Monica Royer and Audra Lawlor The Mentor Files Graphic

When Audra Lawlor traded a busy corporate job in New York City for a quieter life in the San Juan Islands, she wanted to reinvent what having a career looked like for her.

“I was on a mission to create something different,” she tells Monica Royer in a new episode of The Mentor Files podcast. “Most importantly, to prove to myself that I could do it, that I could create a business and be an entrepreneur and build a company that did scale purposefully and could afford me some of the lifestyle that I wanted.”

Once settled in Orcas Island, inspiration came from the ground up: Audra founded Girl Meets Dirt, which makes award-winning preserves from sweet local fruit. 

“I was looking for roots myself. And these fruit trees were that rootedness for me. Because for 120 years, they've been digging their roots deeper into the earth. They've been blooming every year and bearing fruit every year,” Audra says. “I looked at them and saw resilience, which I was looking for in my own life and couldn't find in my journey to build a family.”

The example of resilience meant a lot to Audra on a personal level. That’s because, while creating the roots for the company, Audra weathered multiple miscarriages before ultimately welcoming two babies. After that journey, Audra was clear that her business would also have to accommodate her role as a mother. 

“We've grown a lot.. We just celebrated our 10 year anniversary,” she says. “Could we be bigger now than we are? Yes. But what I have [is] the fulfillment in my life that I have now [and] if I would have scaled faster, maybe not.” 

 For any person who has heard the word “balance” frequently applied to conversations about work and personal life, Audra’s experience is a demonstration of how you can really chart your own course. In this episode, listen as Audra and Monica discuss saying “yes” to what you want, thoughtfully creating a life you love, and sustainably growing a company. 

You can subscribe and listen to The Mentor Files on Apple Podcasts. You can also watch their conversation on YouTube!


“I knew that to be true to myself, I was going to have to figure out how to do both of these things: be a mother and build a business.”  – Audra Lawlor, Girl Meets Dirt founder