There is no better way to start the week than a fresh breakfast and an inspiring fireside chat on community-building.

During a breakfast event at the Communitech Hub, Kurtis McBride, CEO of Miovision, Michael Litt, CEO of Vidyard, and Chris Albinson, CEO of Communitech, discussed the importance of building a thriving community.

“We wanted to contribute and Waterloo Region has ample opportunity — it's evident that this place holds promise,” Litt said. “We decided to return from the U.S. because of our inability to build a business solely for profit; we need to give back. And recently, I found solace in this realization. It wasn't just a business decision, it was personal.”

The conversation touched upon the importance of making work beneficial for everyone and fostering insightful discussions.

“In making work beneficial for all, inclusive ideas are crucial despite financial challenges,” McBride said. “Inspirational talks drive progress beyond mere politics, focusing on personal growth. We must ensure fair compensation and a place for everyone in our community's future. Reflecting on memories prompts us to envision a better tomorrow, guided by humility and our capacity for change.”

Litt reflected on the challenges faced by marginalized communities and highlighted the need to address issues within the community.

“My perspective on business stems from recognizing the power and potential of the community in driving upward momentum,” he said. “There's an inherent strength within our community. My experiences — from my upbringing in McLennan Park to witnessing my wife's journey as an entrepreneur — have fuelled my desire to learn, grow and contribute to the community that shaped me.”

Litt also acknowledged the need for deeper engagement and collective action.

“We need individuals to acknowledge the community, be involved and use that inertia to make them more loyal, more engaged in their work,” he said. “It's not perfect, but it's a way of shaping the future.”

Albinson emphasized the importance of innovative solutions and collaboration.

"In our conversation, we've touched on the complexities of community engagement and the pressing issues facing our society,” he said. “From homelessness to economic disparities, we've recognized the need for collective action and innovative solutions. It's not just about addressing immediate needs; it's about shaping a future where everyone has a place. Together, we have the opportunity to make a difference and build a better tomorrow."

Following the fireside chat, Joe Mancini, Executive Director of The Working Centre, stepped onto the stage. The Working Centre is a non-profit organization that gives people access to tools to create their own work combined with continuous ways of learning and co-operating. Its projects are organized into six areas; the Job Search Resource Centre, St. John’s Kitchen, Community Tools, Access to Technology, Affordable Supportive Housing and the Waterloo School for Community Development.

“It's fascinating to consider scale in terms of our impact,” Mancini said. “Over 40 years, we've acquired 14 buildings and initiated 30 projects, addressing needs from food and shelter to housing. Last year alone, we assisted 5,000 individuals in job searches across 17 languages and helped secure $8 million in benefits.”

The organization offers showers, laundry facilities and public washrooms. The team has also distributed 800,000 pounds of food and managed 700 units of affordable housing.

“A key aspect of our work is our commitment to ongoing projects,” Mancini added. “One notable example is our 80-year-old endeavor, 97 Victoria St., currently undergoing renovations to provide 44 new housing units and comprehensive support services. It shows the importance of collaboration and meticulous planning in community development. Each step taken contributes to creating meaningful change, not just aesthetically but in the lives of 44 individuals.”