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Meet Gladi Colon and Laura Hartmann

Today we’d like to introduce you to Gladi Colon and Laura Hartmann.

Hi Gladi and Laura, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
We’ve been friends for nearly two decades and have followed each other through life’s little moments. Last year we were both furloughed from our jobs as Assistant Directors of Events in Orlando at two different big-box Hilton properties. We’ve both been working for Hilton hotels for over ten years and loved every moment of being career/family women. It wasn’t always easy, but doing what you love at such a young age has more rewarding moments than not.

After being furloughed/laid off from our careers, we decided to take control of our futures and REDEFINE our second act. We started an online publication called H&F Redefined, where we publish articles of fellow colleagues and friends who are also trying to redefine themselves. We find people who started a new business, career, brand, or product as a direct result of the pandemic. It is our mission to share their “Tales of Renewal” in a way that offers inspiration to those that need the extra nudge to take a risk on going after their dream. We hope to create a community for all professionals who are turning over a new leaf and wish to showcase their talents.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
We’ve had our fair share of challenges, but that is what makes entrepreneurship so amazing. In the beginning, we had to teach ourselves how to build a website, learn about SEO, and how to maximize our social media presence. Technology is changing so quickly that by the time you learn a new skill, there is always a better way of doing things available. The good news is we had so much free time on our hands in 2020 from our furlough that we learned a lot! We’ve also learned to be a bit more vulnerable than we probably allowed ourselves to be, knowing that we are in this together.

One of the most exciting developments of our brand was when we were approached to have our own talk show on Be Well TV called Brand New Day. We eagerly said YES, despite our natural fears of public speaking and being on camera. However, we knew it was the right decision for the brand as it would allow our Innovators that we feature the opportunity for more exposure. It also allows us a platform where we can nerd out about hospitality/event industry scoop. So we’ve embraced the challenge together and have found our groove with navigating the nerves that come with each episode. What a lesson in personal growth! Interestingly enough, we absolutely love doing the show.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
Gladi – I’ve built my career around hospitality and live events. I always thought I would be a journalist but something about hotels, meetings, and events kept drawing me in. After grinding through college, I landed (what I considered back then) my dream job as an event manager at 24 years old. Over time I learned a lot about food and wine, menu development, large-scale productions, people moving, people managing, and, quite frankly, a lot about managing organized chaos! I was recognized two times in my career as a top-five performer out of all of the Hilton Americas for Hilton Hotels. I took all of my life’s experiences with me to launch H&F Redefined while I was furloughed. For me, it was important to highlight all the professionals who found a way to redefine their skill-set during a difficult year of loss. Along with being one of the Publishers at H&F, I am now the Director of Events at the Caribe Royale Orlando, where I can put my years of project management skills to the test.

Laura – Growing up, I always thought I was going to be a relationship therapist, however, I discovered the world of weddings and event management while in college. Initially, I was more focused on weddings, as I could cross utilize my creative skills with nurturing and caring for a bride or couple that wanted their special day to be perfect. Soon though, I really found my professional niche working on large-scale convention resorts and managing programs with a significant food and beverage focus. I love being able to create experiences out of food and beverage and find so much joy working alongside banquet and culinary team partners. After being laid-off, H&F Redefined became such a saving grace to me personally during a low point, as I was able to use it as an outlet to write anything on my mind and find myself again while connecting with others that were doing the exact same thing. In addition to being a Publisher at H&F, I’m now also the Director of Events at the DoubleTree SeaWorld Orlando Resort, working to redefine our industry and our approach to live events.

What matters most to you? Why?
Our faith and sticking together. Our faith in God got us through what otherwise would have been a very difficult year and is arming us for the future. Everything we do for our business is with love and kindness and for His glory. Finally, having one another to enjoy this journey with has been one of the most beautiful silver linings from the pandemic, as our friendship has never been stronger. We have fun every day working on H&F, and there is something empowering about knowing this is ours, and we can make it whatever want.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Amalie Orrange Photography

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