Paying it Forward

YourName:  Karen Laksamana 

Current employer or place of business:  I started working at Formations Design Group in 1998 when I was still in college, and I became co-owner in 2006. We do web development and graphic design in downtown Vancouver. 

Organization I volunteer with: Furry Friends, a cat rescue organization. I currently design their quarterly newsletter, Formations hosts their website, and I work on the auction fundraiser committee every year and volunteer at the event. 

How I got involved: About 8 years ago, one of our clients at Formations—Iron Gate Storage, a primary sponsor of Furry Friends—asked if we would be willing to overhaul the Furry Friends’ website pro-bono. Since I’m a cat lover and it’s always fun to do a project that isn’t limited by budget, I jumped in. I soon got involved in other aspects of the organization. I later handed over the reins to the website to another developer who created a new WordPress site for Furry Friends, and I now help with design work instead. 

Why I give back: Initially it was because I just really felt like I could improve their web presence and give them more credibility as a non-profit to help them attract sponsors and donors. But I love the work they do and how committed they all are to the welfare of cats. I have three cats of my own and two of them are rescues.  

Proudest moment as a volunteer: Overhauling the bid tracking and checkout system for the annual Furry Friends auction and getting feedback that the process goes much smoother now that we use computers! The next Furry Friends auction will be September 17th at the Firtenburg Community Center. 

What local challenge or issue are you most passionate about?  As a local small business owner, I’m really interested in the drive to ‘buy local,’ to support local businesses, and the recent effort to create a technology zone in downtown Vancouver. 

Just for fun: What are your hidden talents, hobbies or interests? Well, I’m actually a pretty good pool player, and I love to play softball. I’ve also recently taken up trail running.