Laura Maxwell (MDP’17) established herself as one to watch while she was still a student in the Master of Development Practice program, her dedication to the study and practice of international development evident from the start. Since then, she has parlayed this commitment to effect positive community impact not only in Canada but in countries around the world.
While at Waterloo, Laura served two terms as Chair of the North American Students & Alumni Advisory Council for the Global Association of Masters in Development Practice and was a delegate of the Republic of Kiribati at the 21st session of the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. She developed outreach and networking platforms to engage students and alumni and coordinated student input for the development and promotion of the eight MDP programs across North America.
Today, Laura is a Manager in Deloitte’s Sustainability & Climate Change practice, where she applies her background in impact measurement, global health and innovation, and environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategy to help environmentally minded and social impact-focused organizations build and evaluate purpose-driven programs that advance progress on pressing societal challenges. Her work is part of Deloitte’s social impact platform which addresses areas of value beyond compliance, linking business activities with opportunities for social impact and shared value.
Helping organizations give back and create measurable positive impact to the communities in which they work is central to Laura’s work. Examples include partnering with UNICEF and Global Affairs Canada to evaluate innovation platforms for global health, education, and child protection, and identifying the strategic direction of a global movement for maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH).
As societal and investor expectations for organizations to operate responsibly and create shared socio-economic value continue to increase, Laura is excited to now bring this global experience back to the Canadian context.
Over the last few years, she has worked with Canadian companies to develop, implement, evaluate progress and elevate their ESG strategies, bringing a unique perspective on the “S” in ESG. This has included reflecting on how organizations “give back” to the communities in which they work, maximizing their impact through both business activities and community investment. For Laura, it’s an exciting time for corporate responsibility and sustainability, and she’s thrilled to be a part of it.
Another area of passion for Laura is mental health. In 2019, she coauthored the first study in Canada providing real-world evidence why organizations should invest in the mental well-being of their employees and providing a blueprint to do so. Since then, she has worked with several public and private sector organizations to build workplace mental health and well-being strategies and impact measurement frameworks – in some cases, a key part of their COVID-19 pandemic response. She contributed to a series of reports on reporting standards for employee well-being in collaboration with the International WELL Building Institute and she is passionate that her own team members are “walking the talk”; taking care of their own well-being as they push boundaries to take care of others and the planet.
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