Record identifies outstanding locals
Forty of Waterloo Region’s brightest have been acknowledged and celebrated for their contributions to the community and inspiration towards the next generation of leaders.
Waterloo Region’s community newspaper, The Record, published their pick for the Top 40 Under 40, with three of the recipients sharing Wilfrid Laurier University as a connection.
Jim Moss, 35, is the founder and chief happiness officer for the Smile Epidemic. The initiative started in early 2012 and aims to create the happiest community on Earth by simply uploading a photo that states what you are grateful for.
Moss was acknowledged for his efforts in spreading happiness amidst the Waterloo community, as well as engaging Laurier students earlier this year by launching the first-ever “A Happier Campus Project,” which has helped the Smile Epidemic differentiate and analyze the significance of publicly expressing gratitude and the impact of social reinforcement.
“I’m really quite honoured,” said Moss, in regard to making the list. “It’s a pretty cool group of people to be a part of.”
Moss explained that being acknowledged by the Top 40 list will raise more awareness of the importance of the Smile Epidemic and encourage people to learn more and engage. “It instigates them to reach out and ask to learn more,” he said.
Paul Maxwell, 28, is the founder and president of Maxwell’s Music House, a full service music facility that has hosted over 1,600 events and helped over 400 students through their degrees.
Maxwell promotes and exposes the talent among locals in the community and raises awareness about the importance of youth in the world of music. He is a business graduate from WLU and at the age of 23, opened up Maxwell’s Music House. “It’s awesome to represent Laurier as one of those 40 under 40,” Maxwell said.
He also expressed the importance of being acknowledged in the arts culture in a city that is very technologically based. “To be recognized as someone in the arts community as an entrepreneur is a nice change of pace for the community,” he continued.
Melissa Durrell, 39, is a Waterloo city councillor and founder of Durrell Communications. She was recognized for her service to the public as a councilor and additionally for her advocacy for women’s issues and human rights. Durrell is passionate about the film festival that she hosts every year — the KW Zonta Film Festival — which helps fundraise for local women’s charities.
“It’s a very humbling experience to be on a list with so many incredible Waterloo region people,” Durrell expressed. “I’m really lucky to live in a community where we can start new and different things, we can try stuff and the community is open towards that.”
“Part of my job, I feel, is to promote what a creative community we are so we can keep brilliance. We have two world renowned universities and if we can continue to inspire and help young brilliant people to innovate then that’s the kind of community I want to live in,” she continued.
Adam Lawrence, 32, the acting dean of students at Laurier, as well as the manager of the Diversity and Equity Office, was also acknowledged for his promotion of diversity and equality in the community and on campus. Lawrence was unavailable for comment.