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      Women in Power: Laura Oblinger

      "Sometimes it's more of an emotional view and an emotional feel that I can bring to the table," said Laura Oblinger, Chief Operating Officer of the Traverse City Chamber of Commerce.

      Oblinger's job is to lead strategic development for the Chamber's programs and services, membership strategies, and its branding and communications process.

      "I do have a job that requires, on average, more than 50 hours a week," Oblinger said.

      Though her career is very demanding, requiring a lot of her time and hard work, Oblinger says the real work is trying to juggle her career and her personal life.

      "I'm also pursuing my M.B.A. program, I have a 6 1/2-year-old daughter, I'm very involved in her life, and I have an amazing husband," Oblinger said. "The even more interesting part is although he works, it's just a minimal amount of time by choice. He primarily stays home and does the day-to-day grind around the house."

      Oblinger hopes she can show others that it is possible to juggle a career and family.

      "That's what I hope to inspire, that you can do lots of things, and you can balance it, but no one will protect it better than you," Oblinger said.

      Oblinger has been recognized in the Traverse City Business News as one of the top 40Under40 influential professionals in the area.

      In 2011 they also named her one of the area's top 20 most influential women.

      "I rarely look at my role through gender lens, I just do what I can do best," Oblinger said. "Go for your dream, don't let gender or anything get in your way. If you've got a quality, and you've got a drive, and you've got a passion and you can see yourself doing it, do it!"

      For Oblinger, Traverse City is far more than just a place where she lives and works.

      "You cannot pull me out of this community, and so the passion that I have for what makes this community is also something that is really important to me," Oblinger said.

      Contact Laura Oblinger by email or call 231-995-7103.