Dec. 2, 2020Print | PDF
When Tracey Weiler was eight-years-old she was driving with her mother. Looking out the window from the backseat of their car she noticed a man on the sidewalk begin to shake uncontrollably and fall to the sidewalk. Shocked and scared by the scene, Tracey began to protest as her mother pulled the car over and began to get out.
“Don’t stop the car!” Tracey pleaded with her mom. “Just keep driving!” she said as her mother went to the trunk and pulled out a blanket. Still scared as to what was happening, Tracey watched her mother wrap the man in the blanket and hold him while they waited for an ambulance to arrive.
When they got home, Tracey’s mother sat her down and explained that the man they saw was having what was called a seizure and he couldn’t help himself just then so it was up to the people around him who could help to do so.
“One day, Tracey” her mother explained, “you might need help and I hope that someone will be there to give it to you.”
“Volunteering is win-win, especially for young people just starting in their careers.”
The lesson she learned from her mother that day has stayed with Tracey Weiler (MBA ’07) over the years and still informs her active life within the community as a volunteer and in her capacity as the president of Rotary Waterloo.
She has an impressive track record when it comes to community service, having been on the Board of Directors of the following organizations: KidsAbility Foundation, Kitchener-Waterloo YMCA, Bridgeport Neighbourhood Association, a member of the KW Chamber of Commerce’s Women’s Leadership Committee, on the board of directors and a past president of the Our Place Family Resource and Early Years Centre, and treasurer for the Canadian International Council Waterloo Region, just to list a sample of the community work she’s been involved with over the years.
In addition to her work in the community, she’s a parent, the director of Distribution Compensation Services in Financial Operations at Sun Life Financial, and a contract faculty member at Wilfrid Laurier University where she teaches in the Master of Business Administration program at the Lazaridis School of Business and Economics.
Weiler’s seemingly inexhaustible talents were recognized recently with the Laurier Alumni Community Impact Award, joining three other Lazaridis School alumni who also received awards of excellence this year, including Jeremy Auger (EMTM ’12) who was named Alumnus of the Year, David Ceolin (BBA ’89) who received the Entrepreneurial Spirit Award, and Daniel Cryderman (BA - Econ ’20) who received the Student Alumnus of the Year.
“Winning the Community Impact Award from Laurier was so exciting for me because I love working and volunteering within the community to help people who need additional support,” says Weiler. “It’s especially wonderful to be recognized by Laurier, a place I love so much.”
Teaching in the Lazaridis MBA program is Weiler’s opportunity to impact tomorrow’s leaders in both the business world as well as the not-for-profit space. She says that MBA students and graduates are especially well-suited to make a positive impact on their communities because of the useful organizational planning and strategic skills they master within the program.
“Look for an organization that does something you’re passionate about, then find a way to help. That can be sitting on a board, or working in the community on the frontlines, whatever motivates and energizes you.”
For those who are unsure about cold-calling organizations and charities, Weiler suggests reaching out to the Volunteer Action Centre in Waterloo Region to be connected with an organization in need of volunteers.
“Volunteering is win-win, especially for young people just starting out in their careers,” says Weiler. “You can learn so many skills and get the opportunity to use them in practical ways. You will quickly build a portfolio of skills and experiences that will benefit other parts of your life, including your career because you’ll be a well-rounded person who is able to contribute within an organization.”
“Tracey is a tremendous asset to our MBA program,” says Mitali De, director of the Lazaridis MBA program. “This award is a fitting recognition for an instructor and local business leader who gives so much of herself for the benefit of our community and our students. I couldn’t be prouder to have her stand as an example of what our MBA graduates are capable of achieving.”
Those who volunteer understand that the needs of the community continue to grow and the work is never done. Weiler uses her business analysis skills to assess where improvements could be made in the Region to find efficiencies and deliver stronger supports to those in need.
“Sometimes even I find the system difficult to navigate and I have an education, language skills, and an understanding of the right questions to ask when I need help. Imagine coming from a different country, or being overwhelmed while trying to find resources for your struggling child or ailing parent. There can be a lot of barriers to accessing the right resources, and one thing I think we can do better is be more collaborative and make the system less complex.”
For Weiler, it was the experience of looking for additional support for her children in their early years that sparked her passion for child development and mental health. She says that it’s important to find what you’re passionate about because once you do, volunteering doesn’t feel like work – “it becomes what motivates and energizes you for everything else.”
The Alumni Association's Awards of Excellence program includes several annual awards. The program recognizes achievements of alumni and students by presenting awards to those who have made significant contributions to the Laurier community. For a full list of this year’s and previous year’s winners, visit the Laurier Alumni website.