a special feature on overcoming a personal handicap with Laurent Hurtubise, an inspirational grandfather & champion golfer
This past year our very own co-founder Kay Ziplow competed in a PGA tour event in Pebble Beach. When she returned home, we listened to an ever-inspiring story about her experiences playing beside one of the most exciting amateur golfers she had ever met in 40 years! Right away I knew we had to share Laurent’s extremely moving life story with our grandparentslink.com readers.
A grandfather who is ever inspiring; Laurent Hurtubise was born with only one arm, a physical handicap that didn’t stop him from achieving his goals or becoming everything he wanted to be. Life for Laurent has been about denouncing the notion of disability and looks for the ‘possibilities’ of life.
Grandparentslink: Laurent, can you give me a little background on yourself please… how many were in your family? Brothers? Sisters?
Laurent: I was born in Canada and grew up in a loving family of three boys and two girls. I was born with only one arm; my right arm ends right below the elbow. Although I grew up in a time where physical impairments such as mine were frowned upon, my family never let me feel that I was any different from any of the other children. I always saw it as an advantage!
Grandparentslink: Wow! How did your parents help you to pursue your aspirations and dreams?
LH: My childhood was a happy one. I played a number of sports and made sure to never feel sorry for myself. At age six, I became a baseball catcher. I always wanted to get the ball so my coach put me in, and from then on I realized I could do anything I put my heart into. From baseball to hockey, my optimism and drive pushed me to start working toward being a successful golfer. I am always playing to win and have been from a very young age. My motto has always been “persevere.” My father always told me, “If I wanted to pick the apples from the trees like the other kids, I had to find myself a way to the top, just like the rest.”
Grandparentslink: Very inspiring motivation you have! Do you think that becoming a confident golfer helped you grow with your business accomplishments as well? Why?
Laurent: Well yes. Golf challenges you at ever corner, at every shot, and you gotta be ready to make lemonades out of limes! Nothing is 100% predictable.
That’s how I view business- helping others to succeed in a thoughtful and concise management arena. In 1981 I went in the automobile industry. I earned a degree in GM Automotive Management at the University of Western Ontario, allowing me to become a sales director for different dealers such as GM, Volkswagen, and Ford. I then went on to become an expert and trainer in leasing and lease renewal with the MECA Group, where I trained many Nissan, Volkswagen and Chrysler employees all over Canada. Encouraged by the feedback I received and the positive results from my work, I decided to create my own company, Formation Laurent Hurtubise Inc. (FLH), in 2000. For almost 15 years, my company’s durability has been centered on teaching dealerships the ways to develop, and the principles they need to succeed.
Grandparentslink: Wow what a life you have lived. How about your family? How has it been raising a family with your deformation? Have you ever felt struggles related to it?
Laurent: My family is everything to me! I am a father of two children and now a new grandfather! My handicap has never stopped me, but there was a time when my son was in elementary school, and at his parent-teacher conference his teacher told me that my son would always talk to her about how I was his hero. I was his hero because I could golf with one arm, or throw a ball just as good as anyone else with one arm, and because I never let anyone think less of myself. That parent-teacher conference was one of the happiest moments of my life.
Grandparentslink: That is a beautiful story. I am so glad I got the opportunity to hear your motivating story. I really feel as though you should be doing some motivational speaking. Hearing your inspiring story could encourage so many folks that might be struggling with similar differences. I know you play in charity golf tournaments to bring awareness to other people like yourself, not to mention your recent first place win. Would you ever be interested in speaking to a crowd?
Laurent: I had never considered becoming a speaker. Then the role came to me when I was asked to speak to a gathering of golfers and celebrities while playing in the Nature Valley First Tee Open. Never one to shrink from a challenge, I decided to speak from my heart and focus on notions of perseverance and self-fulfillment. The event showed me that my words could make a difference, and at subsequent tournaments I continued to take the opportunity to speak to audiences about the unlimited possibilities for us to achieve great things and lead rewarding lives, in spite of the challenges life gives us, such as physical handicaps.
See more about Laurent here:
Interview by Sarina Peddy, Executive GPL Assistant