Listen to exclusive interviews with Laura Duksta
"Through collective thoughts, words and actions, our highest vision for ourselves and the world can be achieved." -CoCreating Our Reality
You might have seen Laura around town as her bald head makes her fairly recognizable! Not always wanting to be seen, Laura wore wigs for 19 years after she was diagnosed with Alopecia Areata at the tender age of 11. Laura considers her diagnosis her greatest challenge, life lesson, and blessing. "It's funny how our voids often drive our values," muses Laura. "As a child I didn't feel loved; I'm not saying I wasn't-I just didn't feel it." Laura grew up along the ocean on Boston's South Shore and spent hours walking along the beach singing the song Love Is in the Air. Who knew that years later she would be traveling around the world sharing her own message of love?
An "Ah-Ha" moment came during Laura's second year at Boston College. While taking a class that required community service work, she realized how important it was to her to make a difference in the world. Energized, she changed her major to sociology and transferred to University of Maryland, graduating in '91. Craving a break from her studies, Laura moved to Miami for what she thought would be "a few months" before starting her masters. Six years later she was still tending bar and managing the hottest spot on Ocean Drive, The Clevelander Hotel. Her mother jokes that Laura moved to South Beach and practiced being social! It wasn't far from the truth. Laura began to experience a sense of freedom about herself and her condition that had paralyzed her in many ways for years.
Laura experienced a spiritual revelation one night while praying for her sister. As she prayed, a voice clearly answered: "Your sister is fine; pray for your nephew." Laura recalls, "It was definitely the experience of Divine Inspiration. There was an incredible energy, a sensation of white light, and this story that poured through me to the point that I got out of bed and wrote all the ideas down on a piece of hotel stationery." I Love You More (ILYM) was created.
Shortly before her 30th birthday Laura made another life altering decision-she was no longer going to wear wigs. Her friends gathered around her in support and threw her a party at NYC's Life nightclub celebrating her 'coming-out' as 'The Bald Chick.' She moved to Fort Lauderdale in 1998 and began transforming ILYM into a reality. A handful of rejections from agents and publishers didn't dampen Laura's determination to get her book into the world. She secured an endorsement from Mark Victor Hansen of Chicken Soup for the Soul fame and was introduced to self-publishing. Self-publishing was a big leap for a bartender with no authoring, publishing, or business experience. Financed with a $10,000 loan from her mother, Laura was on her way.
Laura formed I Shine Inc. in August of 2001. She chose the name because "we are all stars here meant to shine our own light" and to honor the memory of her friend Donna, who's an angel always reminding her to "Keep Shining!"
Seldom Seen Gallery on Las Olas in Fort Lauderdale was the first store to carry ILYM. After selling 524 copies in 120 days, the owner helped Laura get accounts across the country. Traveling, great food, and fine wines are passions of Laura's, and she and a friend took two cross-country trips blending business, pleasure, hard work, and adventure. They visited metropolitan and resort areas across the country-Hilton Head to New Orleans, Sedona to Lake Tahoe, San Francisco to Chicago-placing her book in specialty shops while enjoying the country's endless beauty and culinary treats. Not only did they have a marvelous experience, self-published ILYM sold almost 180,000 copies! In 2007 she teamed up with Sourcebooks and ILYM made the New York Times Bestsellers List several times in 2008.
Laura enjoys sharing her personal and professional story with students, educators, aspiring authors, and organizations across the world. Laura is also an avid student of Universal Laws and Principles and one of the founders of CoCreating Our Reality and The 100 Day Reality Challenge (http://CoCreatingOurReality.com), a global web community committed to "manifesting the highest vision for our lives and our world" by applying universal laws such as the law of attraction, the law of deliberate creation, and the law of action.
She still loves to sing and is working on a CD of original songs. When she's in town, you'll find her walking along Fort Lauderdale Beach practicing yoga, singing, and enjoying the sunrise or at sunset with a great glass of wine and good friends. If you see her be sure to say hello! Shine On!!
New York Times Best Selling Author