THE RESPONSIBLE LEADERSHIP ISSUE
FALL 2017 • VOLUME 37 • NO 1
A MAGAZINE FOR ALUMNI AND FRIENDS OF THE UBC SAUDER SCHOOL OF BUSINESS
Finding True North How MEC chief trailblazer David Labistour and others lead the way
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The responsible leadership issue ALUMNI STORIES
Kerry Liu (BCom 2007) on the essential connection between technology and entrepreneurship
IN EVERY ISSUE
Viewpoints from the Dean
UBC Sauder Index
In Memoriam: Philip White (former dean)
passion what you are GOOD AT
what the world NEEDS
what you can be PAID FOR Ikigai (生き甲斐; pronounced “ick-ee-guy”) is a Japanese concept that generally means “a reason for being.” In Japanese culture and business, everyone has ikigai, also described as your reason for getting up in the morning. The concept, in many ways, describes values-driven work, and—by extension—leadership. The katakana characters might as well have been written on the sleeves of every person we talked to for this issue. Responsible leadership flips the idea: it has to be believed, to be seen. And when it’s there, it’s a pretty good reason to get up in the morning.
8 26 David Labistour was photographed by Martin Dee.
what you LOVE
Neekita Bhatia, 3rd year student, aims to make a difference, empowered by UBC Sauder’s Peter P. Dhillon Centre for Ethics
Hear. See. Speak. You’ll want to read what these CEOs say you need to do, and be, to be considered a responsible leader.
Innovation to change the world Maternal health, coffee leaves, mobility and a sea-to-table approach to fishing.
Light of Day Executive entrepreneur Christine Day preaches humility, connection and boldness.
firstname.lastname@example.org facebook.com/SauderAlumni twitter.com/UBCSauderSchool linkedin.com/edu/ubc-sauderschool-of-business-42195
Points of View Vancity’s Tamara Vrooman argues the words “responsible” and “leadership” cannot be separated.
VIEWPOINTS FALL 2017
VIEWPOINTS FROM THE DEAN
Responsible leadership from classroom to boardroom I have spent much of the past year discussing the vision and values of UBC Sauder with students, faculty, staff, alumni and our community partners. These conversations have crystalized for me the urgency of our mission: to educate responsible leaders who will improve business, drive innovation and generate prosperity for British Columbia and the world.
WHAT IS RESPONSIBLE LEADERSHIP, and why is it important? In the pages that follow you will hear answers to these questions from some remarkable leaders—Bev Briscoe, Peter Dhillon, Jim Gilliland, David Labistour, Sue Paish, Leigh Sauder and Liz Watson—each of whom has contributed to our community in important ways, and each of whom has a unique perspective on what leadership should look like in the 21st century. They all agree that responsible leaders must balance the interests of many stakeholders, including owners, employees, customers, suppliers, the community, the environment and even future generations. In this sense, responsible leaders are stewards of the people and resources that touch, or are touched by, an organization. It is also obvious that the responsible leaders interviewed in this edition of Viewpoints are pragmatic about the challenges and trade-offs that this complex opportunity entails. In the wise words of Mountain Equipment Co-op CEO David Labistour, responsible leadership is about making
FALL 2017 VIEWPOINTS
decisions and solving problems, taking “as much as possible into account.” Responsible leadership creates successful, sustainable and ethical organizations that can help contribute solutions to pressing social problems. Many of you, our alumni, are already invested in this path. And for students at UBC Sauder, the potential for the private and not-for-profit sectors to drive positive social change ignites their passion for business. In turn, their excitement and potential create a renewed sense of hope for the future for us all. I hope you enjoy this edition of Viewpoints. Please stay in touch. n
Robert Helsley, Dean GROSVENOR PROFESSOR OF CITIES, BUSINESS ECONOMICS AND PUBLIC POLICY
OUR MISSION FOR VIEWPOINTS
Viewpoints Magazine is designed to nurture dialogue and relationships with our alumni and friends by ensuring that you continue to enjoy the practical benefits of the school’s leading-edge business thinking. Viewpoints presents news, research and commentary that demonstrate the ability of our faculty and our graduates to define the future of business and to open doors for those who are connected to the UBC Sauder School of Business. Your thoughts about this mission are always welcome.
The UBC Sauder Index Years in term just renewed for Dean Robert Helsley at UBC Sauder: 5 Length of tenure for longest-serving business school dean in Canada: 29 years Number of degrees held by Dean Helsley: 3
email@example.com EDITORIAL Fiona Walsh acting editor-in-chief Jennifer Wah managing editor
DESIGN Brandon Brind creative director graphic designers: Deana De Ciccio, Karen Cowl
Per cent increase in most-requested course at business schools in Canada, business ethics, 2011–2016: 42 Per cent decline in requests for courses in e-business, 2011–2016: 30
PRODUCTION Spencer MacGillivray production manager
Viewpoints Magazine is produced by Forwords Communication Inc. and published by the UBC Sauder School of Business, University of British Columbia 2053 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z2 Tel: 604-822-8555, Fax: 604-822-0592. Viewpoints is published regularly for alumni and friends of the UBC Sauder School of Business. We welcome the submission of ideas and articles for possible publication in Viewpoints Magazine. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org For an online version of Viewpoints, visit sauder.ubc.ca. CHANGE OF ADDRESS Send change of address to Alumni Engagement Office, fax: 604-822-0592 or email to email@example.com ©Copyright 2017, UBC Sauder School of Business. Editorial material contained in Viewpoints Magazine may be freely reproduced provided credit is given. ISSN 089-2388. Canada Post. Printed in Canada. EDITORIAL BOARD Brad Gamble, Amadon Coletsis, Cecily Lawrenson, Jennifer Wah, Fiona Walsh and Bruce Wiesner CONTRIBUTORS Brenda Bouw, Sue Bugos, Amadon Coletsis, Mary Frances Hill, Allan Jenkins, Chris Lane, Spencer MacGillivray, Kabir Mathur, Jennifer Wah PUBLICATIONS MAIL AGREEMENT NO. 40063721 RETURN UNDELIVERABLE CANADIAN ADDRESSES TO ALUMNI ENGAGEMENT, UBC SAUDER SCHOOL OF BUSINESS, UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA, 1600 - 800 ROBSON STREET, VANCOUVER, BC V6Z 3B7
Membership in Vancity, headed by guest columnist Tamara Vrooman: 519,000 Membership in 1946 (year founded): 14 Company named Best Canadian Corporate Citizen in 2017: Vancity Membership in largest credit union in the world, Navy Federal: 5 million
Rank of Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) in a 2017 ranking by the UK-based Reputation Insitute of reputable global brands: 1 Fastest growing outdoor sport: off-road triathlons Percentage increase in participation in MEC CEO’s favourite sport growing up, windsurfing, in the past two years: 6 Year windsurfing introduced as an Olympic sport: 1984
Number of fishermen participating in community-supported fishery Skipper Otto’s fleet: 29 Percentage of Atlantic salmon that is farmed: 99 Percentage of Pacific salmon that is farmed: 20 Types of Pacific salmon most often caught in the wild: chinook, coho, chum, sockeye and pink Occurrence of white chinook salmon, prized by First Nations: 1 in 20
Sources: globeandmail.com, Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, washingtonpost.com, phitamerica.org, thespruce.com, adfg.alaska.gov, Wikipedia
VIEWPOINTS FALL 2017
UBC SAUDER FACULTY INSIDER INFORMATION
Dean Robert Helsley reappointed for five-year term
Two new graduate programs at UBC Sauder’s Robert H. Lee Graduate School
In July 2017, Dean Robert Helsley was reappointed for another five-year term. Dean Helsley’s innovative leadership has expanded the school’s programs and research reputation, increased diversity and transparency in governance, supported world-class research and teaching faculty, and introduced transformative programs and experiences for students. Congratulations, Dean Helsley! n
Rob Prowse tapped by Governor General to teach Canada’s future leaders UBC Sauder adjunct professor Rob Prowse shared his expertise in leadership development with a select group of Canadians participating in the Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference this past spring. n
UBC Sauder students and professor develop statistical software for UBC varsity golf team “Strokes gained” is a golf stats program that converts every shot a player takes and compares it to the PGA Tour average from an identical distance and terrain on the golf course. UBC Sauder student Gavin McQueenie took interest in the program—which is widely accepted in the golf community— and approached the UBC varsity golf team about the program’s potential. Along with UBC Sauder grad student Fridrik Karason, he built a website to input and analyze team statistics, including strokes gained, which has enabled players and coaches to identify player strengths and weaknesses, and change their practice accordingly. The website has been endorsed by UBC’s varsity coaches and has become a valuable tool for the team, with over 5,000 shots inputted to date. n
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UBC Sauder has launched new graduate programs: one is designed to meet the rapidly growing need for analytics professionals and the other to meet the busy lifestyles of individuals looking to advance their education and business expertise. In 2015, global consultants Accenture reported that more than 90 per cent of the 1,000 global companies they surveyed expected to increase their expertise in business analytics. A study by McKinsey estimated that by 2018, demand for analytics professionals in the United States will be 50 to 60 per cent greater than the projected supply. The Master of Business Analytics (MBAN) has been designed to meet the demand of these growing markets. Unique in Western Canada, the MBAN integrates a rigorous technical training in data and decision analytics with a deep understanding of business, from marketing to operations. It expands on the previously offered Master of Management in Operations Research, a small program averaging 15 students, which produced graduates who went on to work for leading brands like Boeing, Microsoft, Tesla Motors, Deloitte and EA Sports. The Professional MBA is designed around full-time work schedules with classes every two to three weekends, online exams, winter and summer breaks and three, eight-day Professional Residencies—all over the course of 24 months. Through collaborative course work and personalized career coaching, the Professional MBA is designed to build business acumen. Students will discover their leadership style, deepen their understanding of the inner workings of an organization and cultivate strategic thinking skills. n
Daniel Skarlicki recognized as leader in industrial and organizational psychology Daniel Skarlicki, professor of leadership development and strategic negotiation in the MBA program, has been named as a Fellow in the Society of Industrial and Organizational Psychology in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the field. The society is the foremost organization for those researching, practicing and teaching with the goal of improving organizational efficiency and workplace conditions. n
ACTUALS SEEN AND HEARD IN THE UBC SAUDER WORLD
Event highlights Vancouver CEO Breakfast with David Labistour, CEO of Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) The CEO Breakfast series continued this spring, featuring an intimate talk by David Labistour, CEO of Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC). Labistour brings both passion for outdoor adventure and extensive business experience to his position at MEC. His career started in product design and has, over the past 30 years, included product development, retail management and strategic planning with companies such as Adidas, Aritizia and a Marks & Spencer affiliate in South Africa. In his former capacity as senior manager of buying and design, Labistour was part of the Executive team that transformed the MEC brand, shaping its awardwinning recognition as Canada’s best omnichannel leader. n
Toronto How to tell a story that sells Alumni Career Services hosted a dynamic workshop in Toronto this May that helped participants advance their communications skills by teaching them how to craft a simple yet persuasive story that sells. Ivan Wanis Ruiz, a seasoned public speaking, communications and team building coach, hosted the session with an interactive and refreshing style of teaching. He has diverse experience working with various organizations including UBC Sauder, UBC, Ministry of Attorney General’s Office of BC, City of Toronto, Pan Am and Para Pan Am Games Torch Relays. Due to popular demand, this workshop is also being offered in Vancouver this fall. n
Vancouver Welcome Class of 2017! In May this year, 1,157 new graduates joined the thriving UBC Sauder alumni community and are now a part of over 40,000 alumni around the world. Graduates celebrated with their families and friends at the Robert H. Lee Alumni Centre in the heart of UBC’s Point Grey campus and enjoyed cupcakes, refreshments and a photo booth. n
Asia Events across Asia UBC Sauder Alumni Engagement hosted three events across Asia this spring, including the series Step into the Executive Suite, featuring prominent executives’ personal career journeys, laced with tips and lessons learned. Jason Ding, partner
at Bain & Company, spoke with alumni in Shanghai, and Ricky Lau, partner at TPG Capital, met with alumni in Hong Kong. Dean Robert Helsley also met with alumni in Singapore for an update on the school and networking reception. Keep your eyes open for future events near you. n VIEWPOINTS FALL 2017
ACTUALS SEEN AND HEARD IN THE UBC SAUDER WORLD
Leading international ranking places the UBC MBA among “Global Elite” THE MBA AT THE UBC SAUDER SCHOOL of Business’s Robert H. Lee Graduate School is one of only four Canadian programs to be recognized as a member of the “Global Elite” for the employability of its graduates and teaching and research excellence, according to the latest QS Global 250 Business Schools Report.Considered to be one of the most highly regarded analyses of business schools, the annual QS report identifies the top 250 full-time MBA programs around the world. Of these, 45 schools—just 22 in North America—were singled out in the Global Elite category, a designation determined by intensive surveys of global hiring managers and academics as well as research citations. n
Business Families Centre launches Family Business— Strategy Essentials course FAMILY BUSINESSES ARE THE MOST COMMON TYPE OF ENTERPRISE IN THE world and perhaps the most complex. This newly-launched online business and management course will introduce you to the unique skills and knowledge needed to manage and sustain healthy family enterprises. Core topics include strategy, leadership, conflict resolution, entrepreneurship and communication. Register online for free by searching “Business Strategy Essentials” on the UBC Sauder website. n
Financial Times ranks UBC Sauder in the top 50 worldwide for executive education
UBC Sauder expands career-focused courses for working professionals
POSITIVE FEEDBACK FROM EXECUTIVE CLIENTS HAS helped UBC Sauder Executive Education rank among the world’s best in the Financial Times for the sixth straight year. The trusted publication’s annual survey places the school among the globe’s top 50 providers of professional development programs for managers and senior leaders. Ranked at 44th in the world and 17th in North America, UBC Sauder is the only Canadian business school outside of Ontario included in the top 50. n
THIS JUNE, UBC SAUDER SCHOOL OF BUSINESS EXPANDED its range of professional development programs in the areas of digital communications, technology and project management when a number of business-related programs transferred to the school from UBC Continuing Studies. “The addition of these programs will allow the faculty to better meet the needs of young professionals engaged in a workforce that demands an ever-increasing set of applied business and digital skills,” said Robert Helsley, Dean of UBC Sauder. n
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The UBC entrepreneurship engine: How an MBA grad was equipped to potentially change the lives of millions A COUPLE OF YEARS AFTER completing his MBA, Manoj Singh returned to UBC in search of collaborators to start a new enterprise. He approached entrepreneurship@UBC (e@UBC), which offers mentorship, venture creation and seed funding, and helps connect businesspeople with research and innovation on campus. This eventually led to Acuva Technologies Inc. and the development of accessible water purification technology. The technology uses ultraviolet LED to destroy microorganisms in water, but what really sets it apart from other purification systems is that it requires very little power—so little, in fact, that it can operate on battery energy alone. It’s also portable, compact, requires virtually no maintenance and it doesn’t create waste or harm the environment. “I spent the first 15 years of my life in rural India, and have gone through the challenges of accessing clean drinking water, and infrastructure issues. All those things you read in textbooks, I have experienced them myself,” says Singh, who weaves social responsibility into all of his business pursuits. He plans to make clean drinking water accessible across off-grid areas in China, India and other areas of Asia and Africa. n
Online engagement recap: UBC Sauder Love
THIS FEBRUARY, UBC SAUDER LOVE returned for a second year of celebrating relationships that started at UBC. We reached out to alumni around the world to share stories of love—be it romantic or friendly—and lucky participants won a fancy dinner at their favourite restaurant. Congratulations to this year’s winners, Jeffrey and Ruth Fraser! Read their story and more under “UBC Sauder Love” on our website, and keep an eye on the UBC Sauder Alumni Facebook page and Sauder Square for more opportunities to participate. n
BCom grads transform their business dreams into virtual reality FROM THE REALITIES OF BUSINESS SCHOOL TO the world of virtual reality, Charlie Shi and his partner Alexander Chua have used their experience from the BCom program to open a business like no other in the Lower Mainland: Univrs, Vancouver’s first virtual reality gaming lounge. “I’ve always been an ardent follower of the gaming and technology industries, so I knew there was a definite demand for virtual reality in the Lower Mainland,” explained Shi. “There are a handful of virtual reality lounges in North America, but we decided to draw some inspiration from Asia, where the trend has really exploded,” explained Shi. “Asian lounges have a sophisticated atmosphere that guides users through the VR experience. Alex and I saw some definite parallels between that market and Vancouver, where we could also cater to a young, tech-focused market.” You can find Univrs in Richmond, BC. n
VIEWPOINTS FALL 2017
FINDING TRUE NORTH
Hear. See. Speak.
Three leaders reveal how good leadership and transparency triumphs
8 FALL 2017 VIEWPOINTS Sue Paish, CEO, LifeLabs
David Labistour, CEO, MEC
Responsible leadership is about making business decisions that equally balance the interests of the shareholders with the interests of all other stakeholders, such as workers, clients, suppliers, the environment, the community and future generations.
DAN SKARLICKI JENNIFER WAH photos by MARTIN DEE introduction by interviews by
UPHEAVAL: EVERYTHING FEELS A LITTLE DIFFERENT these days. There is crisis in most every headline, it seems, and our long-held assumptions about how and why business functions are being challenged. Who’s to blame? Many believe that government policies and enforcement are the right response to unethical behaviour and threats to our environment. Regulation and compliance, however, does not appear to be a realistic solution; avoiding prosecution is not the same as taking responsibility for positive change. Moreover, trust in business and government has hit historic lows. We all own this now. Responsible leadership refers to going beyond just the financial goals of the company. Rather, it has been defined as a coalescence of stakeholders, often led by business leaders, aimed at finding solutions to problems facing communities and societies. Responsible leadership is multifaceted, requiring awareness, vision, imagination, responsibility and action from business leaders. An essential element of UBC Sauder’s mandate is to foster responsible leadership among our many stakeholders. This demand comes not only from the students who enlist in our programs, but from the companies that hire them and the leaders who are striving to make positive contributions to our world. To explore this, we posed a series of questions to three CEOs: David Labistour (Mountain Equipment Coop), Sue Paish (Lifelabs), and Jim Gilliland (Leith Wheeler) who generously shared their perspectives with us. (Spoiler alert: It’s about transparency— seeing, hearing and speaking up as a leader.) These organizations represent very different sectors, each with their own distinct goals and purposes. We hope their thoughts will help student and alumni readers better understand responsible leadership, and take inspiration for professional choices. Read on to learn how leaders in the UBC Sauder community define and execute responsible leadership.
Jim Gilliland, CEO, Leith Wheeler
VIEWPOINTS FALL 2017
FINDING TRUE NORTH “I believe we all need purpose and value in life. Victor Frankl wrote of how people seek meaning in three ways: Being of value or utility by creating a work or doing a deed; through passion or love; and by the attitude we take toward unavoidable suffering.” – David Labistour, CEO, MEC
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David Labistour CEO, Mountain Equipment Co-op Labistour is MEC’s first CEO to have been appointed from within the 46-year-old organization. In his former capacity as senior manager of buying and design, Labistour was part of the executive team that transformed the MEC brand while encompassing sustainability initiatives operationwide. Labistour’s 30-year passion for combining activity with impact on people and communities has included product development, retail management and strategic planning with companies such as Adidas, Aritiza and a Marks & Spencer affiliate in South Africa. In his free time, Labistour enjoys a range of outdoor activities including backcountry skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking and kite surfing, best of all with his wife Lianne and sons Liam, 21 and Felix, 12. Q: How do you define responsible leadership? A: When everyone in an organization is aligned with its purpose; when we understand and amplify our positive impacts and mitigate the negative—that’s responsible leadership. It’s trying to understand the bigger picture. For example, when we select fabrics our buyers do not just look at quality, performance and price, but they consider the ecological footprint and toxicity of the product and the environment in which it was made.
Q: Can you provide an example or two of responsible leadership at your organization?
A: Our purpose is to get people active; get people outside. We know that Canadians are not active enough. There is plenty of research that proves the value of an active lifestyle and spending time outdoors. Active people are healthier; active kids learn better. An interesting result of urban densification is the erosion of community, and recreation is a great community builder. We don’t just sell stuff. We put effort and money into motivating and helping people get active and outside. The biggest decline in activity is when people leave the organized sports environment of their school years, so we have chosen to invest in youth at that point in their lives. We believe this is where the biggest need lies.
Q: Looking ahead, how do you see social responsibility and responsible leadership evolving and changing? What might we measure in five years that we don’t now? A: I see responsible leaders looking at the big picture and being able to balance the tension of all stakeholders—customers, staff, supply chain ecology and the shareholders. Technology is fundamentally changing our world. Not only will we have more data to build knowledge, but we will have tracking that will reduce the opacity of supply chains and allow for greater transparency to the business and consumers.
Q: What are some of the challenges you see in leading with both responsiblity and a social conscience?
A: We have to be brutally honest with ourselves and acknowledge that most consumers, for all their desire to have cleaner, more ethical brands and products, will still be motivated by price and convenience. We have to figure out how to deliver everything and still remain financially viable.
Q: How best can schools, communities and organizations help build responsible leaders? A: A missing piece in our education system is teaching the ability to think in systems; giving people the ability to connect the dots. I’d like to see more of that. I also believe that educational institutions and governments are struggling to keep pace with the rate of change. This puts more onus and cost on business. The institutions and businesses that figure out how to anticipate and get out ahead will have an advantage.
Q: What inspired you to embrace responsible leadership? A: I worked for Adidas in South Africa during apartheid, and was taken with the company’s approach of engagement, over disengagement; their decision to invest in the disenfranchised, and to use sport and recreation as a vehicle for change. I also lived through one of the most remarkable transitions, overseen by some of the most gracious and thoughtful leaders in modern human history. Before that, I served in active combat in what was then known as the Angolan War, which really was part of the Cold War. I learned a lot of leadership in that experience as a 19-year-old lieutenant. You learn to have the courage to make decisions that affect people’s lives. You have to do it. You have to make good decisions with imperfect information. So, to me, responsible leadership isn’t an ideology; it’s about problem-solving and decision-making in ways that take as much as possible into account. I’m fortunate to have had a few Forrest Gump moments in life, but I’m still as pragmatic as the day is long. VIEWPOINTS FALL 2017
FINDING TRUE NORTH
Sue Paish (BCom 1981) CEO, LifeLabs As CEO, Paish leads nearly 5,400 professionally trained staff at LifeLabs who deliver more than 100 million laboratory tests and results, serving 19 million patients annually. Prior to joining LifeLabs, Paish led Pharmasave Drugs (National) Ltd.—a position that she held following a successful career practising law and managing an international law practice. Paish was the managing partner of Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP in British Columbia, where she led the growth of the firm from one office to an international presence of nine offices on three continents. Q: How do you define responsible leadership? A: “Responsible leadership” requires that the interests of multiple stakeholders be balanced. Through balancing the interests and expectations of shareholders/owners, employees, customers, communities, the environment, suppliers and future generations, today’s businesses will both meet the needs of current and future generations and will be in the best position to grow, thrive and excel.
Q: How is responsible leadership manifested at your organization? A: LifeLabs prides itself on being an organization founded on principles of responsible leadership. A few examples of this include: • My eHealth: Canada’s health care system is transforming from a system that focused almost exclusively on treating Canadians when they are ill or injured, to a system where Canadians can obtain support and services to stay healthy and live in their communities with a high quality of life. In order for Canadians to make decisions that will maintain their health, they need information. LifeLabs is proud to be the first lab to provide Canadians with direct online access to their lab test results through a unique patient portal that has seen more than 15,000 Canadians per week sign up since it launched. • Comprehensive Drug Analysis: British Columbia is in the grip of a public health emergency as a result of rampant distribution of illicit fentanyl and other deviant drugs of abuse. Four British Columbians are dying every day from these drugs. Until this year, it was extremely difficult for front line doctors to determine whether their patient was using illicit drugs and if so which ones. This information is critical to developing proper treatment for patients. The LifeLabs medical and scientific team developed a continentleading technology through which more than 150 drugs of abuse can be identified from a single sample with results delivered quickly and with exceptional accuracy. In addition, LifeLabs has been providing weekly reports to senior health officials, law enforcement, the medical community and social services identifying the prevalence and locations in BC of critically dangerous drugs such as carfentanil. These two elements of the Comprehensive Drug Analysis materially change a doctor’s ability to advise patients while also helping patients, families and communities as we find a path through the current crisis. 12
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Q: Looking ahead, how do you see social responsibility and responsible leadership evolving and changing? What might we measure in five years that we don’t now? A: The expectations of business to be responsible in a holistic context will continue to deepen and broaden. It is apparent already that businesses that fail to focus on sustainable practices, the needs of employees and supporting the communities where they operate, will have a harder time attracting and retaining the best talent—the foundation of every company’s success. Environmentally sustainable practices may become a more central focus in the future than what we see now, and reportable KPIs relative to sustainable practices could become the norm.
Q: With that balance in mind, what are some of the challenges you face in leadership?
A: I have found very strong support for the concept of responsible leadership. However, some programs and practices are expensive. LifeLabs is ultimately owned by over 450,000 pensioners and their families. These are people who provided important community service during their working years and now rely on the returns that companies such as LifeLabs produce, to fund their pensions. I must always keep our pensioners in mind when I make any decision that could in any way impact our ability to meet our commitment to our pensioners.
Q: How best can schools, communities and organizations help build responsible leaders? A: In many ways, I think that our children and their friends are ahead of many of today’s leaders in understanding the importance of responsible leadership. However, the altruism of youth needs to be balanced with the practical realities facing operating companies. One of the best ways [to emphasize] the principles of responsible leadership, and the importance of balancing these with the more embedded expectations respecting financial performance, is to bring students and business leaders together for discussions, sharing and debate.
Q: What inspired you to embrace responsible leadership? A: Everything I do in my life focuses on building communities for my children and others in their generation. This can only happen with a holistic approach to business and community leadership.
“If you’re not happy, what are you? I’ve found in life and in leadership that if you know your values, decision making is actually quite easy. If we give ourselves permission to define and live by our values, there is nothing we can’t do.” – Sue Paish, CEO, LifeLabs
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FINDING TRUE NORTH
“Many of today’s grads are looking for a greater purpose—integrating a social conscience into their life and career right from the start. That’s a desirable aspect of a potential hire for us.” – Jim Gilliland, CEO, Leith Wheeler
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Jim Gilliland (BCom 1993) President and CEO, Leith Wheeler Gilliland joined Leith Wheeler in 2009. He has extensive investment experience in Canadian and US fixed income markets through his time with HSBC Asset Management/M.K. Wong & Associates in Vancouver (1993–2001) and Barclays Global Investors in San Francisco (2002–2009). After his work at HSBC, Gilliland earned his master’s degree in financial engineering at the University of California, Berkeley. Gilliland holds a chartered financial analyst designation, leads Leith Wheeler’s bond team, chairs the company’s portfolio review committee and is the head of fixed income. Gilliland chairs UBC Sauder’s Faculty Advisory Board. Q: How do you define responsible leadership? A: A key component of responsible leadership is not only making business decisions that balance the interests of stakeholders but also communicating those decisions effectively to stakeholders. No individual decision can be made in a vacuum and only through engagement and communication can leaders fully incorporate other points of view. This requires a willingness to provide a high level of transparency over business conduct as well as social and environmentally sensitive decisions.
Q: How is responsible leadership manifested at your organization? A: One element of responsible leadership involves how our firm makes investment decisions. When we invest in companies on behalf of clients, we look for responsible leaders. We believe companies that conduct their business in a responsible way are more likely to deliver value over the long term. As an example, one aspect we have always focused on is the safety of workers. For companies in the energy, materials and industrials sectors in particular, we want to see management teams making the safety of their workers a top priority. We strongly believe that workers have the right to go home safely at the end of the day. Companies that are leaders in this area recognize that the pursuit of safety also makes good business sense as poor safety becomes a cost, not only regarding claims and insurance premiums, but also in terms of attracting skilled workers in a competitive environment.
Q: Looking ahead, how do you see social responsibility and responsible leadership evolving and changing? What might we measure in five years that we don’t now? A: A clear trend over the next five years will be toward increased disclosure and higher standards for all corporations. There are a growing number of organizations working toward the same goal of improved environment, social and governance disclosures. From an investor perspective, this reporting burden makes it challenging to compare two companies that might report to different standards. It would seem like the next step is consolidation and consistency in the reporting stands, which will allow investors to measure and compare the sustainability practices across different companies.
Q: With that balance in mind, what are some of the challenges you face in leadership? A: The most significant challenge in incorporating responsible leadership metrics in an investment process is that standards of disclosure are still quite varied. This will improve over time as companies embrace better and more comparable disclosures.
Q: How best can schools, communities and organizations help build responsible leaders?
A: In building responsible leaders more generally, I think it’s important to embrace the idea that responsible leadership does not need to be purely altruistic and in competition with financial considerations. This requires a willingness to engage in longterm thinking and perspective-taking. The more that investors, shareholders and business leaders can focus on a longer time horizon, the better aligned their business decisions become with a broader set of stakeholders. On the education side, and in my work with UBC Sauder’s Faculty Advisory Board, I have come to know the leadership Dean Helsley has provided in promoting the core values of UBC Sauder business education: rigour, respect and responsibility. Business education needs to be much broader than simply maximizing shareholder wealth. Schools can help through teaching how important values are not only in a student’s business education but also in the business career that follows.
Q: What inspired you to embrace responsible leadership? A: I believe that the financial crisis in 2008 was a wake-up call for all financial leaders to consider their role in responsible leadership. Financial analysts need to consider not only the financial condition of a particular asset but also how their investment actions may contribute to the ultimate benefit of society. An organization such as the CFA Institute has fully embraced this concept in its mission and vision statements. I feel strongly that the more financial leaders can recognize their wider impact on society, the better balance they can provide for a broader set of stakeholders.
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FINDING TRUE NORTH
Govern with intent
Boardroom expert Liz Watson on the ethics of governing CORPORATE SCANDALS, SUCH AS ENRON IN 2001 AND THE fallout from the 2007–2008 financial crisis, were a wake-up call in many boardrooms, says Liz Watson, CEO of WATSON, a governance consultancy. “Whereas boards once were relatively passive, hiring and firing the CEO and approving strategy, directors increasingly began to sense that responsible leadership meant taking a far more active role in organizational leadership.” Watson sees three main areas where directors are rolling up their sleeves to ensure the success of their organizations.
Strategy development First, boards are becoming more active in the development of strategy. Strategy development is increasingly a combined collaborative effort, one led by managers but with significant input from the board. This ensures boards “own” the strategies they approve.
Risk management Second, boards realize they must exercise oversight over risk management. They must understand risk, and understand the management systems and practices the organization uses to manage risk—and be satisfied those systems are working.
Leadership development Third, boards increasingly recognize the importance of putting significant focus and effort on developing leadership talent. Boards are: • Taking a more hands-on role in ensuring competent leadership now and in the future (succession planning). In doing so, they seek better understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the CEO and management team. “Boards need to know what the leadership bench is, and how to improve it,” notes Watson. • Seeking better understanding of their own strengths and weaknesses, both as a group and as individual directors. • Focusing more closely on the conversations they should be having as a board, especially by correctly identifying the issues that require their attention. “Boards and directors must work with intention. The topics they discuss cannot be random,” Watson says.
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Watson also believes boards must recognize that their organizations are significantly affected by the quality of their culture, where ethics, communication and engagement come into play. “A positive culture keeps the organization ethical, happy and productive,” she notes. n
Liz Watson, President and CEO of WATSON, has more than 30 years of experience as a lawyer and more than a decade as a leading advisor to boards, committees and CEOs. Watson advises clients on governance, leadership recruitment and succession, board practices, governance training and leadership evaluations. She holds an LLB from UBC.
Learning for leaders Courses tailored for executive life THE FINANCIAL TIMES (FT) RANKS UBC SAUDER Executive Education 44th in the world and 17th in North America in its annual survey of professional development providers. UBC Sauder is the only Canadian business school outside of Ontario included in the top 50. “The executive education sector is exceptionally competitive with new global players joining the market and technology driving rapid change,” says Bruce Wiesner, associate dean of executive education. “Our continued ascent among the world’s top schools in this FT ranking reassures us we’re meeting this mission.” UBC Sauder’s offerings are all aimed at practical learning in an interactive setting.
Intensive learning. Thought leadership. Meeting the Leadership Challenge is one course. Over six days, senior managers and executives from different industries hone their leadership potential and learn to leverage it. This course uses case studies, group projects, experiential activities and lectures, and is taught by global thought leaders. The program is delivered “in residence” at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver. The idea is that having students live and work together under one roof helps them absorb new ideas away from daily office pressures and participate fully in the program experience.
Discovering the inner leader. Kam Mokha, a recent graduate of Meeting the Leadership Challenge and a branch manager at G&F Financial Group (G&F), had reached a position where his leadership style mattered. With staff looking to him for coaching and vision, he decided it was time to make leadership a priority.
Not your boss’s classroom (or yours): UBC Sauder Executive Education participants are coached through leadership development with real-life case studies.
“I’m good with people, but I wanted to harness that skill and use it strategically, to become a leader who thinks clearly, doesn’t take issues personally and finds constructive solutions.” Diane Sullivan, vice president human resources at G&F, approached him about taking the Meeting the Leadership Challenge course. “We send people every year to leadership courses at UBC Sauder because we know the benefits are substantial,” says Sullivan. Mokha had readied himself to be lectured to, but found the course a deeply interpersonal and interactive learning experience. “The instructor was extraordinarily engaging and had real skill in delivering information in a way that felt actionable. It was surprising how personal this was for everyone in the class,” he says. Small group workshops helped participants get to know each other on a
deeper level, says Mokha, and this made it easier for him to open up about struggles with certain aspects of management. “I met people from all over the world in this course and we talked about everything from our fears, to negotiation tactics, to ways we could improve our people skills,” he says. “You realize you’re not alone in a lot of these issues because—despite what business you’re in—you realize we’re all in the human business and that it’s all about managing relationships.” Mokha says his relationships with colleagues and employees have seen substantial benefits. Sullivan agrees. “The results from Kam were phenomenal,” says Sullivan. “We always knew he was a great leader, but this course really took those skills to a new level. “From the employer standpoint, it’s been a very good return for G&F.” n
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PETER P. DHILLON CENTRE FOR BUSINESS ETHICS
Peter Dhillon is the first nonAmerican and youngest-ever person named as chair of Ocean Spray Cranberries, a co-operative owned by 700 cranberry farmers in North America and Chile. With farming in his family DNA, Dhillonâ€™s philanthropy has planted an essential seed with the establishment of a centre for business ethics at UBC Sauder. 18
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starts in the classroom The Peter P. Dhillon Centre for Business Ethics was set up to support the study, teaching and promotion of valuesdriven business practices. Dhillon aims to make UBC Sauder a world-leading resource for business ethics.
EEKITA BHATIA ISN’T LOOKING FOR JUST ANY JOB when she graduates from UBC Sauder with a degree in business and computer science. The third-year student, now doing a co-op term at a Vancouver-based financial technology company, wants to work for an organization that does well financially—and for the community around it. “I want to be in a role where everyone isn’t just driven by profit, but also facilitates building the ecosystem around them, growing the industry together,” says Bhatia. That includes doing the right thing for its customers, employees and the community, as well as shareholders. Bhatia’s career goals are empowered by her work with the Peter P. Dhillon Centre for Business Ethics, which was established in 2015 as a resource for students and the business community to create a leading global voice in the application of ethical perspectives in business. Bhatia is among the first batch of students to participate in the Dhillon Centre’s activities, including its Philanthropy Program and Chartered Financial Analysts’ Ethics Challenge, where her team won the provincial competition and advanced to nationals. Bhatia has also worked as an academic assistant at the Dhillon Centre, which helps her earn a bit of income as she finishes her education.
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PETER P. DHILLON CENTRE FOR BUSINESS ETHICS Dhillon, who has a long history of providing generous donations to UBC, says his goal is for the Dhillon Centre to become a model that inspires other universities to teach students the value of ethics in business. The Dhillon Centre, which started operating in the spring of 2016, takes a comprehensive approach to the study, teaching and promotion of business ethics. “I want to see UBC Sauder become the world leader in business ethics,” says Dhillon. “I think there’s a real opportunity to do this. As we move forward, business ethics and responsible leadership will become more and more relevant.” Its relevance today is evident in the numerous headlines highlighting irresponsible moves by business leaders around the world. “It still shocks me today when I read the news and hear how companies can get themselves offside,” Dhillon says. “Too many businesses today focus on the bottom line. If we want to be responsible business leaders, we have to begin thinking about other ways to start building respect, trust and integrity with the public.” Third-year student Neekita Bhatia and her team competed nationally in the Chartered Financial Analysts’ Ethics Challenge, with support from the school’s Dhillon Centre for Business Ethics.
Her experiences at the Dhillon Centre so far have opened her eyes to the challenges and complexity of responsible leadership— and underscore why doing the right thing is critical to a company’s long-term sustainability. “Talking about ethics in the abstract is easy,” says Bhatia. “Actually seeing how those decisions play out in a real setting with real people is a lot different. To me, responsible leadership is understanding how the decisions you make impact the people and world around you.”
The next generation of responsible leaders It’s the strong values and optimistic outlook of students like Bhatia that inspires Peter Dhillon, a UBC alumnus and CEO of the Richberry Group of Companies, a national agribusiness enterprise, who helped establish the Dhillon Centre under his name. “Each time I go to UBC Sauder and have the opportunity to talk to some of the students, I see the values they possess, which are both unique and exciting,” says Dhillon, who partnered with UBC Sauder to put forward $7.5 million in funding to create the Dhillon Centre. Its four key areas of focus include student engagement, helping to shape curriculum, building a deeper connection with the business community and developing research in business ethics and responsible leadership. “If given the tools, it’s my belief that this generation graduating today will shape the world to make it more of a responsible place,” says Dhillon. “I can see it in their eyes.”
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Educating students and business to do better for society Interest in the Dhillon Centre is gaining momentum among students and the business community, says Christie Stephenson, the centre’s executive director. Organizations from a wide range of industries, such as technology, financial services and natural resources, are reaching out to try to enhance their responsible leadership resources and practices. “There is definitely a trajectory within business toward greater responsibility,” says Stephenson. “Stakeholders are making it clear they expect more responsibility from business—and businesses are listening.” The change is being driven in large part by shareholders who want to see companies improve their environmental, social With a background in finance, politics, the non-profit sector and government, Christie Stephenson now heads up UBC Sauder’s Dhillon Centre.
and governance (ESG) performance. It’s not only the right thing to do for society but also reduces investment risk. For instance, shareholders are seeking more diversity in the workplace, on boards and in executive roles. They also want assurances that companies they invest in are working to reduce their environmental footprint, and that they’re treating employees well. A recent report from the Responsible Investment Association, sponsored by OceanRock Investments Inc., shows more than three-quarters of Canadian investors are interested in responsible investments that incorporate ESG issues—and believe they make better long-term investments. “Businesses are scrambling to figure out what it means to be a good corporate citizen,” says Stephenson. “They’re saying, ‘If investors are evaluating my environmental, social and governance performance, or it’s driving the kind of workforce I can attract, then I need to know more about it.’ They want a good handle on the risks and the opportunities.” There are also increased expectations from consumers and employees who are using open forums on digital and social media to demand more from organizations. “It’s becoming increasingly difficult to get away with not doing the right thing,” says Stephenson. “You can’t hide anymore.” Students are drawn to the Dhillon Centre for its resources, which include not just the Philanthropy Program and various career events, but also executive speakers from companies across North America. The Dhillon Centre hosted Greg Shell, managing director of Bain Capital in Boston, for a two-day visit in December 2016. Shell sits on the board of the Boston Foundation and is a founding board member of Compass Working Capital, a growth non-profit that is focused on family self-sufficiency. The Dhillon Centre is also actively connecting with alumni to come in and speak, help coach students, or to be mentors. “The Dhillon Centre is yet another way that UBC Sauder alumni can continue to have meaningful connections with the school,” Stephenson says. “Those that are interested in inspiring students to follow a career path that combines their personal values with great career opportunities, we are interested in connecting with.” In general, Stephenson says UBC Sauder students are looking for a well-rounded education that includes resources on how to build careers that allow them to do well financially and for the world around them. “They don’t see a business degree as just having a career and making money and financial success,” says Stephenson. “Many of them see business as a tool for professional and personal fulfillment—and for making the world a better place.”
Responsible leadership = long-term value creation Business schools can and should play a role in educating the next generation of leaders to act ethically and responsibly, says Bev Briscoe, an accomplished executive and member of the Dhillon Centre’s advisory board.
Mentor to mentors: Bev Briscoe has been bringing along responsible leaders for as long as she’s been working. Being one of 13 recognized business leaders on the Dhillon Centre’s advisory board is a natural fit.
“The more we can get people thinking and talking about what responsible business leadership looks like, just having that conversation, the world starts getting better,” says Briscoe, who is also lead director on the board of Vancouver-based Goldcorp and chair of the board of Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers. “The Dhillon Centre is in a unique position to help do that. It can affect the way people think.” Briscoe says the Dhillon Centre can also help address cynicism around responsible leadership, including a belief that companies will do the right thing up until the point when it starts to negatively impact the bottom line. “In business, ethics are tested all of the time,” Briscoe says. “It is surprising how many times you have to sit back and figure out what the right thing to do is. There’s not always an easy answer. You make trade-offs and judgments all of the time. To do the right thing, you have to make sure you have an ethical foundation.” While responsible leadership doesn’t always maximize short-term profit, Briscoe says leaders need to focus on the long term. “You have to believe that being socially responsible creates long-term value for all stakeholders—whether it’s our community, our kids, our shareholders or our employees. If you don’t, it will be hard to stay in the game,” Briscoe says. “We need to have the appropriate level of skepticism, but also the appropriate level of positive energy to create and support responsible leadership. My belief is that long-term value creation comes out of responsible business practices.” n
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CREATIVE DESTRUCTION LAB An autonomous robot developed by Ecoation works to detect plant stress inside this tomato greenhouse in Chilliwack, BC. It’s one example of an idea developed with support from UBC Sauder’s Creative Destruction Lab (CDL)-West program, which includes mentorship from the likes of Jeff Mallet, former COO of Yahoo and Colin Harris, founder of PMC Sierra.
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Rewarding returns Disruptive tech start-ups create global gains financially and socially with help from the Creative Destruction Lab by
This summer in the wake of political responses to highly charged social situations, high-profile CEO-whisperer Alan Fleischmann told the New York Times: “For a long time, corporate social responsibility was a buzzword marketing tool, walled off within an organization. Now it has to be central for the CEO, part of their everyday responsibility and leadership.” SO HOW DOES A SENTIMENT LIKE THAT PLAY OUT IN THE FAST PACED AND HIGHLY competitive world of early stage tech start-ups? For Saber Miresmailli, founder and CEO of Ecoation Innovative Solutions, social responsiblity is an inherent part of daily business as he takes action to change the world through a growing venture like Ecoation. He does so with support from the UBC Sauder-based Creative Destruction Lab (CDL), where he and other entrepreneurs formed the first cohort to go through CDL-West. Miresmailli developed a technology that uses artificial intelligence to identify plant stress in
greenhouses much earlier than ever before, enabling growers to literally deal with the root cause of a problem before it grows. This leads to reduced use of pesticides, greater crop yields and ultimately cleaner, more abundant and more accessible food for consumers. “We are essentially creating a ‘centre for disease control’ for plants,” he explains, and gratefully attributes the idea for that analogy to one of his CDL mentors. VIEWPOINTS FALL 2017
CREATIVE DESTRUCTION LAB
“ I asked Ajay why he was doing this (CDL) given that he is a busy researcher and educator, and he told me ‘It’s about the future of a post natural-resource Canadian economy and society.’ I was hooked, and I told him I believed in the mission and that I wanted to partner with him.” – Paul Cubbon
Profits and public interest can coexist
A new way of pushing tech start-ups to thrive The Creative Destruction Lab (CDL) is an early-stage, milestonebased, seed investment program for massively scalable disruptive technologies. It was founded five years ago by University of Toronto Rotman professor Ajay Agrawal, who completed his PhD at UBC Sauder in the mid ‘90s. In Vancouver, UBC Sauder professor Paul Cubbon leads the CDL-West program. “I was hooked,” says Cubbon. “I told him I believed in the mission and that I wanted to partner with him.” With an industry background and extensive experience as an entrepreneurship professor at UBC Sauder, Cubbon is keen to see the rapid creation of more high impact companies. He was impressed by Agrawal’s program so he brought the right people together to secure a formal five year partnership between the universities and start CDL-West. He also worked diligently to bring the right people on board as founders and, most importantly, mentors to the start-ups. Mentors include the former COO of Yahoo and the founder of PMC Sierra. The nine-month program is made up of five one-day sessions, with eight weeks between sessions. During these sessions, mentors assess progress and help define three clear objectives to be achieved by the next session. “We began this cohort with 25 start-ups and right now there are 13 left. It is a cutting program that focuses resources on the ventures that are making the most progress. It does not mean the other ventures won’t succeed, but the CDL focus is on those moving the fastest with CDL help,” explains Cubbon.
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He doesn’t hesitate to emphasize that CDL actually embodies the idea of responsible leadership itself. The highly successful mentors (known as the G7), volunteer about 10 days per year sharing their wisdom and experience to help the ventures move forward. “There are other ways these people could invest in tech start-ups without putting all this time to help young scientists with exciting tech take unreasonable bets on helping society, but they choose to do this. And university science is typically that—attempts to better humankind, human health and the natural environment. This all seems like responsible leadership epitomized,” he adds. It is responsible leadership that also aims to inject an incredible boost to the Canadian economy. CDL has an ambitious target of achieving $100 billion in equity value by 2027, with CDL-West planning to generate $20 billion of that sum. They are already well on their way.
“ CDL exists to take science out of the laboratories and into business to positively impact the human condition. Most of the accepted ventures exist to leave a lasting legacy for the world and provide positive social impact.” – Darrell Kopke Miresmailli also touts the importance of inherent responsible leadership in tech start-ups. “I think each leader needs to define that term in the context of their own sphere of influence; in my case, we are talking about food safety and security,” he explains. “My team realizes we can have a global impact in democratizing food quality for all. My role in shepherding that through our company and supporting global organizations that share our vision is key to making that happen. The fact that CDL exists and these people are demonstrating how to do good in the world is really important for fostering responsible entrepreneurs of the future.”
UBC Sauder entrepreneurship training is applied and makes an impact With that focus on the future in mind, student involvement is a key asset of CDL. “One of the core raisons d’être of CDL is to enhance entrepreneurship pedagogy by integrating students into
“My father had incredible moral fibre and integrity in all of his business dealings, and heart and compassion is entirely my mother. The Creative Destruction Lab has those qualities inherent within it. I like that our family’s name can be connected with that. It speaks well of our future leaders.” – Leigh Sauder
live start-up ventures. Students can see the results of their work in a real start-up, so learning is experiential and impactful,” says Darrell Kopke (MBA ‘01), an entrepreneurial business leader (and original member of the lululemon executive team) who was hired by Cubbon for the CDL-West leadership team. He teaches related undergraduate and MBA level courses at UBC Sauder and also serves as COO for CDL in Toronto. One of those students is Paras Sharma, a former neuroscientist and consultant who is currently completing his MBA at UBC Sauder. He successfully obtained a coveted summer internship with CDL, “This is a very challenging opportunity, and I love it!” he says. He manages nine of the start-ups and works specifically on business issues with three ventures. “For Ecoation, I completed research to identify resources and market opportunities to support one of their objectives,” says Sharma. “It was actually unnerving to realize that with a disruptive technology there is no safety net; you have to figure things out and become the expert yourself. I have learned so much and have also found the opportunity to observe the CDL sessions with the mentors to be incredible.” In turn, Miresmailli says his company benefitted from how Sharma became invested in their vision and how he went the extra mile to contribute.
Creating economic and social value with integrity and humble ambition Leigh Sauder, an entrepreneur and daughter of the school’s namesake Bill Sauder, is very selective about the organizations with which she associates, ensuring their values match her passion for social impact and providing solid social value within their operations. So she wasn’t quite sure what to expect when invited to her first CDL experience. She says, “I was pleasantly surprised by the social impact opportunities created and encouraged by CDL. The idea of creating employment, of these superstar entrepreneurs who are committed to paying it forward through volunteering their time and expertise, and the inherent value of the social impact in several of the tech ventures themselves really interested me,” she says. As a CDL-West founder who has supported the program financially, Sauder was impressed that one session attended by both mentors and the start-ups focused on the topic of humility. “I was
really struck by the deliberate inclusion of that in the program and the discussion it generated. Everyone there really seemed to take it to heart, and the mentors themselves are great examples of people who have a lot of reasons to have big egos but don’t.” Sharma adds, “The collegial network of expertise in the room is staggering. CDL is an amazing blend of altruistic philanthropy and business mentorship, which always seems to be directed toward thinking about how the end customer will benefit from that venture.” “Just to be in the same room with the mentors and their collective wisdom is incredible—I call them the humble millionaires. They are sitting in front of you in their t-shirts and jeans talking about business and having been where you are; it gives you a feeling of ‘I can do it!’ Canada really is the best place on earth for entrepreneurs right now,” says Miresmailli. Sauder says that a speaker at a recent UBC Sauder commencement address pointed to the importance of creating business leaders with integrity, heart and compassion. “My father had an incredible moral fibre and integrity in all of his business dealings, and the heart and compassion that speaker discussed is entirely my mother. I think that CDL, while it is a strongly businessfocused program demonstrating incredible economic potential, has those qualities inherent within it. And I like that our family’s name can be connected with that. It speaks well of our future leaders,” she says thoughtfully. Through a proven method of taking high-potential start-ups and supporting them to accelerate development towards high growth companies, with the view of making the world a better place, CDL-West is demonstrating its worth in more ways than one. n
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COAST CAPITAL SAVINGS INNOVATION HUB
If you build it,
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they will come by ALLAN
feature photos by
Four social entrepreneurs credit UBC Sauderâ€™s Coast Capital Savings Innovation Hub for their successes
Q: What do four forward-thinking, globally enlightened leaders have in common with each other, and with the UBC Sauder School of Business?
A: The Coast Capital Savings Innovation Hub (CCS iHub)â€”a program for enterprises that want to embrace social innovation using business models that benefit society. The iHub, a UBC Sauder venture sponsored by Coast Capital Savings from 2012 to 2017, offers a dynamic space to accelerate social venture growth. It joins entrepreneurs with university resources, peer learning and business networks. These four stories include themes of leader-ship, a social conscience and entrepreneurship, entwined from the beginning under the guidance of under the guidance of the CCS iHub program.
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COAST CAPITAL SAVINGS INNOVATION HUB
Addressing the frightening issue of maternal health in Africa Shanti Uganda, CCS iHub cohort of 2016 WHEN NATALIE ANGELL-BESSELING went to Uganda for the first time in 2007, she volunteered as a doula at a local hospital. While there, she connected with a group of women who were making paper beads in the capital city of Kampala. The roots of Shanti Uganda started with that chance meeting. “I met this amazing group of women who were making paper jewellery. They were looking for a market to sell their products,” says Angell-Besseling. “I began bringing it back to Vancouver to sell through my yoga studio to my students. And I would send the money back, and the women were doing very well.”
“I started talking to the women about the community and what was deeply needed, [and] the need for better maternal health services kept coming up.” “That was our first program, in 2008— our Women’s Income Generation Group.” She founded Shanti Uganda in 2008, and returned to Uganda to begin training a group of women in Kasana, in the Luwero district. Almost immediately, the organization turned its focus to improving the maternal and infant health for local women.
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“When I started talking to the women about the community and what was deeply needed, the need for better maternal health services kept coming up,” says the mother of two. Maternal health and infant health are major problems across much of Africa. The inability to access health care in low-resource countries greatly affects the lives of women and children. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 4,700 women die from maternity/ birthing related causes in Uganda each year, with almost half of these women dying between the ages of 15 and 24 years. Moreover, nearly 35,000 Ugandan babies are stillborn every year, and many others die within a week. The vast majority of these deaths can be prevented with proper care and education. Midwives trained to international standards can prevent 75 per cent of global maternal and newborn deaths and provide 90 per cent of the care a woman and newborn need. Yet, in Uganda, notes the WHO data, skilled health personnel attend only 58 per cent of all births. Uganda needs an additional 1,400 trained midwives to provide universal maternity care coverage. And this is the need Angell-Besseling and Shanti Uganda aim to address. “We realized one way we could make a difference was to set up a birth house. The community found the land and helped design it, and we opened in 2010.”
“We realized one way we could make a difference was to set up a birth house. The community found the land and helped design it, and we opened in 2010.” According to Angell-Besseling, who runs things from Vancouver, the organization is committed to improving maternal health through a holistic and collaborative care model, relying on both registered Ugandan midwives and traditional birth attendants. It provides prenatal, birth and post-natal care for the first year of the child’s life. “We have seen great results to date. We have supported over 1,000 births at our centre, and we have never lost a mom.” The birth centre is receiving a great deal of recognition for its work, according to its founder, who adds that it is achieving results above the district average in every part of the program. Angell-Besseling credits the CCS iHub program with much of the success in the past two years. “The program gave us advisors and mentors who we were able to work with, and even now we are benefitting from their ideas, suggestions and fundraising advice.” n
COAST CAPITAL SAVINGS INNOVATION HUB Natalie Angell-Besseling lives motherhood, both with her daughters (Arwyn, 4, on the left, and Satya, 6) and with the maternal and infant health program she founded in Uganda.
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COAST CAPITAL SAVINGS INNOVATION HUB
Forget coffee beans; brew the leaf Wize Monkey, CCS iHub cohort 2015 IT’S A GIVEN FOR MOST PEOPLE: coffee comes from coffee beans, tea comes from tea leaves. End of story. That is, until two Vancouver entrepreneurs decided the world’s hot beverage drinkers—and perhaps thousands of coffee growers—would be better off if they started brewing something largely overlooked: the coffee leaf. Arnaud Petitvallet and Max Rivest, the co-founders of Wize Monkey, first met at Kedge Business School in Bordeaux. Looking for a product for a global business plan they were writing for class, they discovered the coffee leaf, which Rivest had read had antioxidant qualities. They decided to pursue the project, and went to Nicaragua to find a consistent supply of excellent leaves. Their efforts raised eyebrows among the coffee farmers, Rivest recalls, in a BC Business article. “We were like, ‘yeah, the leaf.’ They were like, ‘you’re crazy.’” Petitvallet and Rivest believed in the product because it has a smooth taste and lightly sweet finish. It is not bitter, no matter how long it is steeped, and it is light in caffeine, comparable to green tea. Yet, it has the body of black teas. It also is rich in the antioxidants mangiferin and chlorogenic acids, believed to be strong anti-inflammatories. The partners are a bit in wonder at their discovery. “The coffee bean is the second-most traded commodity on the planet—behind crude oil—and for some reason no one has even bothered to use the leaves for a product,” Rivest told the BC edition of The Huffington Post. Petitvallet and Rivest’s business model has another advantage: a significant benefit for the coffee farmers, who are typically small farmers working on very thin margins and little free cash.
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That’s because while coffee beans are only harvested three months a year, leaving workers jobless the rest of the year, coffee leaves can be picked year round. Harvesting the leaves does not harm the plants, and the farmer can use his plants profitably and pay his workers all year. Enrique Ferrufino is a coffee farmer in Nicaragua, and Petitvallet and Rivest’s other business partner. All the coffee leaves come from his estate. Ferrufino’s farm has 1,000 acres of coffee plants and 1,000 acres of protected rainforest. An NGO provides an onsite clinic, day care and a school for his 150 to 700 workers and their families. Rivest credits the CCS iHub with helping Wize Monkey tighten its business plan and connect it to an elevated network of advisors and mentors. “Without the program, we wouldn’t have met our chairman and subsequently our initial investors,” says Rivest. “It has proven to be absolutely key to our early growth.”
“The coffee bean is the second-most traded commodity on the planet— behind crude oil—and for some reason no one has even bothered to use the leaves for a product.” Wize Monkey CLTeas (available in five flavours) can now be found in more than 220 stores across Canada, and has online customers in over 40 countries since its official launch in 2015. This year, Wize Monkey is setting its sights on a strategic launch into the US. n
A new kind of mobility Alinker Inventions Ltd, CCS iHub cohort 2016 “OVER MY DEAD BODY WILL I EVER use one of those.” So said Barbara Alink’s aging mother one day as she and her daughter passed some elderly people using walkers and scooters. That started Alink thinking about what mobility and mobility challenges mean, and how we think about them as a society. In particular, Alink, a Dutch architect and designer, noted many mobility aids, such as walkers or Zimmer frames, can sometimes emphasize a disability. For example, many models require users to remain sitting or standing below eye-level with those around them, and oblige them to grip the device to keep balanced, instead of being able to use their hands. “I set out to design a better walking aid for my mom, then I realized that it needed to be a vehicle for social change,” Alink notes. The result was the Alinker, a non-motorized walking trike without pedals. On the Alinker, users sit upright and the feet remain on the ground, keeping users balanced and safe. Most importantly, users are at eye-level with others and can use their hands, which Alink believes promotes equality and confidence. Alink started working on her idea in 2011, in her workshop in the Netherlands. She went through more than a dozen prototypes as she made improvements to the design. She finally felt ready to launch in 2014 and used crowdfunding and presales of 40 units to raise money, ploughing the funds back into production to increase inventory. The market’s reaction was so positive that Alink decided to introduce the Alinker to the North American market. To help ramp up, Alink’s team applied to the CCS iHub; it was selected as one of six social ventures in the 2016 cohort. To finance the product launch in North America, Alinker Inventions Ltd again
“I set out to design a better walking aid for my mom, then I realized that it needed to be a vehicle for social change.” turned to crowdfunding. The campaign was run on Indiegogo in the spring of 2016 and raised $129,000 in 40 days: 375 per cent of the campaign goal. While Alink designed the Alinker with the elderly in mind, the bike has provided mobility and independence for amputees and people experiencing Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, arthritis, diabetes, stroke recovery, rehabilitation after surgery,
neuropathy, rheumatoid arthritis and spinal cord injury. The Alinker is lightweight and packed with functionality, including an easily-folded frame, brakes and a seat that is easily adjusted for height. Most importantly, it looks cool: it has an eyecatching curved frame painted bright yellow to stand out, another safety feature. “It’s about the aesthetics,” Alink told the Vancouver Sun. “It looks like an enlarged toy, and it looks funny. Everybody who gets on the Alinker starts smiling. Nobody walks with pride behind their walker.” n
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Schools of thought: Though Otto is the branded skipper of the Strobel family, his son Shaun and daughterin-law Sonia, above, all UBC alumni, have helped bring to life the familyâ€™s vision of a communitysupported fishery.
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Making sure there’s always a catch Skipper Otto’s Community Supported Fishery, CCS iHub cohort 2014 OTTO STROBEL—PROFESSIONALLY known as Skipper Otto—has been fishing the British Columbia coast since the 1960s. In that time, the number of independent fishermen like him has been reduced to a skeleton fleet. To make it possible for Otto (BEd 1971) and some other hold-out independents to remain fishing, Otto’s son, Shaun Strobel (BEd 2004), also a fisherman, and daughter-in-law, Sonia Strobel (BEd 2003) founded Skipper Otto’s Community Supported Fishery (Skipper Otto’s) in 2008. Skipper Otto’s was the first in Canada, and among the first in the world. Skipper Otto’s model is simple and quite similar to the community supported agriculture model many consumers are familiar with. At the start of each year’s season, Skipper Otto’s 2,000+ members buy a share of seafood for the upcoming fishing season. Each week, Sonia emails the members an outline of the catch for the coming week. Members can then order fish or shellfish against their prepaid share. Members then come to Granville Island’s False Creek Fisherman’s Wharf to pick up their fresh fish, or have frozen and preserved fish delivered to 10 locations in Vancouver and 16 other Canadian cities. According to Sonia, managing director, it is a win-win all around. On the business side, it gives Skipper Otto’s a positive cash flow at the very start of the season, along with a reasonable forecast of demand. Second, it frees the fishermen to set their prices without going through the market makers on the wharf, middlemen who would otherwise set a price based on
global markets. As a result, Skipper Otto’s fishermen are able to obtain higher revenue per catch. But the real beneficiaries are the members, who tend to care deeply about where their food comes from. “Traceability is very important to our members,” says Sonia. “Many people are unaware that 70 per cent of the Canadian fisheries catch is exported, even while 70 per cent of the seafood consumed is imported. There’s simply no connection between the fishermen and the customer.” But Skipper Otto’s members know where their fish was caught, by whom and on which boat. And they know they are in a community of members supporting independent Canadian fishermen and their families. Even though the fishermen are paid better than other fishermen on the coast, members end up paying about the same for their fish as they would at the market, because the supply chain is so short. And the variety is just as wide as at a market: five kinds of salmon, tuna, halibut and ling cod, along with a variety of shellfish including spot prawns, Dungeness crab and Pacific oysters. All of the fish is available fresh or frozen, with some also offered smoked, candied or canned. Sonia credits the CCS iHub with helping take Skipper Otto’s to a new level. “One of the important things I learned was our need to have a larger staff of competent people, rather than just a few of us. That has really helped me step back from daily operations and take a higher overview of where the company is going.”
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Earning Interest by
Canada’s best corporate citizens
Corporate Knights – the Magazine for Clean Capitalism publishes an annual ranking of the “Best 50 Corporate Citizens in Canada.” Scoring is based on 14 KPIs, including greenhouse gas productivity, percentage of taxes paid, health and safety performance, pension fund, supply chain and clean air productivity. The 2017 ranking analyzed Canadian companies with revenues of at least $2 billion and 2,000 employees in 2016, the 10 largest co-ops, constituents of the TSX 60 and all members of the 2016 Best 50 ranking. HERE ARE THE TOP 20, ANNOUNCED IN JUNE 2017:
Vancity Credit Union
Hydro One Limited
Transat A.T. Inc.
Mouvement des caisses Desjardins
Royal Bank of Canada
The Bank of Montreal
HSBC Bank Canada
IGM Financial Inc.
The Manitoba Hydro-Electric Board
Teck Resources Limited
19. Kinross Gold Corporation 20. Suncor Energy
Sun Life Financial
Mountain Equipment Co-op
OECD formed with a goal to foster policies that achieve “highly sustainable economic growth and employment” and “high living standards” in member states while maintaining financial security.
Club of Rome commissions The Limits to Growth, a study to examine the nexus of industry, population growth, food consumption, resource use and environmental damage.
First Earth Day held, marked annually ever since.
Nestle boycott starts.
Global 2000 Report to the President forecasts global effects on the environment over the next 20 years. Biodiversity recognized as a critical factor in the function of earth’s ecosystem.
Edward Freeman publishes Strategic Management: a Stakeholder Approach, putting Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) principles on the desks of managers around the world.
Ben & Jerry’s, an ice cream maker, produces first Social Performance Assessments.
Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro sets out 27 principles supporting sustainable development.
Sources: Forbes, OECD, Athens University of Economics and Business, Financial Times, The Economist 34
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Responsible leadership starter shelf Some highly rated books in the field of responsible leadership.
The Triple Bottom Line: How Today’s Best-Run Companies Are Achieving Economic, Social and Environmental Success – and How You Can Too
Beyond the Triple Bottom Line: Eight Steps toward a Sustainable Business Model
The B Corp Handbook: How to Use Business as a Force for Good
By Dossa and Szekely (2017)
By Andrew Savitz (2013)
“….an exceptional contribution for those who are interested in leading their organizations to true sustainability. The text provides a valuable balance between the theoretical and practical; it inspires while simultaneously providing clear and actionable steps.“
Drawing on best practices from 100+ B Corps, this book shows that using business as a force for good can help distinguish a company in a crowded market and increase customer trust, loyalty and evangelism for the brand.
Updated and revised for a new generation of business leaders. The Triple Bottom Line features in-depth success stories of sustainability practices worth emulating at major firms such as GE, Wal-Mart, DuPont and others.
By Ryan Honeyman (2014)
The Responsible Company: What We’ve Learned from Patagonia’s First 40 Years
Building Social Business: The New Kind of Capitalism that Serves Humanity’s Most Pressing Needs
By Chouinard and Stanley (2012)
By Muhammad Yunis (2011)
Written by the founder of Patagonia, The Responsible Company shows companies how to reduce the harm they cause, improve the quality of their business, and provide the kind of meaningful work everyone seeks. It concludes with specific, practical steps every business can undertake, as well as advice on what to do and in what order.
Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, founder of Grameen Bank, and pioneer of large-scale microcredit, Yunis discusses a social business model aimed at creating self-supporting, viable commercial enterprises that generate economic growth while producing goods and services to fulfill human needs.
Canadian Business for Social Responsibility (CBSR) is founded with the aim of motivating Canadian companies to come together and make powerful business decisions to improve performance and sustainability.
“Triple Bottom Line” introduced by John Elkington in his book Cannibals with Forks.
Global Sullivan Principles (1999) engage corporations in fight for human rights and social justice.
Canada organizes National Roundtables on CSR and the Canadian Extractive Sector in Developing Countries.
UN establishes Principles for Responsible Investment (UNPRI): voluntary guidelines for investors wanting to address environmental, social and corporate governance issues through their investments.
ISO introduces ISO 26000 guidelines for social responsibility.
More than 190 heads of state approve the United Nations’ 17 new Sustainable Development Goals and 169 targets.
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Ways to Conn Join our Global Alumni Map Our interactive online map lets you find your friends and classmates around the world. Add your profile for a chance to win our Travel in Style Sweepstakes.
Host or Attend One of Our 100 Dinners Host or take part in a dinner with your fellow alumni in celebration of 100 years of UBC experiences.
Learn and Socialize at Our Events Choose from dozens of events across the globe and online. From networking receptions to panel discussions about the most pressing issues of the day, there’s an event for you.
Browse Our Media alumni UBC produces a wealth of informative and entertaining content. Visit our online media library to explore podcasts, webcasts, blogs, photo albums and stories from Trek magazine.
We are One
nect Take Advantage of Benefits & Services Your connection to UBC doesn’t end with graduation. As a graduate, you receive lifetime access to exclusive benefits and services, including Alumni Career Services for your professional journey, Sauder Square to connect with your UBC Sauder alumni network, and discounts on Executive Education.
Visit the UBC Welcome Centre The Wong-Trainor Welcome Centre in the Robert H. Lee Alumni Centre is the friendly front door for all visitors to UBC’s Point Grey campus. Our staff and volunteers will be happy to answer your questions and help you plan your visit.
Volunteer & Donate Whether you’re interested in contributing financially or as a volunteer, there are many ways to give back to your UBC community.
Find Us on Social Media Connect with UBC Sauder alumni and fellow graduates around the world on social media. We’re on Facebook and LinkedIn.
Our Goal: 100,000 Connections alumni UBC was formed by a small group of UBC’s earliest graduates on May 4, 1917. Now we’re more than 325,000 strong, spanning more than 140 countries and including over 40,000 UBC Sauder alumni. Individually impressive and collectively outstanding, UBC alumni are helping to realize both the university’s and UBC Sauder’s aspirations for a better world.
Visit alumni.ubc.ca for more information on how to be part of alumni UBC 100
UBC Sauder Alumni Global Network
Your business is technology
Gain insight into fellow members of the alumni community
(whether you think it is or not)
“ENTREPRENEURSHIP WITHOUT technology is not entrepreneurship,” says Kerry Liu flatly. “That may sound terrible, but to me, tech entrepreneurship will drive the future in our world. Every company is going to be a tech company whether it’s Google or a forestry company. If you’re a CEO and don’t have technology as part of your agenda, you are probably not doing your job.” By that measure, the CEO of Rubikloud is doing his job. In four years, the tech company, which helps retailers make better decisions with artificial intelligence and machine learning, has raised $18 million, hired 90 employees, found clients around the world, and is on the way to exceeding $15 million in revenue this year. Liu comes from three generations of engineers and entrepreneurs in banking and manufacturing, so perhaps entrepreneurship is in his blood. But when he entered UBC Sauder’s Commerce program as an accounting major in 2003, he wasn’t sure where he wanted to go professionally. He was indifferent. “I was a pretty bad student,” says Liu. “In fact, I almost got kicked out my first year. I spent probably 70 per cent of my time on extracurricular stuff.” The following year, however, Liu’s attention was caught by UBC Sauder’s annual Enterprize Entrepreneurship Conference which was centred on a business plan competition. Competitors pitched before other students, professors and, most importantly, venture capitalists and 38
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entrepreneurs. The winner was awarded $150,000 and access to VCs, lawyers and start-up people. While he did not win, Liu was hooked. In his third year, Liu became chair of the event and grew it into one of the largest entrepreneurship conferences in North America. He credits the conference with the start of his tech career. “Enterprize and the access it gave me to the Vancouver tech community was my undergraduate education. I spent more time on that than school,” Liu recalls. Through Enterprize, Liu met Frank Pho, who was running the venture capital fund at Business Development Bank, and who gave Liu a summer associate internship. “Frank was phenomenal, giving me full access to meetings with CEOs, founders, lawyers and bankers, even if I had no business or value to add to any of those meetings,” says Liu. “It was a summer of sensory overload for a young business kid. “I came out convinced I had to be in the tech space, I had to be a tech entrepreneur, and I had to be part of this ecosystem.” But upon graduation with a BCom, Liu did not immediately strike out for a start-up. “The funny part is that I went into PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) for three and a half years as an accountant,” says Liu. “I just didn’t feel I had any start-up ideas worth pursuing, which at the time I thought you had to have. Now I realize that’s nonsense, that entrepreneurship has nothing to do with the idea, and everything to do with the thesis and its execution and the people you surround yourself with.” Liu found the stint at PwC useful, as it let him see the inner workings of a score of Vancouver-area tech companies at various stages of development, from start-up to major firms. Still, the attraction to tech and entrepreneurship was strong: “I decided if I were really going to be serious about tech, it was no good to be at the fringes.” In 2010, he joined Strangeloop Networks, which was developing a system to auto-
matically load websites faster. “It was the definition of complicated technology. Jonathan [Bixby, the founder] gave me the autonomy to see how I could build out revenue streams for the product.” The firm was sold to Radware in 2013. Liu faced a dilemma—he could continue as an executive in a tech company or he could follow his desire to be a technology entrepreneur. He chose entrepreneurship and, without even a definite idea for a product, sunk his savings into his thesis that AI and machine learning were a wave to catch before it was too late. “I decided that these were things that were going to change the world forever— data has value and software can make better predictions than people,” says Liu. “I had to chase that premise; chase it in a way that didn’t make practical sense, since I did not have a product idea. But there was no way I was going to sit on the sidelines.” Liu and his engineering co-founders decided to give it a year. Choosing online retailing, a sector they were familiar with, they resolved to develop an exciting product—or, if they failed, console themselves that they had had a year of immersive learning. The gamble has so far paid off. Rubikloud has found a niche in the retailing sector, helping retailers extract and reformat their data and building software that uses AI to solve retailing problems, such as predicting customer loyalty and making better pricing and inventory decisions—all critical business functions for retailers, Liu notes. Liu lives in Toronto with his wife Jasmine Wong, a 2010 graduate of UBC Sauder who was in the Portfolio Management Foundation program, and is now studying to be a doctor. Liu loves the entrepreneur life but notes its obvious stress. “I tried meditation about six months ago, but that didn’t work. So I took up boxing three to four times a week, which does work!” n
The UBC Sauder community includes more than 40,000 alumni who are influencing business and society in 80 countries around the world. We want to hear from you! Class Notes gives you the chance to share your news with fellow alumni, reconnect with former classmates and stay connected to the school. It’s easier than ever with our online form. Visit sauder.ubc.ca/alumni/classnotes and we will include your update in the next edition of Viewpoints.
Don Chutter, BCom 1944 Recently, I was pleased to be present at the Projects Awards Ceremony of the General Contractors Association of Ottawa. The 2016 building project deemed to contribute the most to the economic, social or environmental quality of life in Ottawa is the Meritorious Achievement Award and I have been honoured to have my name attached to it. One of the benefits of living and working a long time is that one collects a number of Honourary Life Memberships. In my case they include the Canadian Construction Association, the Canadian Society of Association Executives, the Rotary Club of Ottawa, the Rideau Club, the Ottawa Construction Association and the GCAO. I enjoy attending their meetings and also the opportunity of meeting UBC President Ono at a recent Alumni Reunion in Ottawa. I would also welcome hearing about my classmates of 1944!
SHARE YOUR NEWS Class Notes are easier than ever to submit. Simply fill out the online form at sauder.ubc.ca/alumni/classnotes
Rick Atkinson, BCom 1964 My second book, Strategies for Retiring Right! was published by Insomniac Press in May 2016. The book is a personal planning guide to enhance life after work. My first book, a best seller, Don’t Just Retire – Live It, Love It! was published in 2009. I regularly speak to audiences aged 45 to 65 and the recently retired. I also facilitate workshops designed to achieve a realistic plan leading to a happy and stimulating retirement.
Doug Macdonald, MBA 1971 At the June 2016 Canadian Wealth Professional Awards dinner (wpawards.ca) in Toronto, a gathering of wealth professionals from across the country, Doug Macdonald, one of the founders of Macdonald Shymko & Company Ltd., was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award recognizing his contributions to the financial services industry over Macdonald Shymko & Company’s 44-year history. David Shymko and Doug Macdonald (pioneers in fee-only advice), got together in May of 1972 with a unique concept to create a new business model within the financial services industry: to offer independent comprehensive financial advice on a fee-for-service basis to individuals, a model similar to that of an accountant, lawyer or architect, referred to as “fee-only.” “Forty-four years ago we received advice and counsel from many experienced individuals that this business model was not viable, there would be no demand for this service and most certainly no one would be prepared to pay for this service on an hourly charge basis. Fortunately, we were both young, idealistic and committed to the concept,” Doug Macdonald stated. Today, 44 years later, while the original partners, David Shymko, Larry Jacobson and Doug Macdonald, are transitioning out of Macdonald Shymko & Company, the six younger partners have taken to guiding the company forward with the same
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CLASS NOTES original values and vision. This business model has now been used by many firms and individuals within Canada, part of an overall trend within the financial services industry towards fee-based advice. “That the financial services industry in 1972 was very different, it was transaction based, commissions and trading costs were high, the concept of personal financial planning was unheard of, the education of participants was limited and, lastly, consumer knowledge was limited or often non-existent,” Macdonald noted when accepting his award. “Today there has been significant change and consumer knowledge and awareness is significantly higher, thanks in a large part to the media and the internet. “Costs are greatly reduced, and the education level and professionalism of participants is significantly enhanced.” Brian Jones, MBA 1975 After selling his successful insurance company in 2014, Brian launched Ridge Canada Cyber Solutions Inc. (Ridge Canada) in 2016, a specialized insurance wholesaler focused on cybersecurity. “I listened to experts around the world talking about the four greatest non-traditional threats,” says Jones. “They are global warming, pandemics, war and cyberattacks. Unlike natural disasters, cyberattacks occur every minute, in every industry.” One way to mitigate risk is through insurance. The insurance covers costs such as forensic investigation, crisis management, data restoration and cyber extortion. The company’s name honours an association with Tom Ridge, first head of U.S. Homeland Security. Ridge Canada also has a partnership with CyTech Services, a US cybersecurity firm that provides vulnerability assessment and forensic and data recovery services for clients. “If you’re a director of a larger private or public company or association, you’re likely asking your CEO if the company is exposed to cyber risk,” says Jones. “If so, you want to know what he’s doing to limit exposure. For Ridge Canada, that’s a growth opportunity.”
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Arnold Fine, BCom 1979 Recipient of the 2017 Adam Albright Adjunct Professor Award for Teaching Excellence at the Allard School of Law.
Caree Sullivan, BCom 1983 After 30 years in the media business I left to pursue my passion...golf. Now a partner in SS Golf Lessons and Adventures, I am teaching the game and coordinating womens’ golf retreats.
Rob Carpenter, BCom 1989 I am leaving my current employer in Calgary after 27 years of practicing law to continue development of the first single malt whisky distillery in Edinburgh, Scotland in over 90 years (that’s right; Canadians building distilleries in Scotland). Expanding our interests in the whisky sector after launching the Canadian branch of The Scotch Malt Whisky Society (smws.ca) in 2011, my wife Kelly and I began the development of the project in 2014. We now have planning permission, a signed lease for our 185-yearold location near the heart of Edinburgh, completed design, and began our external fundraising in both the UK and Canada in April. Keep up to date on progress at holyroodparkdistillery.com.
SHARE YOUR NEWS Class Notes are easier than ever to submit. Simply fill out the online form at sauder.ubc.ca/alumni/classnotes
Karen Korchinski, MBA 1993 I’ve travelled a ton in the past year. I produced a couple of great online series and then travelled some more! Pretty much loving life as usual and having fun. Hope everyone else is too.
Therese Baptise-Cornelis, MBA 1994 This past year has seen me join the academic faculty of both Artevelde University College in Ghent, Belgium as well as the academic faculty of Vesalius College in Brussels, Belgium as adjunct faculty. Thus, I now lecture for three different universities in their campuses in Belgium and Holland. Of note, I received the faculty award for teaching at United International Business Schools for 2016 as well as an award for Teaching Excellence from Vesalius College. I’m so happy to be back lecturing after having served my native country in both the diplomatic and political sectors, as United Nations Ambassador, Permanent Rep to WTO (2011–2012) and as Cabinet Minister of Health (2010–2011). The world of academia will always remain my favourite, inspired by my mother Joyce St.Omer Baptiste (a retired
teacher) and the great professors I had the privilege to encounter during my MBA years (1992–1994).
Richard Wong, BCom 1994 Richard was recently promoted to Senior Vice President at Mackenzie Investments in Toronto. He is a portfolio manager and cohead of Cundill Value Team. Value investing has been a lifelong love affair for Richard. He lives in Ontario with his wife and two children. Connect via LinkedIn. :-)
Ron Leung, BCom 1996 At the recent BC Summer Games held in Abbotsford on July 21–24, 2016, my daughter Jasmine’s team of five Richmond girls representing Zone Vancouver-Coastal (Richmond) went undefeated (7–0) to capture the gold medal in the inaugural U13 3x3 girls basketball event. In addition, at the closing ceremonies, it was announced that she was one of 16 outstanding youth leaders recognized with a Coast Capital Savings Leadership Bursary. Bursary recipients were chosen from over 200 applicants for their significant achievements in sport and education and most importantly for their leadership contributions to their schools, community or sport associations.
returned to the West Coast in 2010. He founded Canada Bikes, the national voice for commuting, tourism and recreational cycling, advises governments on transportation sustainability and currently sits on the GMF Council of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.
Hannes Valtonen, MBA 1996 After six years as a pan-Asian hedge fund and private equity fund manager in Hong Kong, I moved last year to Japanese financial group ORIX to build up a new global compliance function across 36 countries. Quite a shift from a 350-head private company to a Tokyo/New York listed group with 33,000 people, plenty of challenges to tackle! Kevin Purkiss, MBA 1997 The Purkiss family starts a year-long sabbatical in April 2017 to travel, volunteer and generally experience an agreeable pace of life aboard their sailboat Forty Two.
Adi Kabazo, MBA 2004 Had an amazing two years on the consulting front, helping my clients with product and marketing strategies. I’m very excited to share my latest news—in February I joined a start-up in the connected home (also known as the IoT) space as VP Marketing to head both corporate and product marketing. Our company, Plasmatic Technologies (plasmatic.co), is poised to change the home security industry by blending technology, intuitive usability and novel business models to enhance both security and the customer experience. We have a few plasma balls in the office; that’s me having fun with one of them.
Shaun Curry, MBA 1999 Over the course of the last year, I have had a son, Xavier Curry. He is now nine months old. :) I have also written a book, Hidden by the Leaves, a historical fiction that takes place in 17th Century Japan.
Arne Elias, MBA 2003 After completing a PhD and leading the Centre for Sustainable Transportation at the University of Winnipeg, Arne
Michael Odendaal, BCom 2004 In 2016, my co-founder (and wife) and I celebrated a successful and sold out second annual WNORTH Conference, a global
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CLASS NOTES women’s leadership conference in Whistler. We created WNORTH in 2015 for women mid-career who are on a trajectory for senior executive leadership. That event was attended by 180 women from across Canada and the United States. Our most recent conference was held in April 2017, also in Whistler, and was followed up with a global expansion of events. We are well underway for our plans for the 2018 conference. They have been busy years as we also welcomed our boy Luke into our lives in late 2015. In addition to this entrepreneurial venture (and new daddy duty), I currently run operations of one of the largest restaurant groups in Whistler. If you are interested in finding out more about my event, please visit wnorthconference.com. Bjoern Mayland, BCom 2005 Hello fellow UBC Sauder alumni—it’s nice to stay connected through this magazine. I had an exciting 2016 highlighted by the birth of my second daughter, Malu. Also doing well professionally—working as a Strategy Director for DHL eCommerce in the US (based in the greater NY area). If you are ever in need of a B2C e-commerce shipping solution, let me know (bmayland@ gmail.com). Best wishes to the greater UBC Sauder family!
Steven Joe, BCom 2006 This year I decided to start my own Vancouver-based business. I combined two unique skills that are rarely found in an advisor in this field: in-depth tax advisory and financial planning/management. I started my own wealth management group at Assante, focusing on incorporated 42
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professionals and high net worth private company business owners. On the charity side, I was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver, an organization that I have been heavily involved in for almost eight years. I still live in vibrant Kitsilano and play a lot of tennis. Manpaul Aulakh, DAP 2009 Moved away from public accounting and obtained a position as a controller with an equipment leasing and mortgage company. It has a been a great experience as we offer very unique finance options for each customer as no option is the same.
Genie Lam, BCom 2009 I was born and raised in Vancouver. After completing my BCom degree with majors in Accounting and Marketing, I pursued the CA designation with Deloitte & Touche LLP Vancouver. In 2012, I married my husband who is also UBC alumni from the Applied Science program. To challenge myself and to build a family together, I decided to move to Hong Kong where my husband is succeeding in his family business in condom making. Being a Canadian born Chinese whose parents are originally from Hong Kong, moving to my origin didn’t seem like anything awe-inspiring at first but I immediately felt the difference after the first week here. Working in Hong Kong was a tremendous challenge in both lifestyle and culture for me. I didn’t get the same treatment of forgiveness as a regular expatriate, which would then result in embarrassment, or even conflict, when there was a gap in understanding. And the humid
and hot weather didn’t help at all! However, being immersed in the environment naturally forced me to quickly adapt to the lifestyle, which in return, broadened my perspective and language skills. Like how we always say in UBC Sauder, “No Pain, No Gain.” In 2013, I assisted my husband in a project which won the Guinness World Record for Thinnest Latex Condom. We are very fortunate that this award attracted a lot more attention than we had anticipated. From there, we were determined to take our business one step further and make our product available to the world. Now that I am involved with many facets of the business, I am grateful for the foundation developed at UBC Sauder. The entrepreneur mindset that the program instilled in us plays a big part in my decision-making every day. As an ending note, thank you for reading my update and hugest shout out to all our Vancouver and alumni support during these last few years! Wishing everyone the very best! For more information about what’s happening with us, check out aonicondoms.com.
Dino Arturo Celotti, DULE 2011 As COO of European independent distribution and label services company Membran Entertainment Group GmbH, and with a strong belief that Canadian music is under-served internationally, I’m spearheading Membran’s recent expansion into Canada with an investment focused on working with Canadian artists, labels and managers to help expose and export their music to the world.
Beyond Membran’s classic role of developing artists, and enabling and supporting the release, promotion and distribution of content to the global market, I’ll also be dedicating resources to the research, testing and application of new technologies that increase transparency and promote harmonization of data, music rights and revenue allocation.
Leo Chen, BCom 2011 After working corporate jobs for three years, I went back to Taiwan for conscription. In the military, every day felt twice as long, with rigorous schedules and tough training. But the worst part was the shoes! They were hard, heavy, made out of artificial leather (no ventilation), and left me with blisters and terrible foot pain. This made me think: Why not make socks that make every shoe instantly more comfortable? I couldn’t change the shoes the military forces you to wear, but I could change the socks. The only problem was I didn’t have the expertise or the money. After getting support from my parents, I decided to go for it and worked side jobs during my days off from the military, borrowed resources from friends and family, and got a loan from a bank. I lived frugally, getting the company up and running and mostly eating dumplings and toast. I partnered with Haohao, a former colleague from Taipei and talented designer with big dreams. Many manufacturers turned us down because it was a start-up and my idea was too ambitious. We finally found a company willing to work with us but for a higher price tag per unit.
I learned how much work is involved in owning a company and sometimes doubted if I could pull it all off. On the verge of giving up after our first Kickstarter campaign failed in November 2016, I decided to keep going and worked tirelessly for months. When we re-launched the Kickstarter on February 15, 2017, it was a huge success with media coverage from Daily Hive, GadgetWizard, and Trend Hunter. In the end, we raised $21,326 on Kickstarter with 390 backers who bought 984 pairs of socks in 28 days. kck.st/2kqf25j
current UBC Sauder mentee, Joy, and am enjoying being around the spark and enthusiasm of our school’s current crop of very promising minds. Finally, some may find most noteworthy that I transitioned from male to female, my true gender—this making me one of Canada’s few transgender CEOs. Otherwise, I am enjoying running, and spending time with my wife, Brandi (also a UBC Sauder alum!) and our two wild boars that somewhat resemble dogs.
Catherine Metrycki, BCom 2011 Catherine founded Callia Flowers, a tech start-up disrupting the floral industry, in Winnipeg in 2016 and it is now available in Vancouver and Edmonton. Built on the simple premise of a better experience ordering flowers, Callia delivers hand-tied, seasonal bouquets that you can order online at calliaflowers.com.
Michela Toscano, MBA 2012 The last year has been quite eventful for me. At IONICA, a Vancouver tech firm I started in 2011, we have continued to grow our client and project list, and work on some very interesting high-profile projects. One of my main goals with IONICA and in pursuing my UBC Sauder MBA is to make the largest possible positive impact on the world. In our firm’s early history, we have already donated over $20,000 of our company profits to charitable causes in Canada—something I am incredibly proud of. Our 2017 goal is to donate another $20,000, doubling our total contributions so far. I have also been working with my
Nathan Hesketh, BCom 2014 I’ve moved to Tanzania to volunteer my finance skills on a project working to increase incomes and employment. I’m the finance guy on a consulting team helping to grow small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The Tanzania Local Enterprise Development project is managed by VSO and CUSO International and is funded by the Government of Canada. As part of my role, I’m actively looking for domestic (Tanzanian) financial institutions, microfinance funds and other investors who want to provide access to finance for SMEs operating in the regions in which we consult. Let me know if you hear of anyone interested in Tanzanian investment opportunities! Or, come visit. Please be in touch and I would be happy to offer some guidance and answer questions. The culture is so rich here, the fruit is so fresh and there are many other things to enjoy and appreciate. Tanzania is a beautiful country and the experience is hard to put into words, so please come feel the energy here yourself. As they say in Swahili, “Karibu Tanzania.” VIEWPOINTS FALL 2017
Vivienne Wang, MBA 2014 Celebrated the first birthday of my first baby this past March 26. I have since returned to work to a new job leading a new project team for M&A at SAP. During my year of maternity leave I started two nonprofit organizations focusing on girls and women in the technology industry.
Konrad Kobielewski, BCom 2015 I am proud to announce my certification in Corporate Etiquette and International Protocol Consultancy from the esteemed Protocol School of Washington. I was specially invited to attend the School in recognition of my work as North America’s youngest etiquette expert. My interest in the subject began at UBC Sauder, where, as a student, I was given the opportunity to host soft skills workshops for my peers. Now, the comprehensive training I received allows me to deliver an industry-leading curriculum. I plan to empower more students and professionals by making them feel less awkward in business and social situations. For information about my seminars visit notawkwardanymore.com. 44
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Pouria Nikravan, BCom 2016 I got married to the most amazing girl (Soyoung Park) on July 9th of 2016. This photo was taken at the UBC Rose Garden. On November 4th, 2016, I began my dream career at Klein Group as a Commercial Real Estate Investment & Leasing agent. Cameron O’Neil, MBA 2016 After graduation, Cameron founded Token Naturals Ltd., a product development and technology company with a focus on research and innovation in the legal cannabis “drinkables” space. What began as a class project within the MBA program led to Cameron partnering with fellow UBC MBA Keenan Pascal. Leaving a career in Robotics and Artificial Intelligence, Cameron decided to focus on the cannabis space within Canada and bring the company to life. Since moving to the East Coast to be closer to family this year, Cameron has travelled all over Canada working with business, government and citizens to discuss the upcoming cannabis legalization. As Chairman of Token Naturals, Cameron also works closely on product development, research and strategy as a result of his extensive experience in chemical engineering and quality control.
Keenan Pascal, MBA 2016 Keenan has partnered with fellow MBA graduate Cameron O’Neil to launch Token Naturals Ltd., a product development
and technology company with a focus on research and innovation in the legal cannabis “drinkables” space. As Token Naturals’ Chief Executive Officer, Keenan runs the company’s operations, business development and financing. After graduating from the MBA program, Keenan took on a role of Teacher’s Assistant for UBC, travelling with the current MBA class to London, UK to support their Global Immersion Experience. He is also a member of a flag football team, winning the Alberta Provincial Championship in Division One.
James Reiss, International MBA 2017 From April 30 to May 2, 24 UBC Sauder IMBA Alumni and current students, forming the 2016 IMBA Desert Challenge Team, participated in a three-day, 70km Desert Challenge race in Inner Mongolia’s Tengger Desert. The fifth Asia-Pacific Business School Desert Adventure challenged the participants with sandstorms, rain and blazing sun as they competed with teams from over 70 other Asian MBA programs. 2016 marks the first time that UBC has joined the Desert Challenge race, on the initiative of UBC Sauder’s Shanghai office and spearheaded by team captain and IMBA alumni Hu Kai. Beyond increasing awareness of UBC Sauder’s Shanghai IMBA program, the team utilized the event to raise over RMB 30,000 for disadvantaged children; recipients from the Rainbow Pocket Project by the MaiTian Education Foundation will receive school supplies purchased by funds raised by the team. The participants, including alumni and candidates from six different cohorts, credit their teamwork and determination for their ability to conquer this awesome challenge.
dedication to program excellence and student experience was unsurpassed and contributed invaluably into making our MBA program the world leader that it is today,” said Robert Helsley, Dean of UBC Sauder and Grosvenor Professor of Cities, Business Economics and Public Policy. To give in memory of Steve Alisharan and keep his passion alive through UBC, visit memorial.support.ubc.ca/stevealisharan. n
Dean, UBC Faculty of Commerce, 1966–1973 (1924–2017)
Senior Instructor, Accounting Division (1946–2016) Over his more than 30 years at UBC Sauder, Steve taught thousands of students, many of whom say that his values and work ethic had a profound influence on their lives. He was a remarkably accomplished educator, an inspiring colleague and a generous friend. Throughout his career, Steve was passionate about the transformational power of education. He won many awards for the quality and impact of his teaching, and led the school’s successful nomination in 2001 for a national prize for “Collaborative Projects that Improve Student Learning” for the UBC MBA program. Starting at UBC Sauder in 1981, then the Faculty of Commerce, Steve taught courses in accounting, financial reporting, entrepreneurship, and small business development, among others. He was a key contributor to the success of the Executive Education program, and also held director roles in the MBA, undergraduate programs and Executive Education. Key contributions to the school include his leadership in the UBC MBA Core, an innovative program that integrated key academic disciplines in business, as well as the design and implementation of the Capstone Program for the MBA and MM programs. “Steve was a remarkably accomplished educator, an inspiring colleague and a generous friend. His
Harry Chatfield Inman BCom 1943 (1919–2017)
Harry Chatfield Inman was a proud graduate of UBC Commerce and in the end, all of the determining events of his life occurred in and around UBC to his great benefit. Harry was born in Vancouver in a house just outside the UBC Endowment lands; remarkably, the house is still standing, un-renovated. After eventually graduating high school in Edmonton, Harry returned to his roots and graduated from UBC, with the school’s future namesake Bill Sauder as a classmate and among countless lifelong friends he met at UBC. But the defining event of his life was meeting and marrying Sylvea (Dyson), another UBC grad (Home Ec 1949). Their enduring love and trust would be central to their 67 years together. Harry and Sylvea were devoted to their two daughters and a son, all three of whom also became UBC graduates; both girls married men they met and/or attended UBC with. Finally, to close the circle, Harry lived his last five years back on campus in the wonderful Tapestry residences in Wesbrook Village. Harry put the concerns and welfare of others ahead of his own. In business, he taught us integrity. He will be missed. n
Philip H. White passed away peacefully on February 25, 2017 in Victoria, BC, at the age of 92. Born on August 28, 1924 in England, Philip went on to obtain his BSc and MSc degrees at the University of London. In 1958 he, with his wife and daughter, immigrated to Vancouver, BC. Philip began his career at UBC as professor in the Faculty of Commerce and Business Administration. He was appointed dean in 1966, a position he held until 1973. He was the last dean who personally signed the degree certificates for all the BCom and MBA students—a task he accomplished in the boardroom of the Henry Angus building, moving around the table signing degrees. More than one student received a much-appreciated second chance from Dean White’s willingness to re-admit them to the faculty. One former student related that the most useful advice he received from Dean White was that, although knowing the answer was useful, it was more important to know which question to ask. Philip was a keen sailor. He served with the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve in WWII on motor torpedo boats. Once in Vancouver, he owned several sailboats; on the last, he and his family sailed around English Bay and the Gulf Islands. In retirement, he and Nancy boated often and frequently moored at their property on North Pender Island. He is survived by Nancy, his wife of 71 years, two children, three grandchildren, and a brother. n
VIEWPOINTS FALL 2017
DEAN’S SPEAKER SERIES
Be humble. Be connected. Be bold. by
AMADON COLETSIS V. SARAN PHOTO
FALL 2017 VIEWPOINTS
ON A DARK, WET JANUARY EVENING earlier this year, UBC Sauder opened its doors to welcome alumni and current UBC Sauder students for a highly anticipated talk from legendary CEO Christine Day. Day was a ray of sunshine as she spoke candidly about her years of entrepreneurial expertise, how she relentlessly pushes the envelope with each of her endeavours and her recipe for success with market disruption. From the forefront of the presentation through to the end, Day’s humility as an accomplished entrepreneur and leader was clear: she openly admitted that hearing about all of her accolades makes her feel very embarrassed. After her glowing introduction, she said, “No matter how many awards you win, if you start believing you are the award, you’re probably in trouble in my books.” This statement underscores her commitment to building
great teams, one of her cornerstones to succeeding in business. Day is currently living and breathing the true entrepreneurial spirit at healthy frozen food start-up, Luvo. The impetus for Day’s transition to Luvo was a personal one: while helping care for her mother with a condition similar to type 2 diabetes, she struggled to find foods the doctor recommended at the grocery store. At Luvo, she bounces from working on strategy one minute to answering customer calls the next, and is reminded that “it doesn’t get easier just because you’ve done it before—starting a company is hard work. It gets easier to recognize the patterns of success that help guide your journey.” Day shared her patterns of success as the five greats of great business: great purpose, great differentiation, great business model, great team and great leadership. GREAT PURPOSE Successful businesses are founded on a great purpose. Whether people are your customers or employees, they join your mission and not your company. An emotional connection and personal interest in your mission drive engagement. Engaged consumers become loyal, and engaged employees overcome obstacles and contribute to a shared purpose. Purpose guides your business by acting as a strategy filter for new markets to enter and existing markets to develop. “Inspire someone with money, chances are they’ll move for money. Inspire someone with purpose, and they stay with and fulfill the mission and their role within it.” GREAT DIFFERENTIATION Leading companies are not afraid to be first and require the courage to move when the opportunity arises. It’s important not to look for evidence in numbers to guide your decision, because by the time evidence shows in numbers you’re probably second or third to market. Day commented on her time at Starbucks, explaining, “Every coffee company can say they have great coffee, people and stores—and they do.
Starbucks mastered differentiation through personalization.” She pointed out that no other coffee company can guarantee your half-caf, double tall, nonfat, extra foam, one pump vanilla latte will be made the same way at any store around the world. GREAT BUSINESS MODEL When Day moved to lululemon, she looked at the top 50 apparel companies and extracted their best facets to set benchmarks accordingly. Building these benchmarks backwards into a business model is how she created one that lasts. Day admitted to being maniacal about building scorecards for strategy and day-to-day operations and attributed successful business models to the same approach. GREAT TEAM “It’s the great teams I’ve had built around me that have allowed me to succeed in
business.” Day’s teams are built with people who have talent with building companies, are fun to work with, know how to get stuff done and dream big. She explained that “culture can unify, but it can also be used as a weapon to prevent change.” To protect against this, culture has to be based on performance and company values. GREAT LEADERSHIP “Great leadership starts with you, but is not about you,” Day explained. “Jobs that are hard and creative allow people to explore themselves and own their work.” She stressed making jobs big enough for people, and to never forget to “be yourself, embrace your weirdness and leave room for the talent of others.” Day’s closing remarks left the room inspired: “If you’re not bold, you’ll be standing around the water cooler talking about the person who is.” n
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POINTS OF VIEW—GUEST COLUMN
Responsible leadership by TAMARA
When I hear the phrase responsible leadership, my immediate reaction is why do we need to pair the adjective responsible with the noun leadership? Isn’t responsibility an inherent part of the job? Unfortunately the answer to that question doesn’t appear to be a resounding ‘yes’, at least not at the moment. ACCORDING TO ONE STARTLING result from the 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer, only 37 per cent of the general population say CEOs are credible, down 12 points globally from the previous year and representing an all-time low. Canadian business leaders are part of this unfortunate trend. Yet there is some optimism—77 per cent of Canadian respondents agreed that a company can take specific actions that both increase profits and improve economic and social conditions in the communities where they operate. So what creates that gap and how do leaders take this opportunity to do the right thing, demonstrate their credibility and rebuild trust in their role? One path is to move beyond the traditional and narrowly framed confines of shareholder accountability to the broader and richer landscape of stakeholder accountability—and not just in specific circumstances, but as an ongoing business practice. This approach considers the many elements that build healthy communities through social, environmental and economic sustainability. It means putting people, and the impacts on them of the choices a leader and their organization makes, squarely at the centre of decisionmaking, rather than leaving them as a secondary consideration. You can tell when companies don’t have the benefit of an external “frame”— they’re the ones that are tone deaf or colour blind and seem to dig themselves needlessly into trouble. 48
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Think about the recent experience of United Airlines, which reportedly lost a billion dollars of market value after a passenger was dragged off a flight. This moment was captured on cellphones and posted on social media for all the world to see—to say nothing of the airline CEO’s initially tepid response, which furthered the public’s outrage. What was it about the leadership culture of this organization that led to this circumstance, allowing staff or contractors to deal with a customer in this careless manner? So the question about responsible leadership is—responsible to whom? The more organizations adopt a broad stakeholder approach, in addition to shareholder engagement, the kind of questions they need to ask themselves will change. How do we build confidence in leadership in taking in diverse views and inclusive practices and become comfortable with integrating those into decision making? Truly responsible leadership means being transparent and accountable to a broader range of interests and outcomes across a broader definition of business functions. We need to reimagine the definition of success for business based on including stakeholders’ interests before we can call ourselves truly responsible as leaders. At my organization, the question I have often asked myself, and posed to my colleagues, is—In what ways can we think not only about what we do with the money we earn, but how we earn it in the first place? The more we have
Tamara Vrooman is President and CEO of Vancity. She has long been a passionate promoter of responsible leadership, and cites a business meeting with Pope Francis as among her career highlights.
leaned into considering the impact of how operate, the better we have done. We’ve experienced years of record profitability and membership growth as a result. So I encourage our emerging business leaders to dig deeply into the question of stakeholder engagement and responsibility—it’s not the “soft stuff” of management, but the hard edge of leadership that makes decisions more challenging and results more rewarding. To get there, perhaps we’ll need to broaden our definition of what defines a quality business education, both academically and in practice. And where we see responsible leadership in motion, support those businesses that are working this way. Then we’ll be able to demonstrate positive results to those 75 per cent of respondents who believe that business can pursue its self-interest while doing good work for society, improving its economic and social conditions. And we won’t need a grammar lesson when it comes to defining the meaning of leadership. n
Alumni Career Services sauderalumnicareers.ca UBC Sauder Alumni Career Services is part of the Hari B. Varshney Business Career Centre. We’re here to offer ongoing career support and resources to UBC Sauder alumni. Whether you’re looking to kick-start your professional journey or take your career to the next level, we’re here to help every step of the way. Coaching
Get individual career support in-person, by phone or Skype wherever you are globally. Book an appointment online.
View and apply for job opportunities on Sauder Square or COOL, UBC Sauder’s online job boards.
Career managers and guest speakers discuss a wide range of topics to enhance your personal and professional development.
Share your expertise as a mentor or participate as a mentee to learn from an experienced alum.
Attend exclusive networking and recruiting events in select cities, and virtual networking events from anywhere in the world.
Access career management content and resources including the Birkman and Emotional Intelligence assessments.
See page 36 for more details.
The Fall 2017 issue of Viewpoints, the alumni magazine for the UBC Sauder School of Business.
Published on Oct 25, 2017
The Fall 2017 issue of Viewpoints, the alumni magazine for the UBC Sauder School of Business.