Laurie Mintz '82 studied psychology at Union College before earning an M.S. and Ph.D. from Ohio State University. Today she is a professor at the University of Florida, a licensed psychologist in part-time private practice, and an author and speaker. Laurie teaches “Psychology of Human Sexuality” to over 150 undergraduate students a year. She also teaches and mentors graduate students in both their clinical and research training, helping them find their own niches as psychologists. Laurie maintains an active research program, too, and has published more than 50 articles in academic journals and seven chapters in academic books. In private practice, she works with individuals and couples, supporting them during difficult times, as well as helping them make positive changes and reach life goals. The author of two popular press books, she speaks nationally and internationally about the books’ topics. Both books – Tired Woman’s Guide to Passionate Sex (Adams Media, 2009) and Becoming Cliterate: Why Orgasm Equality Matters – And How to Get It (HarperCollins, 2017) – seek to empower women sexually. She was proud to give a TEDx talk on the latter. Laurie is an active member of several professional organizations, including the Society for Sex Therapy and Research. She loves practicing yoga, walking in nature and paddle boarding. She also enjoys spending time with family and friends, including her husband of more than 30 years and her two adult daughters. Laurie also admits to watching about an hour of television at the end of each day to wind down.
What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of your career or volunteer activities?
Balancing everything I am engaged in, both personally and professionally, is the biggest challenge. There is always more work to do than there is time to do it. I strive to get things done and done well – and still balance this with engaging in activities that sustain my physical, emotional and relational well-being. I love what I do and find it all very rewarding. What is most rewarding is when I learn that I have made a positive difference in people’s lives – be that a student, a client or a reader of one of my books. I often receive unsolicited notes of appreciation from students or readers, telling me how my class or book has positively affected them. I always save and cherish these, since helping and empowering people is what drives me to do what I do.
Who inspired/inspires you, both professionally and personally?
Personally, my husband is my greatest inspiration. He is intelligent, kind, competent and my biggest cheerleader. Professionally, I am inspired by several psychologist role models I have had over the years and by the resilient and open students, clients and readers I interact with.
What advice would you offer today’s women students, not just at Union, but across the country?
Follow your heart and your dreams! Listen to your inner compass about what you want to do, rather than the voices of others telling you what you “should” do. Know that sometimes you will succeed and sometimes you will be rejected or fail (my first book was rejected by countless publishers!). Let yourself feel down and then pick yourself up and keep trying. If you have a dream, persist, persist, persist! Always keep your physical, mental and emotional health on the front burner. The days when you think you don’t have time to exercise or take a break from work are the days you need to do it the most!
What was your most formative experience at Union?
My group of women friends and I founded the Women’s Network, now known as Women’s Union. Working side by side with this group of passionate, brilliant and fun women was both enjoyable and inspiring, and I am still friends with many of these women.