Lauren Waters, Communications and Social Media Support, Lura Consulting
We caught up with Lauren Waters, who now works in Communications and Social Media Support at Lura Consulting. Lauren did her Master’s degree in Communications and New Media at McMaster.
You are currently working in Communications and Social Media Support at Lura Consulting. What is Lura Consulting and what are some of the most exciting things that you do in your job?
Lura Consulting is an a collaborative planning company that works on a diverse set of projects ranging from Strategic Planning, Behaviour Change, Sustainability and Climate Action, and Engagement Projects. Lura stands for Listen, Understand, Relate, and Advance, which really summarizes our work and our attitude towards it. We get people engaged, connected, and talking to generate new ideas and solutions that benefit plans, strategies, and ultimately our communities. My day-to-day work varies a lot depending on the project I am working on! I could be organizing our Sustainability Exchange conference, drafting social media plans for large infrastructure engagement projects, helping to design an Official plan for a City, holding focus groups and interviews, or managing Lura’s online and offline marketing; there is never a shortage of new projects to tackle and skills to learn. One of my greatest achievements so far has been the redesign of Lura.ca!
What experiences did you gain at McMaster that were relevant to this job?
McMaster really solidified my research skills, which are invaluable in my workplace. Work at Lura regularly involves research, writing literature reviews, analyzing data, transcription, and qualitative research skills that I learned while at McMaster. My strategic communications skills and confidence in presentations also regularly contribute to my success.
“McMaster really solidified my research skills, which are invaluable in my workplace.”
What made you decide to go on to do a Master’s degree?
I did a Master’s degree because I was originally interested in becoming a Professor, because of my love of teaching. However, exposure to new ideas, people, and a reawakening of my environmental passion reminded me that I needed to contribute to the formation of sustainability policy and action in my own way. Thankfully, my Master’s degree highlighted my dedication and intelligence and I believe was a contributing factor to being hired in a very competitive industry.
How did McMaster’s MA program help to build on your capacity to engage critically and to think on a higher level?
I’d like to think my critical thinking has been on overdrive since high school, however McMaster’s MA program did force me to assert my opinion and defend it at length in a classroom setting, which is something I only did on paper during my undergrad. The quality of debate and the respect among my classmates and I developed my confidence and my ability to form complex arguments under time constraints.
“My Master’s degree highlighted my dedication and intelligence and I believe was a contributing factor to being hired in a very competitive industry.”
What was the most important experience you gained at McMaster?
The most important experiences I gained at McMaster were through working with my supervisor, Graham Knight. Graham is a very experienced supervisor and taught me a lot about selecting research questions, ethics applications, and the details and challenges of research. He was very supportive during my writing process. He encouraged me to attend conferences, get involved in the department, and connect with my professors in a way I had not done in my undergraduate degree. Because of this I attended conferences, guest lecture series, took risks as a Teaching and Research Assistant and grew my skills, contacts, and confidence exponentially.
Why did you choose McMaster?
I chose McMaster because the course selection offered a breadth of subject matter that covered my theory interests and social and environmental motivation. I was accepted into several other programs, but have never questioned my decision. The length of the program also allowed me to focus enough time and energy on my research, but also allowed me to transition into the working world when I was ready.
“The quality of debate and the respect among my classmates and I developed my confidence and my ability to form complex arguments under time constraints.”
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received in your life?
The best piece of advice I have received is “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can”.
What advice do you have for McMaster students?
The best advice I can give is apply for conferences, get to know the faculty, and commit yourself fully to what interests you. Work your interests into every assignment you can and expand on that knowledge while you have the venue for feedback!