Laura Neff, Vernon Township High School class of 2009, visited her alma mater recently to share her journey into professional photography and impressed the students in Terry Sabia’s photo major classes with her energy and thirst for learning. She stumbled into wedding photography, she told them, where she has found so much success as Laura Lee Photography (imlauralee.com), she has assistants working for her now.

Mrs. Sabia, who has known her for more than a decade, said Laura’s success is due not only to the stunning photographs she takes, but to her natural way with people.

“She really cares about them and learns as much about their story as possible. That’s what separates her from the rest.”

Neff also has a penchant for learning, so much so that she has taken hundreds of online courses to learn the ins and outs of running a business and now has her own education business with clients she mentors in photography and business techniques as well, www.lauraleecreative.com. She has a substantial stable of clients with whom she works, many of whom return for additional services.

Because of her drive to learn as much as she can, Laura has become a member of masterminds, a peer-to-peer networking group for entrepreneurs started by giants like Henry Ford and Andrew Carnegie. They all travel to Los Angeles three times a year to meet the group in person, but otherwise, they Skype once a month. Even though she is the youngest and the least income-producing compared to the others, she deliberately wanted to place herself in a position where she could soak up all the advice and insights from some industry titans. Each month, each member gets a fifteen-minute platform to discuss problems and seek input from the others.

Laura’s big dream is to travel the world (some more), taking photos and writing stories of people who are totally engaged in their cultures. She loves the stories as much as the photos, if not more so, sometimes.

The students who met with her in the photo class witnessed what the results of their own choices can be in the future if they pursue their dreams with vigor, taking full responsibility for their own “tool box.” Laura shared her photos from around the world and encouraged her audience that anything was possible. Her enthusiasm, sweet nature and concrete results provided a real life lesson to those getting ready to leave the security of the public school system.