By Kathy McGrath

When you enter Laurie MacIsaac’s house, it’s apparent that she loves to craft things.  Her home is adorned with lovely paintings, folk art and quilts, creating a warm, friendly environment.

Laurie is as cordial as her surroundings. But there’s another side to the craft maven – she’s an extremely organized IT professional who, as CCRA secretary, has helped whip the organization’s files into shape.

She took on the volunteer role three years ago, guided by her 25 years of experience as an IT project manager at Sears.

“When I joined the executive committee as secretary, I got a good overall sense of how things were set up,” Laurie says. “It gave me the opportunity to say ‘Maybe we could do this or that to get things in order.’” 

With the help of executive members Jake Forsyth and Mark Campbell, Laurie moved the CCRA files to the SharePoint system – part of the Office 365 Suite – which the non-profit group was able to get at no cost.

“Organizing files is right in my wheelhouse,” Laurie explains.  “We had files all over the place, so I wanted to make sure there was a place for them and that people knew how to access them.”

As CCRA secretary, Laurie prepares for monthly meetings by sending out agendas, pertinent documents and links to attendees. She sits in on all meetings and then compiles and distributes the minutes. 

During meetings, Laurie tries to remove herself from the content to focus on the business end of things. “Kathy (CCRA president) has a lot on her plate, so I just try to keep things on track by making sure we approve things properly and address unfinished business,” she says.

The Scarborough native, who attended Porter Collegiate, moved with her husband Bruce to Centennial in 2000. She says at the time the area felt like the “boondocks” but they have never regretted the decision.

“We had a house at Midland and Eglinton on a ravine and a cul-de-sac, and we wanted both those things when we looked for a new place,” she explains. “We were lucky to get both features in this house.” 

Laurie says one of the benefits of joining the CCRA executive has been the number of people she has met. “Not having children or a dog, I only knew a few neighbours until I retired and started helping with the CCRA,” she says. “I’ve met more people in the last three years than in the 19 years before that. I definitely feel more part of the community.”

In terms of her involvement on the executive committee, Laurie says she is proud to be part of an organization that advocates for its residents.

She feels strongly that Centennial residents get a lot for their memberships. “They (memberships) help us as an organization to help the community. A strong membership gives us the ability to keep people informed and to advocate for important causes in the neighbourhood.”

She encourages neighbours to reach out to the CCRA with comments or concerns. “Residents have to tell us what’s going on, because if we don’t hear about it, we can’t help.”