Leah Skerry: Uncommon vision
Leah Skerry BComm’09 likes to do things a little differently. She also likes to have fun. Whether it’s planning a Survivor party for everyone in the office, surprising her team with a concert in New York City, or taking them all skydiving, the Nova Scotia businesswoman tries not to take herself too seriously. “I really believe that work should be fun. I also like to push what people perceive as boundaries.”
This flair for the unusual came to light in her early days at Saint Mary’s, when she discovered a way to major in business but take all her electives at NSCAD studying design. Assigned a class project to grow a business using only ten dollars, Leah combined her talent for business and her love of design to create a successful initiative called “Trumped” that promoted community organizations. It was this work that helped her snag the Atlantic Canadian Student Entrepreneur of The Year in 2009 and started the Halifax word-of- mouth wheel churning.
With Leah’s uncommon blend of ease, innovation, and vision, it wasn’t long before some big names came calling. Julia Rivard, ex-Olympian and local entrepreneur, hand-picked Leah to be managing partner at Halifax-based, Norex. Displaying business savvy and energy to burn, Leah has been successful in restructuring the web development and design company from the ground up, attracting major national and international clients and garnering awards.
A born people person Leah is a natural to co-lead a company like Norex; one that truly sees the individuality in their employees. The internationally-expanding organization values unique contributions, and to that end, allows employees to spend 20% of their time on creative projects of their choice.
The most successful of these “personal innovations” to date has been the birth of a not-for-profit funding platform—Pursu.it—for amateur athletes. Co-founded by Leah and Julia and launched last October, 15 athletes from across Canada have already benefitted from donations of $90,000. The success of the program has gone viral, prompting contact from other countries eager to replicate this type of funding.
It’s these philanthropic activites, especially when they are focused around community, sport, and wellness, that fire Leah up the most. “There are so many amazing initiatives, projects, and people in the Maritimes, and the country as a whole. It positively affects my life to be involved and to support such uplifting work.” Awesome Halifax, Hope Blooms, and the Empathy Factory are just a few of the organizations that Leah has helped nurture and grow.
Although she comes by her spirit of giving naturally, Leah thanks Saint Mary’s for the example set by exemplary staff and faculty. In particular, SMU’s President Colin Dodds, recognized as one of Atlantic Canada’s Top CEO’s, continues to impress her.
“I'm still in awe that Dr. Dodds not only shows up to every possible event, but also takes the time to remember students’ names. His presence and his character say wonders about the university.”