Coffee Break  |   May 24, 2024  |   3 minute read

Coffee Break: A Conversation with Laurie Villeton

Welcome back to Coffee Break, a Greenspace Series where we dive deep with one of our team members to uncover their personal stories, perspectives, and new ideas—or maybe even learn about some of their hidden talents that we never knew about.

Laurie Villeton was originally born in France, and her passion for the outdoors—more specifically, the mountains—is what led her to immigrate to Canada in 2015. After completing a degree back home in Communications and Media, she decided to spend a year surrounded by the stunning mountains in British Columbia. Ultimately, one year turned into many when she found herself working in the ski industry and loving the experience. Throughout the years, she found herself doing everything from social media and PR to sales, and even events management for weddings, school trips, corporate meetings, and more:

“Fun fact, I actually helped bring a three-tiered wedding cake up to the top of the mountain in a gondola overnight.”

As most stories these days go, COVID-19 hit— which heavily impacted the tourism industry and resulted in Laurie being let go from her position.

“I was laid off and that’s really when I was like, hey what am I doing with my life?”

The sudden life overhaul led Laurie to question where she ultimately wanted her career to go. When thinking about her life before Canada, she remembered her passion for not only Communications and Media, but importantly, for website development and maintenance.

“On the side, I was always tinkering with web development or creating some wordpress website and trying to create my own custom themes just for fun.”

The answer became clear; Laurie would go back to school for software engineering.

Luckily, the BC government was offering scholarships for people to take educational courses during COVID. So after months of searching, she found a program and dove head first into a 3 month intensive bootcamp. With about 60 to 70 hours a week, Laurie shared that “you don’t have much of a social life during that time”.

Her first job in the industry was in healthcare, working on a government funded project to build a centralized referral system for both specialized and general practitioners— something that did not yet exist in Canada.

“I discovered that I could mix two of my passions, health care and software engineering in one place.”

The program eventually ended and she was back on the job hunt, which is when she found Greenspace. She described her cover letter as being more similar to a fan letter, because she already found herself so passionate about our mission, values, and the prospect of joining a team dedicated to improving mental health.

Laurie’s career transition is something that she’s extremely proud of, given the effort and commitment it took, and ultimately, how much it’s paid off for her.

“I speak with a lot of people traveling and they often say ‘oh that’s a really cool job and you get to make a difference.’ It’s one of the exact reasons software engineering made sense for me, because it opens so many doors. At the end of the day, you still get to pick your field. And I think working in mental health is definitely what I’m the most proud of.”

It certainly helps that her role at Greenspace has not kept her away from her original passions: the outdoors and the mountains. She’s still living in British Columbia and always finds the time to get outside and explore what’s in her backyard, and abroad. In fact, before our call in January, Laurie was immersed in the vibrance of Mexico City, and has since visited the Chiloé Island, hiked Torres del Paine, in Patagonia, and seen the Perito Moreno Glacier, in El Calafate, Argentina. She joined our call from Chile and has plans to visit the Andes mountains for the ski season, with a few other stops along the way.

“I’m so grateful that I really get to combine all of my passions together during my day to day.”