It has been said that a Newfoundlander or Labradorian in Austria, Morocco, Guyana, Cuba – or anywhere in the world, for that matter – will always find someone familiar with our province.
Connections made in Newfoundland and Labrador, whether you were born here or not, tend to be longstanding and meaningful.
As Memorial alumni who’ve relocated more than once, Greg Smyth (B.Eng.’07) and Kingsley Gifford (B.Eng.’09) are keenly aware of the power of community, connection and the infectious nature of the Newfoundland and Labrador spirit.
This passion led them to co-found GlobalNL, an online community that creates a conduit between the province and its network of ex-patriates living abroad.
GlobalNL promotes and connects relationships among its members through an easily searchable database, aiming to champion Newfoundland and Labrador, all over the world.
Mr. Smyth left the province in 2012 to work in the oil industry in Houston; in 2016 he and his wife moved from the oil to the tech industry.
“We got a lot of help from people from Memorial and the network of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians during that transition” he said.
“So once I landed in Silicon Valley, I wanted to open those doors to others from home. We needed to build a system that could bring the community together and give members a platform to create their connections. I felt it was time to give back, in the same way I’ve been helped in my own career.”
Once the platform was built, Mr. Smyth and Mr. Gifford pursued a relationship with Memorial University, seeing it as a strong fit to promote the platform to its members, increase the richness of participants’ experience and, ultimately, to strengthen ties to Newfoundland and Labrador.
“If you’re willing to reach out, the possibilities are endless and powerful.”
Lynn Squires, assistant director, Office of Alumni Engagement, says that alumni and friends always welcome ways to find connections within their community.
“We are happy to offer our alumni and friends with opportunities to support their journey through various stages of their careers, as they grow and lead businesses, move cities and find opportunities,” she said.
“Likewise, many alumni and friends want to share their successes, support their alma mater, help students and each other. There is no doubt that this platform can benefit our community. If you’re willing to reach out, the possibilities are endless and powerful.”
Storytelling is a strong feature of this province, and also of GlobalNL.
A range of podcasts profiling people all over the world who are making waves in a wide range of industries are available for inspirational listening on the site.
There are many Newfoundlanders and Labradorians across the globe who’ve done interesting things in a range of different careers, industries, educational backgrounds, research, says Mr. Smyth.
“Just shining a light on those individuals is something exciting that we do. The opportunities you get access to when you’re connected to the university, it just makes the world that much bigger, which is really exciting.”
To profile the types of topics that have been explored so far, the Office of Alumni Engagement will post a podcast or spotlight every day during the launch of the partnership during #GlobalNLweek, from Nov. 16-20.
The week includes a special podcast with President Vianne Timmons, who will speak with Mr. Smyth about the university’s assets and challenges and its role in the province, the power of gratitude, diversification, strong alumni connections and surrounding yourself with people who lift you up. Tune in!