Iridia in the Community 2016 – Part 3

The holiday season is upon us and, amoungst the hustle and bustle, a group of Iridians ventured out to give back to both their local and international community. Check out how they made a difference:


This holiday season, our Iridia in the Community group chose to support Soup Sisters. Soup Sisters is a not-for-profit, charitable, social enterprise that was founded in 2009 by local Calgarian, Sharon Hapton, who had the simple belief in the power of soup to provide care and warmth for two of society’s most prevalent issues: domestic abuse and youth homelessness.

Thousands of people come across Canada to make, share, and donate over 10,000 servings of fresh and delicious soup for women, children, and youth each month. On December 2nd, we joined this initiative by taking part in one of the many Soup Sisters events offered throughout Vancouver.

We came together with other like-minded volunteers to make soup for Margaret’s Housing for Older Woman. It was a very inspirational evening because we were making soup for women who are 55 years old or older, have suffered domestic violence, and have limited income. So, this resident housing for these women really look forward to this soup.

Our soup not only helps these women financially, but also provides a healthy and nutritious meal. Our team made 27L of turkey meatball soup, contributing to 159L of soup in total to Margaret’s Housing.

One of the most exciting things about Soup Sisters and the evening that we spent together was to really hear the stories about how all the women were very excited about the soup that we made and, in particular, the turkey meatball soup was a big popular one. So that was really refreshing. It was also really neat to be able to write the customized messages on the labels for the soup, knowing that when they went to get it, they would actually read it and maybe feel a little bit of warmth as it came from us to them. So, really exciting night at Soup Sisters.

But then our team also got together and wanted to challenge ourselves and look at how we could define community another way. So that was our local community contribution, but we thought we’d look internationally as well. So, we challenged a few firms that are friends of ours and we asked them if they wanted to join us in supporting Playground Builders. They are an organization co-founded by Kirby Brown who I met at Creative Mornings and they do a really great job of building playgrounds for children in places like Afghanistan and Gaza. The opportunity to play is something that many of us really just take for granted; it’s such a part of growing up and these kids don’t have that opportunity. We wanted to help change that a little bit.

So we reached out and we challenged a few of our friend companies: Blackbridge Search Partners, White Rock U-Lock Storage, and Limulus and we wanted to see if they wanted to join us in supporting Playgournd Builders. And very happy to say that they did. They really bought in to what we were doing and they all contributed in kind. And we were able to make a donation that will help see at least a few more smiles on kids in some of these countries abroad.

And lastly I would just say like, hey take advantage of this as an impetus to see what you can do in your community. Small contributions, in this case $100 apiece, a little bit of time, are all that it took to take meaningfully make a difference in the lives of some people. I hope that you were inspired by this and that you look to do something in your own community, however it is that you define community. Thanks!

To see how other groups decided to make a difference, check out Part 1 and Part 2 of our Iridia in the Community initiative!

Iridia in the Community 2016 – Part 2

Remembrance Day has has passed a couple weeks ago, but that doesn’t mean we have to stop reflecting and honouring the sacrifices that veterans have made to protect us. Our second group of Iridians spent their time and resources to raise awareness to these heroes. Take a look at the video below to see how they made a difference:


When we asked Canadians about what they think of when they think about our Canadian troops, many pictured an image of a soldier in uniform, like an Air Force pilot or navy officer. However, many overlook the transition our veterans are going through from an active military career to a healthy, stable civilian lifestyle. This transition can be challenging as they can struggle with unemployment and coping with their physical and/or mental illnesses.

Our veterans have given the entirety of their lives to protect our country, our freedom, and our values. But when they come back, they struggle with many things that we take for granted:

  • Many veterans struggle with physical and mental illnesses.
  • Many veterans have difficulty finding steady jobs afterward.
  • Some veterans can end up losing their families and their homes.

Our veterans once fought for us. Iridia chooses to fight for them.

With our Iridia in the Community project, we have donated our funds to the Royal Legion of Canada and received poppy pins. Then, we took the poppy pins, shared these pins in advance of Remembrance Day, and encouraged conversations as to why we should honour our Canadian veterans. We can continuously show our support to organizations like the Royal Canadian Legion and Vets Canada by volunteering our time and showing financial support through donations. Also, you can share this video to your friends, family, and people around you so that we can raise awareness and start a conversation about veterans around us.

Together, let’s fight for those who have fought for us.

To see how other groups decided to make a difference, check out Part 1 and Part 3 of our Iridia in the Community initiative!

Iridia in the Community 2016 – Part 1

After a weekend, or in some cases an entire week, of shopping deals, Giving Tuesday is a day to step back and consider how our thankfulness can flow outward to those in need. With so many causes to stand up for, Iridia is launching our 3rd annual Iridia in the Community initiative. This initiative highlights our value of social responsibility by enabling employees to find ways to give back to their community.

This year, we’ve divided Iridians into three groups and challenged them to give back to their communities in a way that is meaningful to them. Take a look at the video below to see what one group is fighting for.


You and I may have to decide between pasta and rice for dinner. But hundreds of thousands of Canadians are faced with a much harder decision: groceries or rent. Poverty brings over 850,000 Canadians each year to food banks in order satisfy one of their most basic needs: safe, good-quality nutritious foods. And, 36% of these people are children and youth.

This year, as part of our Iridia in the Community, we chose to combat hunger. In Fort St. John, we donated $100 worth of gift certificates to the Women’s Resource Centre for their food bank.

In Vancouver, we will be volunteering at the Greater Vancouver Food Bank and have started a virtual food bank fundraiser. For every $1 donated, the food bank will be able to buy up to $3 worth of food. Join us in this fight against hunger by donating to your local food bank or by helping us hit our $500 goal. If you donate food, please ensure that it matches your food bank’s needs. Contact your local food bank and see how they could use your support.

Spread the word and raise awareness as to how you can help this holiday season. Talk about it. Share this video. Together, we hope to make a difference.

To see how other groups decided to make a difference, check out Part 2 and Part 3 of our Iridia in the Community initiative!

Social Responsibility is a Measure of Success

Social Responsibility

One could argue that social responsibility is one of the most important core values an organization can have. Indeed, in the values statement itself we state our belief that profitability cannot be our only measure of success.

We are incredibly privileged to live in a part of the world where most of us never see the kind of need that is experienced in much of the rest of the world. There is an old proverb that says, “To whom much is given, much is expected.” We have indeed been given much, and we believe it’s our responsibility to give back wherever we can.

Environmentally – We ensure we’re recycling and making the best use of our resources to minimize waste. We endeavour to be fiscally responsible and we share profits with our employees at the end of each year based on the company’s profitability.

Locally – Iridia allows every staff member three paid days per year to engaged in volunteer activities. We want our employees to be invested in their communities, and encourage the giving of their time to organizations that need their help. We give to local charities in the way of sponsorships and gifts during their fundraising campaigns.

Regionally – Recently, we have decided to support a BC-based organization or charity. We asked for staff participation in suggesting projects worthy of our support and then did a survey to determine which project people were most interested in getting involved with.

Internationally – For the first time this year, Iridia partnered with, an organization that facilitates giving micro loans to entrepreneurs in third-world countries. These loans enable them to start businesses that will move them out of poverty and allow them to support their families and build their local economies. We’re excited to see where these business people will be a year from now, and intend on continuing to support to these kinds of endeavours in the future.

There are lots of ways to measure success and Social Responsibility, and businesses who are leaders in the marketplace make sure they pay attention to all success factors. These activities keep us ground and grateful, and what could be more important than that?


What’s the Big Deal About Core Values Anyway?

“In an age of increasing global and local competition, the ability of an organization to build a culture that attracts and retains talented people is rapidly emerging as the most important criterion for financial success. Executives and employees are searching for organizations that will support them in their personal and professional growth. They want to work for companies that are not only great places to work, but are also socially responsible and embrace sustainable development. They want to feel a sense of alignment between their personal values and their company values. There is significant evidence to suggest that organizations that focus on values alignment are the most successful financially.”

Richard Barrett author of ‘Building a Values-Driven Organization‘ (2006)

core values

Core Values

Core values, alignment, triple bottom line, social responsibility, values-driven business – these are all buzz words popular in business culture today, and they are strategically important to drive business and impact decisions. But if they don’t mean anything to the people who work in the company, their value is little more than the print on the page. Under the pressure of modern day business, it’s easy to lose sight of what really matters, and that’s why core values are important. They form the foundation – the “centre” if you will – of a company’s business actions and daily decisions. Employees must sense that core values are more than posters on a wall and have a direct relationship to how business is done, or the values will remain flat, unembraced and having little impact.

On a blog post in the Harvard Business Review, Tony Hsieh, the American entrepreneur who founded, which was sold to Amazon for $US1.18 billion, said that their core values were important to keep the company focused as it grew. In a space of just 10 years, Zappos grew from almost no sales to more than $US1 billion in annual revenue. With this kind of growth you can imagine how challenging it must have been to maintain the business culture across all departments and with all employees. Core values were what drove hiring, informed policies, affected decisions, and maintained the dynamic culture that has made the company what it is today. Zappos employees demonstrates the company’s core values because they understand them, believe them, and clearly see the application to how they do their jobs every day.

At Iridia, we strive to bring our core values alive and at the forefront of business. We encourage employees to think about what they do in the context of those values. We ask questions, make decisions, and conduct business in a way that reflects those values. When they don’t, we want to know about it!

Over the next few posts, we will be writing about each of our eight core values and how we live and breathe them in our day-to-day at Iridia. Core values truly do define a company, and alignment between those values and corporate behaviour is an unstoppable dynamic that sets apart the good from the great.


Iridia Medical + Kiva = Social Responsibility

What is Microlending?

In the 1970’s, Nobel Prize winning economist Dr. Muhammad Yunus set out to find a way to provide bank loans to those entrepreneurs who were “too poor” for traditional bank loans.

During visits to the poorest households in the village of Jobra near Chittagong University, Bangladesh, Yunus discovered through his own lending, even very small loans could make a disproportionate difference to a poor person – and so microlending was born.

Microlending, in a nutshell, is the lending of very small amounts. These loans on their own do not amount to much, but when combined with many lenders, they make a huge impact. 

“Money goes, but it never comes back,” says Yunus when comparing philanthropy to microlending; providing a great example of how microlending is more sustainable than its philanthropic counterpart.

What is Kiva?

Kiva is a non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. Leveraging the internet and a worldwide network of microfinance institutions, Kiva lets individuals lend as little as $25 to help create opportunity around the world.

Kiva Statistics

  • 850,000 Kiva lenders
  • $379+ million in loans
  • 98.98% Repayment rate
  • 171 Field Partners
  • 450 volunteers around the world
  • 66 different countries

Kiva envisions a world where all people – even in the most remote areas of the globe – hold the power to create opportunity for themselves and others. They believe providing safe, affordable access to capital to those in need helps people create better lives for themselves and their families.

Social Responsibility at Iridia

Why are we so interested in the concept of microlending? Well to put it simply, microlending allows us to do much more with less!

Almost two years ago, Iridia began lending through We saw an opportunity to give even more to those who are less fortunate. Since then, we have made 22 loans to 16 different countries around the world. For more information, view our lending portfolio.

Recently however, we hosted a brand launch party to celebrate the journey toward updating our brand and choosing a new name ideally suited to our company.

Kiva Iridia

As part of the celebration, we made a new contribution to Kiva on behalf of all of our guests. But we didn’t stop there, we wanted our guests to choose the next loans themselves by selecting a Gender, a Location and a Sector they would like us to lend to. However, due to the constant variability of borrowers on Kiva – at the time we placed the loans, certain borrower categories were unavailable to us. For example, we had a difficult time finding female borrowers from Africa (a popular choice among our guests). With future Kiva loans, we will look to fulfill any missed popular categories. Thank you to everyone who made a selection!

Based on choices available to us, we selected the following four individuals:

k1 k4 k3 k2

Growing City Helped Reduced Our Corporate Footprint

Social responsibility is one of our core values at Iridia – and to do business more responsibly, we made a decision to proactively compost much of the waste produced at our Vancouver office. To achieve this, we partnered with Growing City to reduce our carbon footprint. 

One of the benefits about working with Growing City, is that they send you regular updates about your personal carbon reduction. In only 23 weeks of corporate composting, we have diverted 345 kilo’s of waste that would have otherwise been sent to a landfill.

Check out the diversion update from Growing city below to see what 345 kilo’s of waste looks like:

Growing CityThe Diversion Update is a cumulative record of the amount of waste our company has diverted since starting service with Growing City. The record is based on averages relating to bin size and pick-up frequency.

We look forward to continually reducing the amount of waste produced by our office and our continued partnership with Growing City.

Learn more about Growing City and how you can reduce your corporate footprint.

Spreading the Holiday Cheer

One of our core values here at Iridia Medical is social responsibility.

“We believe that the bottom line is not the sole measure of company success. As a responsible player in the global marketplace, we are committed to running our business in a way that is socially responsible, environmentally sustainable, and economically profitable.”

Keeping in line with living our values to the fullest, this holiday season, the team at Iridia sponsored a family of three through the Salvation Army; providing them with a food hamper and gifts to make their holiday season a little bit brighter.

Over the past two weeks our team has feverishly been putting together a hamper full of toys and food, and today we were finally able to deliver it to our sponsored family!

The family was ecstatic when we arrived and thankful for our help, but for us, we’re simply lucky to be in a position to help out those in need.

This happened to be the first year we have adopted a family for Christmas, and we are so pleased with the turn out and support of our staff. We will look to continue this next year; and you never know… one day it may even turn into a new holiday tradition.  

“Be the change you wish to see in this world” – Mahatma Ghandi

Fastest Man in the World Teaches Us a Lesson about Social Responsibility

Social Responsibility is an important measure of success.

We believe that the bottom line is not the sole measure of company success. As a responsible player in the global marketplace, we are committed to running our business in a way that is socially responsible, environmentally sustainable, and economically profitable.

social responsibility

One of the most talked about athletes heading into the 2012 Games was a Jamaican sprinter by the name of Usain Bolt. Having broken on to the Olympic scene in 2008 in Beijing, Bolt shattered the world record in the 100m and won gold, leaving his competitors in the dust.

This year, all eyes were on him to see if he could do it again. Not only did Bolt defend his gold in the 100m, he also won gold in the 200m and the men’s 4×100 relay, breaking another world record; the first person in Olympic history to do so.

Social Responsibility – Giving Back

Olympic gold, especially in an area as popular and visible as athletics, often leads to endorsements and opportunities to earn significant money. It certainly did for Bolt, a charismatic and dynamic individual, who benefitted financially from his skill and his title as the fastest man in the world in the years following his Olympic win.

Bolt grew up in Trelawny, a small, poor town in Jamaica. He attended public schools that often didn’t have the things we would consider basic in an educational environment.

When fame and wealth came his way, one of the first things he did was to give back to the schools in his home town – from computers, structural improvements, sports equipment and teachers’ salaries, Bolt gave back to his elementary, middle and senior schools.

He has also provided financial support for the establishment of several health centres in Jamaica, and has supported environmental and other causes around the world.

Social Responsibility

Bolt set up a foundation for the continued funding of the causes that are important to him.

The Usain Bolt Foundation’s mission is “the creation of opportunities through education and cultural development for a positive change.” The foundation is “dedicated to the legacy for happy children; to enhance the character of children through educational and cultural development, as they live their dreams.”

Bolt’s commitment to social responsibility doesn’t end with simply providing financial support. His presence is seen and known in his home town, as he spreads his message of hope, encouraging kids to believe in and work toward their dreams.

Usain Bolt believes in being responsible with the fortune he has earned and giving back to a community that doesn’t have much.

Social Responsibility Value

Social responsibility is one of Iridia’s core values because we also believe that’s important. For this reason, we offer our employees paid days off to participate in volunteer activities, as well as contributing financially to worthy local, regional and international causes.

We may not all be as rich as a high-profile Olympic gold medal winner, but all of us can do our part. Whether it’s spending your time or your money, there will always be people who need what you have to give. The question is, are we willing to give it?

Social Responsibility

Many would look at Bolt’s career and say without argument, that he has achieved unparalleled success in his career – shattering records and leaving in his wake a trail of wins. And yet, he would say that success is measured by more than just his achievements on the track.

“I’m honored to be able to put my Olympic win to good use and spread awareness about the causes that are important to me,” says Bolt. “It’s a great feeling to know you have the ability to reach out to so many different people.”

All of us can reach out somewhere and make a difference in our sphere of influence. Those efforts are an important measure of our success.

Bike to Work Week

During the last week of May, Iridia staff participated in Metro Vancouver’s Bike to Work Week. Bike to Work Week which is a twice annual event, encourages avid cyclists and new riders alike to sign up, log their communities, win prizes, and be part of making Metro Vancouver a better place to live. Improving air quality, reducing road congestion, improving personal health and connecting with their communities are a few of the benefits realized by Bike to Work participants.

This spring’s Bike to Work Week had approximately 4,500 participants, who biked a total of 320,435 logged kilometres! The three person Iridia bike team rode a total of 300km throughout the week.

Bike to Work Week

Aside from the environmental benefits of biking instead of driving, cycling is great for your health! The heart is one of the most important organs for a healthy life but can suffer from an inactive lifestyle. Cycling is ideal for training the heart to be stronger which results in less stress on the heart. All the risk factors that lead to a heart attack are reduced, and regular cycling decreases the likelihood of heart attack by more than 50%. In addition, moderate cycling can prevent, or at least reduce, high blood pressure and help avoid stroke or damage to your organs.

Bike to Work Week

One of Iridia`s Values is Social Responsibility. Bike to Work Week is a great example of how this value goes beyond Iridia`s bottom line and extends into promoting and encouraging practices that are socially responsible and environmentally sustainable. Iridia has provided its employees with the facilities and amenities to bike to work and, in turn, directly impacts the amount of greenhouse gasses and other emissions that could be potentially put into the air by driving to work.

Even though Bike to Work Week is over, our staff will continue to bike to work, rain or shine, and we encourage everyone to get out for a cycle!


Bike Route Map of Metro Vancouver 

ICBC Bike tips