YEDaily: Laura Serra

Laura Serra was faced with an incredibly tough decision several years ago when her five-pound Chihuahua was in a near-fatal accident. Find out how her dilemma at the time helped launch a charitable organization that raises money for a different animal welfare organization every year in today’s YEDaily…

Elevator Pitch: Describe your business in a nutshell.
We are dog lovers helping dogs. Paws for the Cause is a Toronto-based organization that raises money for a different animal welfare organization every year. We also raise money to support an annual Paws for the Cause scholarship – The Chloe Award – given to a veterinary student at the University of Guelph.

Why did you start your business, what was the inspiration?
Several years ago my five-pound Chihuahua Chloe was in a near-fatal accident. Her spinal surgery bill was $10,000 and my two options were to pay or put her down. Faced with such proposition, I knew I wanted to help others who couldn’t afford a hefty bill. Thus, Paws for the Cause was born and now today, three years later, we will directly be able to subsidize surgeries for qualifying applicants via the Central Toronto Veterinary Referral Clinic in Toronto.

What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
Working with friends and saving dogs. I work with some of the most talented creative minds in the city, who all happen to be my friends, and seeing their dedication to this cause warms my heart every day. The obvious extension of this is that we have a different impact on saving dogs’ lives, which is the whole point. The challenge, as always, is time. In addition to heading up the lifestyle division at Narrative PR, I also write a weekly column for The Globe and Mail, so extra time is a hot commodity in my calendar. Despite the challenging months just before our yearly October event, it all feels worth it in the end.

Where do you see your business going in 5 years?
I want Paws to continue to be a Toronto-born event and give our local supporters a kick-ass party every year – I want it to become the must-go-to event in Toronto. Beyond that, I’d like to magnify our voice to have a full Canadian presence. I’d love to see a Paws Montreal and Paws Vancouver. Any dog-lovers out there want to partner up?


What does success look like to you?
Money raised. At the end of the day, we can throw the best party in the world but if we’re not donating enough money to the CTVRC, we aren’t achieving our goals.

What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
The moment after our first fashion show at our first #PawsGala in 2010 when I collapsed with relief into the arms of my committee members and friends; such a rush of emotions and feeling of accomplishment, gratefulness, and pride.

Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Hustle. No excuses. Not having enough time is never a good enough reason.

Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
I think we know the answer here.

What is Notable to you?

Blackberry, iPhone, Android, or Other?
Apple slave. 

How do you keep active, energetic, and vibrant? 
I don’t think I’m any of those things, but being on the go 20 hours a day must produce enough adrenaline to keep me rolling.