The future of sustainability lies in balancing profit, people, and the planet. How can tech companies give back to the community sustainably? Just ask University of Waterloo Alumnus, Laura Galbraith (BES’08).
Laura is the Director of Community Impact at Vidyard, a local tech firm founded by fellow Waterloo grads, Michael Litt and Devon Galloway. Through her leadership, the company has taken its corporate social responsibility (CSR) to the next level, demonstrating its commitment to the local community through employee initiatives that encourage volunteering for non-profits and donating their time and products.
Laura was the driving force behind Plugin, a program connecting young tech professionals through fun and unconventional events while raising money and awareness for local charities. She currently serves on the board of directors and takes great joy in connecting people to something meaningful and enabling them to give back with purpose.
Well known and respected in the community, Laura volunteers with a number of local groups. She serves as a mentor for the iLabs course at Sir John A MacDonald Secondary School, a volunteer for LAUNCH Waterloo, an Executive Committee Member of the University of Waterloo Alumni Chapter and a judge for Technovation. She is also a dedicated advocate for the House of Friendship, volunteering through a variety of different programs and initiatives.
Laura’s commitment to the community has not gone unnoticed. In 2018, she received a Leading Women, Leading Girls Award from the Government of Ontario and thanks in large part to her many community support programs, Vidyard was recognized with a Volunteer Action Centre Volunteer Impact Award for Group Engagement in 2019, nominated by the House of Friendship.
For Laura, the drive to serve and passion for making a difference in her community comes from her parents. “My parents instilled this drive and a strong commitment to our community in my three siblings and I from an early age; it became a way of life for us. We all grew up caring deeply for this community and wanting to make a positive impact through our various careers and our day to day lives.”
Now a mother herself, she wants to ensure the same commitment is encouraged in her seven-year-old daughter, Binny, often bringing her to volunteer alongside her. Laura has spent much of her time volunteering with girls in STEM programming, and through these efforts, she hopes to help create an environment that empowers girls and supports them to be whoever they want to be. Promoting equality has continually been a focus for Laura, and this shows in a variety of ways through her work in the community. Laura strongly believes that we all have a role to play in making our community great and that we all have a responsibility to work together to leave things better than the way we found them and to help create a stronger community for all.