Laura M. Hamel
I’m a freelance organizational consultant, editor, writer, brand strategist, and photographer with a tapestry of experience and a zest for all things to work as they should.

At work and at home, I’ve always enjoyed helping people set up their computers, mobile devices, and social media accounts. I’m an unapologetic word nerd who loves photography, and I started building websites for fun.

Not everyone enjoys these things, so I’ve created fridaygrrl solutions—a one-stop shop for freelancers and small-business owners who need help getting organized, taming their technology, and connecting with their clients, so they can get back to doing what they do best.

More about my knowledge, skills, and experience can be found in my résumé below.
How can
I help
you?
Editor
As the director of publications and communications for U. S. Masters Swimming, I brought a cohesive tone and across-the-board excellence to its publications. As editor-in-chief of SWIMMER magazine, USMS’s flagship publication, I led a talented team of editors, writers, designers, and photographers to create a top-quality print magazine and respected industry read for adult athletes. We published on a variety of topics, and I recruited and developed staffers and freelancers who specialize in diverse fields including fitness, travel, science, physiology, history, coaching, and stroke technique. As an editor I’m reader-focused, yet I enjoy helping writers find their own voices and providing opportunities for them to grow.

Writer
For nine years I wrote an editorial column for SWIMMER in which I enjoyed exploring swimming’s unique subculture including why we swim, camaraderie, injury, burnout, controversy in the sport, and many other topics. I’ve also written many of the articles in the magazine. In 2008 I wrote and produced the proposal for the Economic Development Corporation of Sarasota County that resulted in national nonprofit U.S. Masters Swimming establishing its headquarters in Sarasota. As a technical writer for an urban planning and design firm I wrote and produced redevelopment and real estate development plans and complex proposals. As a law enforcement officer I excelled at concise, technical, and exhaustive report writing and I taught fellow officers how to do the same. Writing skills were heavily emphasized at Eckerd College, where several of my research projects were recommended for publication while I was pursuing my Bachelor of Arts degree in organizational studies. I also write for myself sometimes, in a variety of genres.

Innovator
As editor-in-chief of SWIMMER magazine, I created a product testing department—the first of its kind in the swimming space. We obtained swim gear from sponsors, advertisers, and independent product manufacturers and used local Masters swimmers to review it for our readers. I made low-budget quirky product review videos that became popular with our members and others looking for information about swim gear. As a technical writer for an urban planning and design firm I streamlined the marketing process by creating proposal templates and organizing a large project database to better present the firm’s work to potential clients. As a law enforcement officer, in addition to my regular duties, I organized, wrote, and produced training and policy manuals. I also researched, designed, and implemented a communications system that drastically improved call-for-service dispatch capabilities, which resulted in increased officer safety and better service.

Brand Strategist
I was an integral part of USMS’s video storytelling, from co-producing our on-deck Nationals videos to scripting USMS brand-essence videos, two of which garnered Telly Awards. I also shot, scripted, and produced companion underwater videos for stroke technique articles. I worked with our marketing and membership directors on USMS’s social media presence and email communications to create unique campaigns that inspired our members. 

Problem Solver
During my 10-year career as a law enforcement officer I brought order to chaos by devising and implementing effective solutions to problems in a variety of settings. These included handling complicated family, citizen, and traffic disputes; managing crime scenes; directing emotionally charged crash or injury scenes; and coordinating people, equipment, and other resources to meet the needs of the given situation—both on the streets and as part of the agency’s underwater search and recovery unit. All of these actions require strong communication skills, critical thinking, creativity, the ability to work without supervision, the ability to follow direction, and the ability to make life-changing decisions under stress—all while operating within the confines of legal and agency regulations.

Leader
For nearly a decade as the director of publications and communications at U.S. Masters Swimming, I was responsible for a team of writers, editors, photographers, and designers and oversaw the organization's largest budget. As an organizational consultant, I took over management of a struggling medical practice. Within one year the practice grew and became more profitable. Within two years the physician was able to vacate her small institutional offices and become part-owner of the building where her now-thriving practice resides. This turnaround required excellent organizational skills, human resources management, and all financial aspects of running a business, including bookkeeping and payroll. As a law enforcement supervisor and training officer, I trained and evaluated probationary officers.