Poverty and inequality are not new, but more than ever, we see the levels of complexity and interconnections of these global challenges. With new abilities to understand how problems connect, we are called to share and collaborate in our work, to create solutions larger than single organizations.
Engineers Without Borders (EWB) Canada works to develop leaders, invest in entrepreneurs, and partner with individuals and organizations to tackle these global challenges. Using our work and experience in these three approaches as the foundation of this conference, we are hosting the opportunity to learn and connect together, with the goal of improving our collective efforts for global development.
Business for Good
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Todd works with renewable energy, sustainable growth and energy efficiency companies, as well as companies using the internet and “for-benefit” models to ensure global, long-term, social, environmental and economic well-being.
For 25 years, Todd has practiced at Jones Day, a global law firm with more than 2,400 lawyers, including more than 400 in Europe and 200 in Asia, located in centers of business and finance throughout the world. Todd founded Jones Day’s Northern California presence in 2000 by opening its Silicon Valley office, and today heads the Firm’s Energy Practice where he leads its renewable energy and sustainability focus. Todd serves or has served as regular outside counsel for public companies and start-ups alike, as well as counsel for venture capital funds, private equity funds, and investment bankers, including companies such as Embrace Technologies, Network for Good, and SunPower Corporation. Todd’s social entrepreurship and impact investing leadership dates back to 2003, long before mainstream use of the terms, and over the past decade, he has counseled, advised and represented dozens of organizations seeking to alleviate some of the world’s most challenging problems, in some of the world’s hardest places.
Participatory Development Initiatives
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James Alexander Longwe works as an Executive Director for Participatory Development Initiatives (PDI): a local non-governmental organization working in Water and Sanitation sector in Malawi. He is the current Board of Trustees Chairman for the Water and Sanitation venture in Malawi. James qualified as a Public Health Assistant in 1989, and joined the Ministry of Health and Population where he worked for six years. In 1995, he joined Concern Universal where he worked as a Community Mobilization Officer before being promoted to work as a Project Manager after undergoing a post-graduate Diploma Course in Water Supply and Sanitation Development in Harare with The Institute of Water Supply and Sanitation Development in conjunction with the Engineering Department of the University of Zimbabwe. In 2002, James joined WaterAid in Malawi, where he worked as a Programme Officer responsible for Partner Capacity Building and Support.
As a leader, his aspiration is to facilitate the transformation of the underprivileged communities to fully realize their development potential with the minimum support from government and non-governmental organizations. This can only be realized by forming coalitions between different stakeholders: donors, local and international non-state actors, governments, and beneficiaries themselves.
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Before launching Fail Forward, Ashley worked in Cairo with the United Nations Environment Programme and as a management consultant in Vancouver, Canada. In both lines of work, Ashley saw a fear of failure inhibit innovation, adaptation, and general growth. In response, she launched both AdmittingFailure.com and the consulting firm, Fail Forward, to spark a shift in how civil society perceives and talks about failure, and to help organizations learn, innovate and build resilience.
Ashley has spent the past three years working with a range of organizations from donors and foundations to not-for-profits and private sector companies to use failure as a learning tool and culture driver to support and foster innovation. She is well known for building the Organizational Learning Team at Engineers Without Borders Canada, and continuing to lead the development of their annual Failure Report.
Her work on failure has received coverage in a wide range of media and news outlets, including the Stanford Social Innovation Review, The Guardian, Harvard University’s Hauser Center for NonProfit Organizations, TED talks, BBC World, The New York Times , The Wall Street Journal, The Globe and Mail and, most recently in interview with Arlene Dickinson on CBC. Ashley was also the 2013 recipient of the prestigious Harvard Business Review and McKinsey Innovating Innovation Award.
Engineers Without Borders
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What does it mean to be the CEO of a movement? For George Roter, it meant dropping out of his Master’s program and running up $30,000 in credit card debt to fund the launch of Engineers Without Borders Canada (EWB) – that turned out to be a good decision. As EWB’s co-founders, George and friend/colleague Parker Mitchell stewarded the organization from an idea scribbled on a napkin to global influence with 3,000 active members, 50,000 supporters, 37 chapters in Canada and change ventures in Malawi, Ghana, Uganda, Liberia, and Zambia.
George is now the sole CEO of an organization with volunteers and staff that have been embedded in more than 150 African businesses, governments and organizations. They drive EWB’s change ventures, working to help local leaders and entrepreneurs create bottom-up, disruptive innovations that address systemic causes of poverty. EWB is also a ‘torch’ for engineers and social change in Canada. George and Parker believed that the engineering profession had a greater role to play in society, and that EWB could lead a movement of socially-minded engineers. EWB’s Canadian change ventures include Canada’s largest grassroots advocacy network on international issues and partnerships to change undergraduate curriculum for 20,000 students, transforming them into Global Engineers.
Through EWB, George inspires an ever-growing network of change leaders who are dedicated to making disruptive, positive change. He was awarded the Young Leaders Award by the Public Policy Forum (2007), named as one of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 (2005) and awarded the prestigious Action Canada Fellowship (2004) on public policy. He’s was also recognized by Time magazine as one of Canada’s next generation of social leaders (2001).
George holds a Bachelor of Applied Science from the University of Waterloo (1999), a Bachelor of Applied Studies (Honorary) from Seneca College (2009) and a Doctorate of Applied Science (Honorary) from Queen’s University. When he’s not out trying to change the world, he’s relaxing at home or canoeing with his wife Sari and his golden retriever Coel. And he still doesn’t have his Master’s.
Stephen Lewis Foundation
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No matter what the issue or how overwhelming the odds, Ilana Landsberg-Lewis passionately believes that individuals can—and do—make a real difference.
Ilana is a labour and human rights lawyer, and a deeply committed advocate for the rights of women and children. She spent eight years at the United Nations, with the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), where she worked as the CEDAW (Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination Against Women) Advisor. Ilana was also instrumental in bringing into existence and managing UNIFEM’s Trust Fund on Violence against Women, which funds grassroots women’s groups in developing countries.
In 2003 — at her kitchen table alongside her father, Stephen Lewis — Ilana founded the Stephen Lewis Foundation to work directly with grassroots projects in sub-Saharan Africa in their struggle to turn the tide of AIDS on the continent. In just 10 years, the Foundation has disbursed over $72,000,000 in programme spending to over 700 initiatives, partnering with 300 community-based organizations in the 15 African countries hardest hit by the pandemic — including the over $17,000,000 for grandmothers in Africa and the orphaned children in their care; money raised by thousands of grandmothers across Canada who are part of the Foundation's "Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign".
In 2009, Ilana was the recipient of the YWCA Women of Distinction award for International Development, and in 2012 was named one of the Top 25 Women of Influence in Canada.Ilana has two sons, Zev and Yoav for grandmothers in Africa and the orphaned children in their care, and is married to Lorraine Segato, a musician and activist.
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Peter was born and bred in Ghana, and is proud of it! With a background in Development Studies, he has always had a burning desire to be a successful entrepreneur. He is Co-Founder and Co-CEO of AfriLEAD Institute, the largest youth leadership and social entrepreneurship development organization in Ghana.
AfriLEAD is a non-profit that works to develop transformational young African leaders and entrepreneurs across Ghana and Burkina Faso. Peter's vision is to establish AfriLEAD as a recognized continental hub for leadership and social change entrepreneurship education, research, and practical opportunities for the next generation of African change makers to transform their communities.
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Tamaiko Enterprise is a family run business with interests in agriculture and education. The business employs seven family members and some 60 local employees. The enterprise has grown from being a two-acre plant nursery to a six-acre plant nursery, 250-acre mango plantation and a processing unit for fruits and vegetables. Tamaiko Enterprise works to include the community in decision making by employing people from the communities in which they work, especially women. Faiza, the youngest family member employed by Tamaiko Enterprise, has been working in the family business since she was 12. Over the past two years, Faiza has grown the business into one of the biggest nursery plant suppliers in the region. As a result, she is now the vice-president of the Mango Growers Association and a delegate to represent a group of producers on the Technical Review Committee that was set up by the Ministry of Trade and Industry to encourage development of agricultural production. As she has demonstrated good leadership and competence in the management of business staff, Faiza has recently been nominated to join a delegation from the Ghanaian Export Development and Agricultural Investment Fund to Thailand and China.
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Co-founder, President and Chair of the Board of Tostan Canada, Rebekah Steele supports social transformation for human rights in Africa. Tostan’s powerful model of development done differently brings about wide-spread, historic change. By engaging thousands of communities in a three-year non-formal education program, Tostan spurs meaningful, sustainable impact in education, health, environment, governance, economic growth and more.
As a Senior Fellow providing Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) expertise for The Conference Board, Inc., Rebekah is director, faculty and coach for D&I Academies in North America and Europe, writes for The Conference Board Human Capital Exchange™, and supports a broad spectrum of Conference Board D&I initiatives.
When leaders are not achieving results that matter in the things they care about most, Rebekah Steele | Diversity Breakthroughs helps them design new, inclusive ways of working with a broad mix of people to enable the results they must achieve. Working across 6 continents, Rebekah designs system-wide strategies, facilitates innovation labs, catalyzes systemic transformations, speaks, and more to advance meaningful impacts from the global practice of D&I. Her work builds on 2 decades of launching and leading global and local D&I strategies in numerous organizations including Amoco, AlliedSignal, Honeywell, and BlackBerry. Learn more at www.rebekahsteele.com.
Mining Shared Value
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Jeff Geipel — Mining Shared Value Venture Leader, Engineers Without Borders Canada.
Jeff is the founder and venture leader for Mining Shared Value, a venture working to improve the development impacts of Canadian mining investment in developing countries. Before this, Jeff was the founder and first executive director of Fair Trade Vancouver. Fair Trade Vancouver led the charge in making Vancouver the first major city in Canada to achieve Fair Trade Town status, and its media-attracting work became the model for city-based fair trade activism in Canada. Jeff has been researching and working on international trade issues since his undergraduate degree in political science at Simon Fraser University. In addition to his bachelor’s degree, Jeff holds a master’s degree in international development from the London School of Economics in the United Kingdom.
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Steve Wright has worked over 20 years at the intersection of technology and education.
At Grameen Foundation, Steve is the VP of Poverty Tools and Insights which includes two teams. The first is the Social Performance Management Center, which provides tools and resources on social performance – specifically the Progress Out of Poverty Index® (PPI®). The second is Inclusive Business Tools which develops and provides TaroWorks: a mobile-enabled, cloud-based information management system designed to improve efficacy and efficiency of those who serve the poor. Before joining Grameen Foundation in August 2010, Steve was a high school teacher and administrator for ten years, followed by ten years as the Director of Innovation and Technology at Salesforce.com Foundation. His foundation work with social investors and social enterprises established him as a thought leader in the social metrics space. Steve is a contributing author of the practical handbook “Nonprofit Management 101,” and is a frequent speaker and blogger on social enterprise, social investment, and social sector.
Newton North America
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Alan Rogers is an Associate Director at Newton North America and is based in Toronto. He has been with the company for close to a decade and is committed to transforming businesses through operational improvement and guaranteed bottom-line results. He is a strong believer in the value that an engineering skillset brings to any process; whether it’s shop-floor operations, boardroom decision making, or international development.
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Sara Johnson works at the Mulago Foundation -- a small foundation based in San Francisco that supports innovations targeting the poorest populations throughout the world. The foundation's three areas of focus are livelihoods (specifically as it relates to small-holder agriculture), environmental conservation, and health, and only funds organizations in developing countries. At the foundation, Sara manages the Rainer Arnhold Fellows Program -- a two-year fellowship that cultivates early-stage social entrepreneurs focused on high-impact solutions to poverty. She also manages Big Bang Philanthropy, a donor collaborative comprised of twelve foundations who all commit at least $1 million dollars a year to fund poverty alleviation innovations. The group shares leads, due diligence, and best practices, and tries to make the process simpler for the organizations on the ground.
Prior to working at the Mulago Foundation, Sara was an Associate at Village Capital, where she helped with their Atlanta program, and supported new initiatives like the Points of Light Civic Accelerator and the Clarkston refugee accelerator. In 2013, she transitioned to a new position at Emory's Goizueta Business School, where she worked as a Database Developer and Analyst to create a database that captures information from early-stage social enterprises.
Sara graduated from the University of San Diego (USD) with a B.A. in Political Science and minors in Psychology and Peace & Justice Studies in 2011, and a graduate degree (M.A.) from USD in Peace & Justice Studies with a focus on economic development in 2012.
Dive in to emerging theories & new strategies as both a delegate and a presenter. Participate in relevant, participant-driven explorations.
Bring your ideas, or build on context and conversations to pitch a new one. Promote them, receive feedback, or find resources.
Meet experts and up-and-comers, find clients and investors, foster new partnerships or explore existing coalition efforts.
RETHINK 2014 is made possible by the generosity of:
- Hatch Ltd
- TransCanada Corporation
- Engineers Canada
- Government of Ontario
- Ryerson University
- University of Toronto
- Sherritt International
- Pratt & Whitney Canada
- University of Waterloo
- General Electric
- Northland Power
- Ethical Bean Coffee
- Decal Industries
- Digital Rapids
- McGill University
- Golder Associates
- Lassonde School of Engineering
- Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada
Engineers Without Borders is looking for more partners. Interested?