Left Community Engagement Program 2018

Left’s Community Engagement Program, which includes unlimited paid time off to volunteer, is one that has created an identity for Left and the amazing people who are involved.

Last year, our team of 45 employees in BC volunteered an incredible, 1745.75 hours — that’s an average of 38.79 hours per employee!

Our program consists of three pillars: unlimited individual community days, quarterly commitments, and 101% participation. Read on for a recap of 2018 and the elements of our award winning community engagement program.

Individual Community Days

Not only does Left provide unlimited paid time off for Lefties to volunteer, but our Co-Founders actually thank

employees when they leave the office to do so! These volunteer initiatives look different for every Lefty as we let our staff define their own communities. The only ask is that hours are recorded and a picture is taken to share with the team to inspire them to get out and do the same.


Some of the amazing initiatives that our Lefties volunteered for in 2018 include: the SPCA, TedX, Immigration Services Canada, Womens Collaborative Hub, ACM, the Poco Grand Prix, the YWCA, Crisis Line, Coquitlam Adopt a Street Program, VOKRA, and many more.

Quarterly Commitments:

Four times a year we have company wide volunteer days. The initiatives are selected by our Culture Club.

2018 Initiatives included:

  • Highway and Park Clean Up: In the summer, our team cleaned up our local highway and park. Highways and parks are a big part of our community that often gets neglected, and we wanted to take the time to show them the respect they deserve.

  • Ronald McDonald House:
    In September, a large group of Lefties spent time grocery shopping and preparing a meal for 200 individuals staying at the Ronald McDonald House in Vancouver.
  • Hour of Code: We welcomed 100 children from grades 2–7 to our office for an Hour of Code, a global movement dedicated to expanding access to computer science in schools and increasing participation of women and underrepresented minorities. Students toured the office, participated in hands-on tutorials, learned about diverse careers in tech, and played with an oculus rift, robots, and 3D-printers. To address the gender diversity gap in computer science, a girls-only session was also held.
  • Maple Ridge Christmas Hamper Society:
    Each year, we sponsor a family with a hamper that we personally deliver.

101% Commitment

Our community engagement program is employee led — supported by our families and Left– this is the extra 1%.

As a team of 45 in Maple Ridge, our Lefties have each volunteered a considerable amount of their time in 2018. We are so proud of the impact our Lefties have had in our communities, and we are looking forward to seeing what they will do in 2019 as our Left family continues to grow.

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Left wins 2016 Tech Impact Award for Community Engagement

So we woke up this morning as the repeat winner in the Community Engagement category for the 2016 BC Tech Association’s TIA awards. And while the wine was flowing in celebration afterwards, less than 8 hours later it was back to ‘business as usual’… though our Wednesday morning ‘usual’ is hardly that as we start each Wednesday with an early morning cardio bootcamp for the team at a local fitness club.
In the office, there were some high fives that spread around the room with those who could not make the gala, and a quick passing of the heavy-as-brick trophy from person to person (with a few carrying it aloft like Lord Stanley’s cup).  But the celebration quickly abated before our Lefties settled into their daily routines.  Everyone had work that needed doing.
As the day progressed, and while the mood remained positive (it almost always is), I started to reflect on the previous night's gala and the next-day energy of the team. Yes, there were a few guffaws about having to get a bigger (and reinforced) shelf to hold this latest embodiment of success. But honestly, I noticed a distinct almost ho-hum nature to the team today.  You see, between the win last night, last year’s win in the same category, our Best Workplace win from a few months ago from Small Business BC, and the Business of the Year award from the Maple Ridge Chamber, we have kind of become used to having this winning feeling.
Now, before it sounds too much like I am bragging by citing these accomplishments (and the team's somewhat laissez faire attitude to this success), I need to qualify this with a very humble… we are so very honoured to be recognized by our Community and our peers with each and every award. And it is hard to brag or be arrogant about this success when we are genuinely shocked each time we hear our name called out (especially given the calibre of the companies we were up against with VictorySquare and Traction on Demand -- both excellent and admirable companies).
However, I don’t think our team actually realizes the magnitude of what they just accomplished. They just showed us something incredible, a word that carries a lot of weight around these parts.

A few Lefties after winning the 2016 TIA for Community Engagement Award.
A few Lefties posing with that winning feeling

A bit more  background for those unfamiliar with the BC Tech Association and the Community Engagement Award that we were just blessed with:

“Founded in 1994 by the BCTIA, the Technology Impact Awards (TIAs) celebrate the successes of our industry and the companies, people and innovation that continue to put British Columbia on the map....[The Community Engagement] award recognizes a company that embraces corporate social responsibility. By engaging their employees, winners of this award are focused on building a corporate culture that has a positive impact on the community in which they live, work, and play.”

This particular accolade was first introduced in 2010, replacing the Leader in Sustainable Technology category, which was awarded at the gala event for the 10 years prior to that. Past winners (of both awards) include a veritable who’s who of successful BC Technology companies, including: TELUS, IBM, Business Objects (SAP), Sierra Wireless, Global Relay, Traction on Demand, AbeBooks, Westport Innovations, and several other notable names.
But last night, our little experiment in doing the right things right, saw little old LEFT become not just the first back-to-back winner, but also the first two-time winner… something that all those other iconic BC companies never achieved. Incredible indeed.
While I won’t go into detail in this post about what we do that makes our Community Engagement program award winning (that is covered quite extensively in this article here), I do need to highlight just one thing that I think makes us special and somewhat unique. You see, our community engagement program is embedded into the very DNA of our team. It is what makes each Lefty do what they do. As a company, we are all aligned to our 10 core values and we are driven to make our mark in the world, a mark that starts by impacting things at home in our province, in our cities, and in our neighbourhoods. This is our Community, and we could not be more proud of it.
Thanks again for the privilege of being the 2016 TIA recipient of the BC Tech Association’s Community Impact award.
We are truly honoured.