Staff Spotlight: Laura Guerrier…Celebrating 10 Years with PWW Haiti

By Emery Letendre, PWW Intern

Laura Guerrier will celebrate 10 years with PWW this year! Laura is PWW’s Accountant in Haiti, a position she has earned through hard work and dedication and one she holds with much gratitude, respect, and passion.

Laura was not always clear about what she wanted to pursue in college or in the workforce. When she was in school, she initially wanted to study to become an architect, as it connected with her passion for math and drawing. Her parents, however, encouraged her to apply to medical school. She did not earn a spot in the program, so she enrolled in reporting studies, a program she believed would be very beneficial to her education. She learned it was not what she wanted to do, but it helped her to understand the power of education and being informed in the world…two skills which have helped her get to where she is today.

“I decided to learn all that I could. Empowering myself. Questioning everything around me. When I found answers, I realized that knowledge can help to develop the hidden part of you and make you fall in love with yourself.” 

In December of 2008, Laura brought her English language and mathematical skills to Pure Water for the World when a friend recommended she apply for an opening. She initially worked as an intern but soon secured a permanent position, helping with data entry. She felt very lucky to have gained the opportunity, as she was under pressure to pay for her studies. This kept her motivated.

As Laura continued working hard in her position, she was soon promoted to Administrative Assistant. She then was able to put her math and communication skills to work, accepting another promotion to bookkeeper and HR officer. In July of 2014, she moved into the position she continues to hold today as PWW’s Administrator Responsible, or Accountant, a role that has had the greatest impact on her thus far. It has taught her about the importance of hard work and believing in one’s self.

Laura is very grateful to PWW for helping her to refine and develop her skills. She has gained a variety of leadership and professional skills by working closely with PWW staff, at every level, who have been invaluable mentors for her.

“I’ve learned lessons from my experiences and gotten the best part of them. I have become more realistic in my choices when representing the organization and more vigilant with protecting its duty. I’ve been trained by the team at PWW to do my job with professionalism. I have really gained a lot.” 

Laura remembers how much of an impact PWW made on her, personally, when the 2010 earthquake occurred in Haiti. She recalls how devastating the effects of the earthquake were for many staff members, including herself, and how scared she was for her future.

“The earthquake on January 12th, 2010, is the event that affected me the most in my entire life. I was at PWW’s office when it struck, and I thought it was the end of the world. I soon learned that I had lost my home and other important things. But, thanks to God, my family’s lives were safe. When Roman (Deputy Director at that time) called us into a meeting, we felt we had nothing left. We were without hope. Then, he took notes about all of our losses and reported it to PWW in the states for support. PWW did not give us up, as they could have. They stood by us and supported our families and all of us to step forward and shine again. That was a big impact on me as a person.”

Laura can also see the impact that PWW’s work is having on her country, and she feels grateful that she is a part of an organization making such a difference in Haiti. “I’m happy now that all my days at work are filled doing something to help my people…saving the vulnerable. I feel grateful to be able to make that big difference in the world. And the change can be visible at every step of my life.”

Laura appreciates PWW commitment to continuing the work to alleviate suffering for Haitian families. She is able to see, firsthand, the change that is happening in the communities PWW serves, noting that the education provided to community members on water and hygiene safety and maintenance of the safe water tools is absolutely priceless. She believes this will lead to an impact that will last for generations to come.

“From the newborn to the eldest ones, life needs to be preserved and this is what PWW does. The impact is simple and big; we prevent vulnerable people from being vulnerable. We need to keep on with the good work, implement more, touch more Haitian families. And, the next generations will follow, cultivating the education that PWW is providing today, and it will become their routine. That’s how the impact will last. So we’re on the way.”