Lauree Ostrofsky

Founder, Simply Leap and Hudson Valley Women in Business

Lauree Ostrofsky’s boundless enthusiasm for helping others achieve their dreams has resulted in many creations: the business-coaching enterprise Simply Leap, which focuses on guiding women business owners to take the leap into more meaningful careers and lives; two books, including Simply Leap, a happy how-to that provides instructions on living your best life despite doubts and fears; and the online group Hudson Valley Women in Business, which assists women beyond the services Simply Leap can provide.

The group currently consists of nearly 3,000 entrepreneurial women, ranging from writers to lawyers to bakers and others, who exchange advice, inspiration, and success tips online and during in-person events. Women gather for business development and personal growth at coffee shop meet-ups in different locations around the region, weekday retreats, and monthly meetings focused on solutions to common challenges female entrepreneurs face.

“There is something special when only women are in the room together, a level of honesty and relief happens, and we all leave more empowered, more seen and heard. Imagine what’s possible then!”

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What motivated you to start Hudson Valley Women in Business?

My own desire for community. First, as a transplant to the area, having moved back to the Hudson Valley after 15 years in New York and Washington, D.C. Second, as a business owner working from a home office, I wanted colleagues I could lean on and learn from. It can feel lonely figuring things out in your own head!

You describe yourself as an “author, speaker, hugger.” Tell us more about the hugging part.

My #hugtour movement began while I was living in Washington, D.C. Watching an interview with Dr. Maya Angelou one night, I was inspired to show people I know how much I care about them. A hug felt like the easiest way to do that. My first hug tour was walking around D.C., stopping at coffee shops and friends’ offices to hug them in the middle of an otherwise ordinary Tuesday.

Since then I’ve hugged hundreds of people plus a mayor and a TV weatherman. Their photos are on my website’s Hug Wall.

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