We had the good fortune of connecting with Shannon de Laat and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Shannon, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I had been working in the consumer brand marketing space for 15+ years (London, New York and Toronto). It was an extremely insightful, fun and challenging run — I wouldn’t change a thing — but near the end, there was something weighing on me, that I couldn’t ignore any longer. I began to think about legacy, and started to take a really hard look at the work I that I was putting out into the world. I began to wonder about the kind of place that I would want to leave behind for our tiny humans to grow up and explore.
After long deliberation, research, attending conferences and booking meetings with thought leaders in the social impact space, I made the decision that there was an opportunity to put my skillset, experience and relationships to work for the greater good. To help create the kind of organizations that can use their power, their resources and their talent to advance collective missions.
It was a leap of faith, that is for sure. But I like to think that it has changed me for the better, while hopefully contributing to a greater cultural shift.
What should our readers know about your business?
When I launched The Virtue Project almost four years ago, I began to work primarily with nonprofits in order to learn more about the internal functions and key aspects of this unique space. While my nonprofit clients valued my approach of amplifying their stories to new audiences, I too learned just as much from them. They have become some of our biggest champions to-date.
While working with nonprofits remain a core pillar of what we do, The Virtue Project has since evolved. I brought on a business partner in 2020 and together we decided that we could use our brand marketing skills to help organizations at large, become agents of positive change.
In short, we dive into the internal structures of companies to help identify the kind of social impact they can have that makes the most business sense for them, helping to build strategic programs and facilitate connections with the people and partners that will help advance their collective mission.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I am from Canada originally, so one of my favorite things about Los Angeles is the ability to be outside, in nature year round! I love the sunshine. When a friend from out of town comes to visit, our first order of business would be a trip to the beach. Malibu is a favorite weekend escape. My family and I recently started biking along the beach path from Santa Monica to Pacific Palisades and love it for the people watching.
Another hidden gem / favorite place for a hike is Franklin Canyon, it is not as busy as Runyon Canyon or Griffith Park Trails. It is so peaceful. My five-year old likes to wander around the duck pond, watch the turtles. It works for our whole family because there are steeper hills for my husband and I to get a work out, as well as a large flat forrest area for my son to “run free.”
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My shout out goes to my business partner, Daniella Macri (I wouldn’t be where I am today without her unconditional support) and to our clients — the businesses and nonprofits that make us want to continue to be better, to do better.
Instagram: @shannondelaat. @thevirtueproject
Bettina Bogar, Los Angeles-based commercial photographer and creative director.