Work with Laurie Barkman

Meet Advisor Laurie Barkman

Award winning leader, transition sherpa, board  member, and podcast host

Hi, I'm Laurie!

I believe it's possible for business owners to get more freedom over your time

and more happiness in your personal life.

My Purpose

I launched SmallDotBig to help closely held companies grow. More than that, I believe in sustainable growth, and creating lasting enterprise value. 

My Values (CAGR)

  • Clarity - I help people move forward in challenging times.

  • Amplify - I admire creativity, kindness, and cleverness. I look, listen, and identify value to create messages worth spreading.

  • Grounded - I'm a grounding force by being measured and knowing the why.

  • Resilient - There’s no such thing as a problem, it’s an opportunity to be solved with a growth mindset.

My Qualifications and Experience

 CEO + Innovation 


  • More than 25 years in leadership roles:

    • technology startups 

    • privately-held and family owned businesses

    • public companies

    • corporate startups 

  • Former CEO of a closely-held company $100M subsidiary with a successful exit

  • Award-winning B2C and B2B marketer and strategist

  • Managing partner of a private equity firm focused on early-stage technology companies


Technology, Professional Services, Retail, eCommerce, Education, Venture Capital, Private Equity, Industrial and Consumer Products, Supply Chain Logistics, Non-Profit

Board Service

  • Advisory Board Member, Safety io, subsidiary of MSA Safety Inc.

  • Board Member, The Pittsburgh Promise, Marketing Committee Chair

  • Co-Chair, Women for Economic Leadership and Development Pittsburgh Chapter

  • Former President, CMU Tepper School of Business Alumni Board

Credentials + Awards

  • ​​MBA Carnegie Mellon University

  • BS Cornell University

  • Business Transition and Exit Planning Certificate, Exit Planning Institute

  • Pittsburgh Business Times Women of Influence Award

  • National Diversity Council Most Powerful and Influential Leader Award

  • American Marketing Association Pittsburgh Chapter Marketer Award 

Passion for Entrepreneurship

  • Startup Mentor: Alpha Lab, McGinnis Competition, Randall Big Idea 

What is Laurie like to work with?

Here's what clients say!

Grounded, structured approach

"Laurie’s approach to leading and facilitating business strategy sessions for teams is remarkably stressless, yet optimally productive. Her relational style, humor, perception and grounded, and structured approach combine with a block-buster professional background for high-yield and low-stress."

Dynamism and insights were crucial

"Laurie led Strategic Planning in a 1.5 day session. We developed the vision statement for the company for the next 3 years and set the high-level goals to accomplish it. Laurie did an amazing job as a facilitator. Her experience, dynamism and insights were crucial for the exercise. After the session, the team was very proud and most importantly felt confident and prepared for the new year. Challenges will always be there. Preparedness makes the difference.

Exactly what we needed

"SmallDotBig has been exactly what we needed -- when we needed it -- to take our company to the next level.  Laurie's talent for working hand-in-hand with our team, her ability to dig deep into our business model, and her willingness to follow up and hold us accountable throughout the implementation process have been stellar. Our whole team has fully bought in, and strategic planning has shifted from something we dreaded to something that actually makes us excited about our future as a business.”

Gifted strategist

“In addition to being a gifted strategist, what sets Laurie apart is that she isn’t afraid to roll up her sleeves and slog through your messiest business problems with you. She helped me strategically reorganize and reposition both of my businesses. In six short months, she took me from a cold start, to poised for success on multiple fronts."

Provides clarity

"I feel that I now have a path forward."

You can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards.

So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.” 

This is a great quote from Steve Jobs.

But I believe that it takes more than trust to create your future.


Hope is not a strategy.

Seems you read to the bottom of this page, you're probably wondering if it’s a good idea to connect with me, you might want to consider the quote...then call me! 

SmallDotBig is a strategic advisory firm for owners of small to mid-size companies. Our mission is to dramatically increase the value of your business anticipating a sale or ownership transition in the future. We help you get more freedom over your time and more happiness in your personal life. Our process combines Value Building, Executive Coaching, and Strategic Planning. Want a business and personal roadmap to achieve your dreams?  Reach out today. 

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