April 15, 2015 | Stories & Profiles

My Story: Lauren Plankey, "the face of Burlington Labs"

Lauren Plankey gets her share of good-natured teasing for being “the face of Burlington Labs.” She’s the woman you see calmly pipetting specimens on our trade show booth, in many of our printed materials, and here on this website.

But Lauren is much more than just a pretty face. Hired as an entry-level lab technician in 2010 upon her graduation from the University of Vermont, Lauren is now our Laboratory Information System Quality Analyst. Here’s what she has to say about working at Burlington Labs.

lauren plankey

Lauren Plankey was "Employee #5" at Burlington Labs and plays a key role in our lab operations.

Our mission is to help people struggling with addiction, and to remove the stigma associated with recovery. In my own words, I would say it this way: Never give up on anyone. There is always a person underneath the drugs, and you can’t label someone for life because of an addiction problem they may have today.

The mission means a lot to me because, as a new mom, I don’t have a lot of time to volunteer. So if I can feel like I’m giving back through my work, that’s meaningful to me.

Some of my favorite moments about working at Burlington Labs are the times I’ve talked with our donors. We’re obviously strict observers of privacy regulations, but sometimes donors will strike up conversations with us when they visit, telling us their stories, or where they’re at in their recovery process. I’ve learned so much from those conversations, and I consider it a true compliment that they would consider me someone they could open up to.

Unfortunately, others often make judgments about the people they see coming into our waiting room. That’s what we have to change. Because that person could be coming in to our office for any number of reasons, and the point is, we don’t know their story. Maybe they’re in the middle of their struggle with addiction. Maybe they’ve been sober for months and need to prove it to regain custody of their children. Or maybe they’re here to interview for a job.

In fact, I participate in a lot of interviews for lab positions here, and I’ve heard so many stories from job candidates who have chatted with a donor in the waiting room before coming in for their interview. It’s almost always a positive, eye-opening experience for that candidate. It’s really interesting how so many people get a great impression of Burlington Labs and what we do before they learn anything formal about us. And it’s fitting that some of the best “marketing” for us is in the success stories of those who come through our waiting rooms.