Spotlight on Young Nature Leaders: Laura Klein
Stay curious and adaptable; were some of the themes of Laura Klein’s Women for Nature mentorship. For Laura, the mentorship focused personal development and building professional skills that will help in any stage of her career. Specifically, staying flexible and curious about your own working style and learn from others whose style might be different. “One skill we talked about was working in a team with people who have very different work styles than you, and how to work through the challenges that arise from that.”
Laura said that the lessons learned from both the one-on-one mentorship and the community of practice webinars were useful in building confidence and to think critically about what she wants to accomplish in her career.
Laura is the Engagement Coordinator at the rare Charitable Research Reserve in Cambridge Ontario. Laura works to engage the community to protect the 900 acre urban land trust through various programs. After completing an Honours Bachelor of Environmental Studies at the University of Waterloo, Laura went on to obtain a Master of Applied Science at Ryerson University. Laura joined the rare team in 2016, and is excited about the opportunity to put her energy into community engagement, focusing on fundraising, volunteer management and outreach projects.
In the webinar discussion Laura learnt that a career plan doesn’t always have to be linear as long as you are always challenging yourself and stay in tune with your values. “It gave me more confidence that as you grow as a person, your career can grow and change as well, while still aligning with sustainability and still utilizing a background in environmental education.” Laura said. Together with education, experiences and guidance these young leaders can work to protect nature.
Laura strongly believes that connecting the mentees with senior women leaders helps her and her peers become stronger and more effective leaders in their communities and address barriers to career success. “I think this is a great step to take, but it is important to recognize that a lot more work is needed. I think it is extremely important for women to help other women.” Creating a network of driven, professional women to guide young leaders is a step in this direction which will ultimately increase efforts to protect nature and reverse species decline.
Laura is putting her new learnings to work to help protect the local biodiversity. The species diversity of the rare Charitable Research Reserve is incredibly significant – 1/3 of the plants of Waterloo Region are found here together with 70% of the birds, 60% of the amphibians and reptiles and 50% of the mammals. Laura’s current initiative is to Turn the Map Green and protect this local nature jewel and wildlife found there in perpetuity.
Thanks to Nature Canada’s Women for Nature and our funders for investing in the people powering nature protection nationwide.