Editor’s note: This is the fourth installment of a five-part series on the Winter Haven Chamber of Commerce’s 2021 Polk Emerging Leaders.
Lauren Jensen, a local lawyer, was recently named one of Polk’s Emerging Leaders by the Greater Winter Haven Chamber of Commerce.
Her love of volunteering and for children can be seen in her everyday life. Jensen is humbled and thankful for the award.
“I know a lot of people who have received it and they are big shoes to fill,” said the 32-year-old. “They are people I look up to and it’s an honor to be put in the same class as those individuals.”
Jensen has worked for Sessums Law Group P.A., in Lakeland, for eight years in the field of family law helping families navigate divorce, custody, adoption and other family issues. “I have a passion for helping children and I realized I could help in this way,” she said.
Her passion for children has also been utilized by Jensen serving on the board of the Exploration’s V Children’s Museum for several years and she will be the board chair next year. She has been actively involved with the board and the rebranding of the museum (now the Florida Children’s Museum). A new location is currently under construction at Bonnet Springs Park in Lakeland.
“I got involved because it allows me to serve the children and families of Polk County,” Jensen said. “People may see it as a place to just run and play, but it is so much more. Everything is designed in mind for families. I see how it helps with development and it’s a great resource.” She feels the museum will be able to do much more for the community with its new building. “It’s really exciting. We will be opening in mid 2022.”
According to the chamber, she assisted the museum with making decisions about finances during the start of the Pandemic when the doors were closed to the public. Now, she will be leading the charge on their membership initiatives for the new facility.
“She is an exceptional leader,” said Museum CEO Kerry Falwell. “She is driven by her true passion for children. She lives and breathes for the mission. She shows up to meetings and leads.”
Jensen, a mother of three with another on the way, grew up Ohio and attended the University of Kentucky and received her bachelor of arts in sociology in 2010. She later received her juris doctor from the University of Florida Levin College of Law in 2013. Through her work at the law firm, she has learned about leadership and continues to help the community in many ways.
She has served as community vice president of the Junior League of Greater Lakeland helping with their many initiatives for helping children. She recently acted as the liaison between the Junior League and the Adopt A School initiative to house PPE supplies for schools at her home and secured volunteers to help distribute supplies to the school. Jensen has also been on committees for United Way of Central Florida and was recently named as a finalist for the Lakeland Chamber’s Athena awards, which honors local women who are leaders in the community.
Jensen said she’s definitely been blessed to give back to the community.
“I’m a believer that the community thrives when we work together,” she said. “It works so much better. I get great joy from (volunteering). There’s nothing like knowing you made a difference in someone else’s life.”