Alumni Spotlight - Laura Huth '92
Laura Huth came to the hilltop in 1988 from LaGrange Park, Illinois as a political science major, intent on entering the field of law. But a winter day in 1991 changed that.
An epiphany during Huth’s junior year at Bradley University altered her post-graduation course forever, changing her career trajectory from attorney to social change agent. It was an off-chance viewing of “The Wrath of Grapes” one snowy January evening that inspired her to seek a career in social change instead of law. Early in her Bradley career, Huth decided to immerse herself in volunteer work – both on and off campus – and acquire as much experience as she could. Through service, her eyes were opened to a new world around her. The documentary about Cesar Chavez’s work to protect the environment and immigrant workers not only guided her post-college course, it continues to inspire the many facets of her successful career today.
As a Bradley undergraduate, Huth had experiences that solidified her desire to “do good.” As part of a course requirement, she was assigned an off-campus internship with the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). This experience of working with a group of at risk youth made an impact on Huth. She had the opportunity to visit with children, listen to their conversations, and become acquainted with their struggles, and this opened her eyes to experiences that were different than her life growing up in “suburbia.”
Bradley sociology professor, Dr. Bernard Zant, was another influence who challenged her to think about the world in a different way – opening her eyes to the structure of society and the world around her. “Dr. Zant challenged us to consider things from perspectives we had not yet considered or been aware of,” recalls Huth. Over 20 years later, Huth still recalls how important Dr. Zant’s class discussions were in challenging her to truly think about an issue from all perspectives, form an opinion, and then act. “Of all my classes at Bradley, this is the one whose lessons I carry with me still every day.”
After graduating from Bradley, Huth’s earliest positions revolved around environmental protection. She recounts that in 1992, environmental work was “not very well recognized as a profession.” Early in her career, Huth founded the Illinois Student Environment Network (ISEN), an organization that trained students across Illinois’ college campuses on how to increase their ability to do good on their campuses. “My goal has always been to teach others – to give them skills to make the world a better place,” said Huth. “With ISEN, the goal was to move students away from re-active measures to pro-active, long-term relationship building and change for their campuses.”
And it worked. With training and new skills, students in the network worked on their campuses and within their communities to support efforts related to energy efficiency, recycling, and sustainable development. In her 10-year tenure with ISEN, the group grew from a nascent 60 students to over 4,000 advocating for positive change.
Huth’s desire to create positive change also lead her to a two-term elected position on the Urbana City Council. “This was one of the most illuminating experiences in my life,” she recalls. “It was both challenging and gratifying, and in my eight years, I learned skills that I could never learn in any other position.”
After ISEN, Huth served as executive director for the local Habitat for Humanity affiliate, where she brought the financially distressed organization back from the brink of bankruptcy and turned it into an award winning powerhouse.
Today, Huth is President/CEO of do good Consulting, an award-winning Urbana, Illinois-based consulting firm specializing in strengthening non-profit organizations and advising them on fundraising, communications and marketing, strategic planning, program development, and growth strategies. “Every day I get to work with organizations across the region making a difference in the world. Helping them raise more money to help more people, to create plans to do even more great work, and reach out to new audiences to further create positive change is such a wonderful blessing.”
In her spare time, Huth also runs a side business called reCREATE, which helps people re-envision and recreate their home and gardens spaces. She also loves to cook. “These two passions help me stay grounded,” she says. “But my non-profit work is what keeps me going every day – it’s what fuels me.”
When asked what word might best describe her, Huth replied, “I am a ‘do-er’ – when I set out to do something, I do it.” To find more about Huth’s current work, you can click here.