my instructor taught me each week.”

Laura Black with her grandkids

An Entrepreneur Was Born

This love of business stemmed from an early age – in addition to turning a profit from her own baton lessons, Laura was the top girl scout cookie seller (although she admits to eating half) and door-to-door Christmas cards salesperson (even though she was Jewish).

“It gave me a sense of control and achievement even from an early age.”

Laura enrolled in law school in Maryland when her boys were four and seven. She was pregnant with her daughter during her last year of law school.

“I delivered my daughter by caesarian section in June and took the bar exam in July and then went to work for a large law firm.”

After two years with the firm, Laura, together with her partner, Mark Neumann, started Attorneys Per Diem, a legal temp business.

Laura Black speaking at a Lion of Judah event

Exiting the Workforce

After selling the business and exiting the workforce, Laura focused her priorities on writing, giving back and empowering countless women to embrace their full potential and find meaning in their own unique journeys.

She is an active communal volunteer and has served in leadership roles at The Associated such as chair, Women’s Campaign, and chair, Associated Women.

Her work with The Associated, coupled with her role as an author and speaker, has created a powerful synergy that propels positive change and lasting impact for women in the community.

“I’ve always believed that the Jewish people help everyone, but we’re the only ones who help ourselves. And we need to do that. It’s incumbent upon us in whatever way we can.”

“Sometimes for women it’s hard because we have this idea in our head that some women just glide through life and everything’s easy and perfect. So, I try to be a voice to say ‘No, it’s not like that.’ Life is wonderful and great and with gratitude, but we all have challenges. We all have fears, we have insecurities. You know we’re human.”

She passionately encourages women to recognize that every day is a gift, an opportunity to redefine success and embrace the sacred space that emerges as one chapter of life closes and another begins.

Best Advice

Laura encourages everyone to engage in daily writing as a means of self-expression and self-discovery. Her own sense of humor, cultivated by her father’s wit and her love for laughter, allows her to approach life’s challenges with resilience and authenticity.

“I think we get to a point where there’s nothing better than laughter – it helps almost any situation. My husband and I laugh a lot. We humans are funny.”

“And my best advice to women is we’re too hard on ourselves. Give yourself a break. Know that you are enough. Let’s be a little easier on ourselves. I find we always strive too much for perfection and it’s unrealistic. We need to prioritize and recognize that there is no such thing as perfect.”

As Laura prepares to share her inspiring story, she invites women to join her in embracing their true selves and finding joy in life’s transformations.

“I’m so excited about this event. Women are open and receptive and they ask questions and laugh and are often very willing to share. This will be a little different than any event I’ve done because it’s going to be very interactive. I hope they listen; they hear, they talk and they come away smiling a little bit broader and their hearts open a little bit more.”

Subscribe to our newsletter

The Associated is a home for everyone in the Baltimore Jewish community. We offer several email lists to help people find a community, engage with their peers and support Jewish journeys around the world.

Join Our Mailing List

Add Impact to Your Inbox

Sign up for our newsletter

Subscribe to our newsletter

The Associated is a home for everyone in the Baltimore Jewish community. We offer several email lists to help people find a community, engage with their peers and support Jewish journeys around the world.

Join Our Mailing List