Information Technology Services (ITS)
IT@UofT People — Laurel Williams
Published on: September 21, 2021
The backbone of any successful team is its hard-working people. The University of Toronto’s Information Technology Services (ITS) unit is no exception. It is made up of a diverse range of people with an even greater diversity in their interests and talents.
In this segment, entitled “IT@UofT People,” we will get to know our IT@UofT team across the tri-campus community and find out more about their hidden or not-so-hidden talents and/or pursuits outside of work.
Name: Laurel Williams
Department: Technical Services, Enterprise Applications and Systems Integration (EASI)
Title: Build Coordinator/IT Analyst
How long have you worked at U of T?
What are your secret or not-so-secret talents and hobbies outside of work?
I have been an avid community volunteer for most of my life with many different organizations, roles and responsibilities.
My current volunteering passions include being the contact guider and treasurer for a local Brownie/Guide unit with the Girl Guides of Canada (GGC), as well as the registrar for Topham Park Minor Softball League.
As a contact guider with the GGC, I am responsible for communicating with the Guiders and their parents, sending emails, organizing permission forms and other paperwork, record keeping and more.
As the registrar for the softball league, I am responsible for running the whole registration process online. This includes creating forms, keeping track of registrations and distributing lists of registrants to the division convenors.
How and why did you get involved in this hobby?
I believe very strongly that everyone should get involved in their community in some way or another. Not only is it good for the community, but it is also rewarding to spend time and energy focused on others. For me, I feel it is important to set an example for my children and to encourage them to find their own volunteer opportunities.
Because of my involvement with the softball league and Guiding, I probably know about 50 per cent of the families in our little neighbourhood and can’t walk down the street without running into people I know.
When/how did your interest in this area begin?
I began volunteering with the GGC when I was a Guider as a young girl – around 10 years old – and haven’t stopped since. I enjoy the opportunity to spend time with and encourage the girls to develop skills and to have adventures. It’s also a great way to connect with women in the community.
Softball is more of a new interest. I had watched my son play softball with Topham for about four years and eventually started volunteering as a coach for my daughter’s team.
Do you have any professional training in this field?
I’ve developed skills such as project management and coordination over many years through hands-on practice as well as taking courses and workshops. Girl Guides offers some amazing training opportunities for girls and women, and I’ve participated in numerous training sessions throughout my time with the organization.
I have few softball skills, but I started helping with things like keeping score, doing lineups, helping little ones put on helmets and taking care of team communication with the parents. Eventually I took on the division convenor and registrar positions which involve project management, coordination and communications skills and basic computer literacy.
Who/what are your inspirations?
My parents, who have been very involved in volunteer roles are generally a big inspiration to me.
More recently, it has been a great pleasure watching both my husband and son get involved in the community, and I can’t wait to see what volunteer activities my daughter will take on as she gets older.
Anything else you would like to add?
Girl Guide units across the province are currently struggling to find enough volunteers to accommodate all the girls who want to join. If you are interested in mentoring girls and young women, even on a part-time basis, please consider becoming a Guider.
If Girl Guides isn’t your thing, so many other organizations are looking for help. Find your passion and get involved.