Lauren Baugh believes deeply in the power of leaving a great impression on people, in work or social settings. It’s inherent in her extroverted personality. “It’s about being a good person,” she says. “If you are a good person and honest and believe in what you are doing, people will believe in you.”
Fort Myers attorney Tiffany Pereira is one of many who believed in Baugh. Pereira met Baugh, then working in property management, in 2017 when the lawyer sought an office in downtown Fort Myers for her practice. Pereira recalls telling Baugh that when she has enough business, she would love to hire her for the law firm. “She left a lasting impression on me,” Pereira wrote in her 40 under 40 nomination of Baugh.
In 2019, Pereira reached out to Baugh about a different job opening: executive director of the Lee County Bar Association. The nonprofit attorney support group, says Pereira, was looking for someone passionate, charismatic, professional, community oriented and hardworking. That defined Baugh.
Baugh, too, thought the position sounded great. She had worked in mortgage banking, property management and bookkeeping at that point, and was on the lookout for a bigger and better opportunity. She just wasn’t sure what this potential opportunity was about, exactly. She recalls asking Pereira “the job sounds great. But what does an executive director do?”
Baugh has found out that, in addition to what she calls “herding cattle,” the job of LCBA executive director is a variety of raising money, advocating for attorneys in the community and recruiting and retaining members. The LCBA has about 700 members, and membership in county bar associations is voluntary, not a requirement to maintain a law license or standing in the Florida bar.
At 700 members, that puts the LCBA in the top five statewide for county bar associations. One of Baugh’s big goals for 2023 and beyond? Move into the top three largest county bar associations in Florida. That’s part of Baugh’s personal mission, to always aim bigger, she says, and be better. “Always be better,” Baugh says. “That’s my hashtag.”
That hashtag carries through to outside the LCBA, especially with a nonprofit she founded called Shoes, Socks, Shirts and Smiles. The Fort Myers organization collects and donates those items to people who she says suffer from “houselessness.” She created the term to recognize that home is where the heart is and people living outside a conventional “home” setting aren’t without hearts. So they are houseless — not homeless.
Baugh credits much of her success, drive and personality to her mom and mentor, Vicki Baugh Brown. Her mom, says Baugh, “taught me from a very early age to make sure your professional reputation was on the forefront of your mind with each professional decision you make.”
— Mark Gordon
• City of Residence: Fort Myers
• Birthplace: Iowa City, Iowa
• Years in the area: 36
• Marital Status/Children: single/one child (11 year old girl, Eden)
• Alma Mater/Degree: Edison Community College/AA
• What community group or organization are you most involved with? Fort Myers YMCA
• Are you working from the company office, home office or hybrid? company office
• What's the weirdest job you've ever had? Or the weirdest task you've ever been assigned? Each job I have had has had its weirdness, but managing a commercial/residential building in downtown was the weirdest!
• What's your top tip for being productive? Be goal oriented, think outside of the box, be creative and open to others ideas and criticism!
• If you could have a side hustle, what would it be? Raising money for bereaved parents for their lost children's funeral expenses.
• What's your favorite off-hours activity? Going to the beach, Boca Grande specifically, something so relaxing and grounding about laying in the sand while listening to the water.
• What's the most significant item on your life bucket list — and what's keeping you from completing it? I actually do not have a bucket list, I have a goal list! Right now (and this changes) my goal that I want to accomplish is making sure that I am always doing my best at each thing I am doing, whether that is work or personal related.
• What's your favorite podcast? I do not listen to many, but I enjoy anything relating to music and crime.
• At what percentage on your phone do you start to get Low Battery Anxiety? 40% LOL
• What are the top three apps used on your smartphone? Facebook, Messages, Zoom
• What books are you reading now? The 5 Day Real Food Detox by Nikki Sharp
• What's your go-to music genre, band or act to be inspired? 90's Alternative/Grunge, Incubus
• Who would play you in the movie of your life? Kristen Wiig
• Where is your happy place? Boca Grande with my daughter, Eden
• Describe yourself in three words: Driven, Compassionate, Loyal
• Who is your mentor for your career and why? My mother, Vicki Baugh Brown, she taught me from a very early age that making sure your professional reputation was on the forefront of your mind with each professional decision you make, as well as get involved in your community in any way you can.
• What are the biggest lessons you have learned from your mentor? This is a great question, I have learned that each move you make sets the foundation for not only your next move, but your life, each move sets in motion something, and thus make sure each move is thought of and is best for you and those you love. Growing up my Mother sat on boards of many community non profit organizations to help improve our community and that is something I have carried with me, repeated and continue to teach my daughter. Non profits all maintain the goal of improving the community at large, or specific groups, and I aim to help them with those missions, whether that is raising money for them, volunteering with them, or sitting on their board. Bettering our community cannot hurt anyone! While I am a single mother, raising a young lady, I want to ensure that the community I raise her in, is at its best as my mother did, so I will teach her to do the same for her children and generation.