Professional Profile: Laura Hobgood

By JOSHUA CAMPBELL,

(This week The Columbian-Progress spotlights Laura Hobgood of Looks Great Services and Experience Columbia.)

Q: When and where were you born?

A: I was born Aug. 26, 1983, in Thibodaux, La.

Q: Where did you attend school?

A: I attended Columbia public schools and graduated in 2001.

Q: Where do you work? Tell us about your job/company.

A: I do accounts payable for Looks Great Services so that’s all aspects of paying bills and then I jump in wherever is needed. When a storm comes through, we all jump in on storm work. I order all parts and keep parts managed. Then I also work with Experience Columbia. I’m over the volunteers, vendors, Santa’s Workshop, the ticket sales, getting all of the attractions ready like the trolley and basically just trying to hold it together.

Q: What led you to your profession?

A: I was a stay-at-home mom for years. A friend of mine was talking with me, and she told me that Orry Sanders and them were looking for somebody for part-time data entry work. I figured I could whip that out in no time. I called him and he said they were looking for someone temporary, and it would be about six weeks. I’ve been here ever since and just never left. I’m so glad because when you’re a stay-at-home mom the walls kind of cave in on you. I like to be on a schedule, and my life goes a lot better when I’m on a schedule. Then with Experience Columbia I don’t even know how I got involved. I got asked to order a few things and then it was just like, “OK, she’s part of the team.”

Q: What do you enjoy most about your job?

A: I like that it’s always something different. You stay busy all day. I have a lot of things to do. It keeps you focused and makes the day go by. I work with fabulous people. My direct supervisor is Teri Sanders, and she’s so easy to work with. She’ll jump in and help when needed and doesn’t get mad if you ask her the same question 10 times. She’s one of those that will help you with anything you need. Then Kristian and Yolanda Agoglia are so good to work for. If I need off with my kids, they let me and you don’t find that often. I appreciate that.

Q: What is the most challenging aspect of your job?

A: I have so much to do and am juggling so much sometimes that I’m scared I’m going to drop the ball. So I’m a list maker, but by the time I’ve made that list I’ve lost that list because I’m so busy. But it’s just juggling Looks Great Services, Experience Columbia and even when there isn’t an event going on there’s so much to juggle with Looks Great.

Q: What is the most important lesson you have learned in your career?

A: Staying organized makes your job a lot easier and following up with things.

Q: When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A: I wanted to have my own business. I always used to play office growing up. When I was little my grandparents owned The Round Table so I grew up in a business. Then my dad, Bruce Rawls, started his own car lot so I worked for him. My mom, Julie Tisdale, was working in New Orleans a lot so I was going with her at an age when I was like little bitty. When I was 10 years old I started answering the phone for my mom’s office during the summer so I would answer the phones. I learned a lot just growing up in a business.

Q: Who is the person who has been most influential in your life?

A: My grandfather, Billy B. Rawls, taught me to serve people and about giving. I think those are two good things in life you need to know how to do. The second person would be my sister, JJ Davis. She has been my spiritual leader throughout my life. She’s eight-and-a-half years older than me so she babysat me and kept up with me while our parents worked. The last person would be Carol Ogle. I started at Southern Tire Mart, and she showed me the ropes of accounting. You take all the classes in school you can take, but I’m a hands-on and visual learner and she really took the time to teach me about running accounts receivable and accounts payable. She’s been very influential in my life.

Q: What is your spouse’s name?

A: Derrick Hobgood. He works on a land rig in West Texas.

Q: Do you have children?

A: I have two children. Walker is 14, and Mary Grafton is 5.

Q: If you could have anything for your last meal on earth, what would it be?

A: My aunt Jackie’s salmon patties and my grandfather’s dressing.

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

A: Hawaii. I love flowers so I want to go see all the flowers, and I love the beach. It’s just one place I’ve always wanted to go.

Q: What hobbies do you like to do in your spare time?

A: I just do whatever my kids are doing. I love going to football games; I love the Wildcats and follow them. I’m a Saints football fan and like the Pelicans. We go to sporting events; that’s what we do.

Q: What do you enjoy about Columbia and Marion County?

A: I enjoy it because it’s where I grew up. This is just my hometown. I think we have nice things to offer here, and I think there’s a lot of things living elsewhere you wouldn’t get that you do here. People know everybody, and I have neighbors who help me out. It’s just a special place to be.

Q: If you could have lunch with anyone from your life or history, who would it be and why?

A: My daddy. I’d just want to talk to him about life and ask him for advice. My daddy was my best friend.

Q: If you didn’t have to worry about money, what would you do all day?

A: I’d probably still work knowing me. I’d spend some time friends and family, enjoying everybody because life’s short. Tomorrow isn’t promised.

Q: What moment in your life has had the biggest impact on who you are today?

A: When I had Walker. That changed me. When you have your first baby, it’s time to buckle up and the real world is here. He changed my outlook on life and humbled me a little bit. Friday nights used to be going out and having a good time, and Friday night now is going to Walmart and getting groceries.

Q: Using one word for each, what are your top three morals?

A: Loyalty, dependable and trustworthiness.

Q: How would you like to be remembered?

A: As someone that had a compassionate heart that helped others.

— Joshua Campbell