Manager - Youth Education and Employment
Lauren Murphy, was a professional recruiter for 10 years working in several fields including the hospitality industry as well as professional services. She holds extensive knowledge of employment strategies, and stakeholder relations. As the Clean Foundation's Youth Education and Employment manager she has the opportunity everyday to use her experience to help support the youth of Canada find exciting career paths in the green sector - weaving in her personal passions towards the environment and professional expertise together.
She recently received an Executive certification in Leadership and Innovation from Dalhousie University's Executive Management School and is a participating member of the Halifax Chamber of Commerce ‘Accessing the skilled workforce’ taskforce.
I grew up in St. John's Newfoundland, a city filled with culture and rustic beauty. Having lived so close to the ocean I forged a love of the coast that clings to me still. I moved away several times throughout my life, I went to University in Fredericton's UNB and lived in Toronto for 4 years and always felt I was missing something when I wasn't a short drive away from the smell of the salt water that an ocean beach brings. I grew up with icebergs, with hills, with whales and from that I began my respect of the environment. In every company I worked for I started a Green Team and helped support any and all environmental strategies, doing whatever I could to feel as though I was doing my part to protect the planet.
With the growth of my career I became drawn to recruitment as I loved the feeling of connecting the right person to the right job, much like planting a new seed in my organization and watching them grow. This line of work landed me jobs that were amazing and challenging and when I started working at one of the world’s largest professional services firms I knew I had to work harder than I ever had before... and I did! I found myself in Toronto working 14 hour days, managing a national team and even though I was excelling I was losing sight of what my original passions were. Then life took a turn, as it often does. The organization went through a massive restructuring that forced them to let go close to 40% of their support staff and that included me.
At first I felt like I had to immediately jump back into work and very soon after had 2 job offers waiting for me. Then I decided to take a breath, check in with myself and my life and really think about what is the best space for me moving forward. It was during this pause I focused on my kids, reconnected with my community, my home and the outdoors. I traveled, got healthy and then one day my neighbour, who was a Director at the Clean Foundation, reached out to me and said she had a job she would love for me to consider. It was managing a wage subsidy program to support employers in the green economy and also help graduates find internships with these organizations. I started doing research on Clean and then went in and met with the team then I knew this is what I had been waiting for. Here was a chance for me to use the skills I had gained in professional recruitment while also being able to work in a space that supported my personal passion towards the environment.
After a year with Clean I was promoted to Manager - Youth Education and Employment, now I am managing all our youth programs. We start with EnviroEd where our EnviroEducators go into schools (P-8) and teach children about climate change, air health and clean energy. Then we move into Clean Leadership, our summer internship program that matches students (ages 15-30) with Environmental projects across Nova Scotia then we end with our Professional Internship program which I spoke about previously.
Now I walk to work with a smile on my face, I love my job, I'm so proud of the work that we do and most of all I get to see hope for our future every day... what more can you ask for?
What are you most proud of professionally? And who or why?
I recently had to submit a final report to the federal government pertaining to our professional internship program. I had the opportunity to connect with the 54 interns who went through my program and was able to learn more about the projects they were working on and I was amazed. There is such incredible work taking place in this area and to be able to have connected their graduates with these organizations made an amazing impact. I was incredibly happy to see that 90% of the interns had been hired on full time and would be actively building their careers focusing on Canada's environment. I was also able to connect with the supervisors of the interns, many of which are also the primary contacts for these organizations and the overwhelming response of gratitude for our funding having enabled them to hire and progress these important projects. You can't help but feel a huge sense of pride knowing you had a small part to play in a huge step towards a healthy planet.
What’s your vision for Atlantic Canada in 10 years? What’s our biggest opportunity now?
My vision for Atlantic Canada in the next 10 years is that we all have a much more focused attention to the environmental impacts of our region and are working together to strengthen our Green Economy. In my current role I have the opportunity to meet not only the amazing environmental organizations who are currently working in this space but I also get a chance to meet extremely inspiring and passionate youth who are driven to forge their careers in supporting a healthy world for the future. Atlantic Canada has an amazing opportunity to use this space as a growth venture - clean tech start ups, other environmental NGO's or even larger corporations now have the chance to pivot their goals to a cleaner, greener way of living so that we continue to have a beautiful region to live in.
What was your greatest stage of growth? What made it a shift for you?
As difficult as it was... and as negative as it sometimes in the moment, I would have to say my time working in professional services was my greatest stage of growth. I went into the role having low self confidence, I wasn't sure I would be able to meet with partners and be able to speak their language and hire the people they need to excel. But failure was not an option so I knew I had to dig deep and work harder than I ever have before because it was either that or drown . Before I knew it I was promoted in under 2 years, which was virtually unheard of in this industry and I was extremely proud of what I had been able to accomplish. Then I was not only meeting with partners, but I was running the meetings and answering their questions and that felt pretty good!
What’s your favourite or most read book or podcast? Now or at each of your greatest stages of growth?
Wow... this is so tough! I love to read and try to read a book almost every month. Growing up in Newfoundland many of the novels I was drawn to came from authors of my province, Newfoundland authors have an amazing way with description. Some of my favourites include The Shipping News, Random Passage, Waiting for Time, and Galore (just to name a few). I am also drawn to fiction written by Indigenous authors including some more recent reads The Marrow Thieves, Three Day Road and Through Black Spruce.
What’s your deepest learning from this past year? How did/will you apply it?
I have been deeply immersed in the topic of climate change over the past year. Learning more about our personal impacts and the extreme importance of making significant changes in order to help this huge cause. I always tried to live my life with respect to the environment but now I have taken it up significantly. Every facet of my home life, and particularly how I’m raising my kids, is now impacted with this knowledge.
Who’s inspired you, directly or indirectly? How have they inspired you?
As cheesy as it may sound I have to say the youth that I work with are my inspiration. My first summer working at Clean I had the opportunity to attend the summer end showcases of the summer interns. This is a chance for them to all come together and present on the projects they spend their time on. I had goosebumps the entire time... I couldn't believe that these students had so much knowledge and passion and had spent so much hands on time working in this space. They are the ones who will make a difference, they truly are the leaders of the future and they make me proud and motivated to work hard every day.
What would you have done differently?
I am who I am today, and I am where I am today, because of the path my life took. Who knows if I would be here if I didn't take the meandering path life often throws you. I am happy and fulfilled in life - no regrets!
What are the principles you live by?
Be kind.... kind to people, kind to the earth and kind in your heart. Work hard, play hard and always remember to stop and smell the ocean!
Mom of two awesome kids, professional environmentalist, job maker, funding seeker, funding provider. Lover of beaches, movies, music, dancing!