It was in Las Vegas that he said he met “the love of my life,” the woman who would become his wife six years ago, Paula Elyar-Lauzon, a senior vice president of administration for Boyd Gaming. A graduate of UNLV, she has been chairperson of the UNLV Hotel Dean’s Global Advisory Board and active with various other non-profit organizations including Global Gaming Women and United Way. “She said I should share what I know, reach out to help others,” Lauzon said.
That opportunity came during a dinner Lauzon and his wife had with Randy Gabe, a Southwest Gas Vice President and a member of the Grant a Gift board. “I was very impressed by his background and asked if he would be interested in joining the Grant a Gift board," Gabe said. "He makes us think about the whole business process...while we are helping people we still need sound business practices.”
Gabe said Lauzon was a key player in the partnership formed between the UNLV School of Medicine and the Grant a Gift Foundation and their decision in 2016 to open the Ackerman Center for Autism, which bears the name of Gary Ackerman, a Grant a Gift board member whose son has autism.
“Barbara Atkinson was fantastic in her support, as was Gary,” Gabe said. “Brian (Lauzon) was one of the important voices for good management…he was instrumental in seeing the clinic opened..he wanted to make sure it was operated in sound fashion, not only medically but in a business sense.”
Ackerman, the owner of Gaudin Motors, says Lauzon’s grasp of finance, marketing and planning, has been critical to the success of the autism center. Businesswoman Donna Curry, chair of the Grant a Gift board, echoes his appraisal.
“He has been instrumental in our having a strategic plan that works,” she said. Not surprisingly, Lauzon’s success on the Grant a Gift board led to his being asked to join both the UNLV School of Medicine Community Engagement Board and the UNLV Medicine board of directors.
“We’re fortunate to have someone with his business expertise on our board,” said Dr. Michael Gardner, head of UNLV Medicine. “Brian’s enthusiasm, strategic thinking and knowledge of marketing has proved invaluable to UNLV Medicine.”
Lauzon said his philosophy of business was largely formed by his father, a pharmacist who owned his own drugstore in West Springfield, MA. “The biggest thing he showed me was integrity -- there’s a right way and a wrong way to do things.”
As a boy, Lauzon stocked shelves in the drugstore. There, he said he learned principles of inventory management, including that a good shelf presence was critical for sales. “What I learned back then I used at Mars,” he said.
Today Lauzon, who believes a nonprofit must do well financially in order to continue to do good in the community, is largely focused on making the UNLV School of Medicine “a center of excellence.”
“We have a huge opportunity to get this done properly,” he said. “We want to be seen as a true innovator in how you move medicine forward.”