Events at UBC Sauder

Dhillon Centre Event: The Social Purpose of Business with Mary Ellen Schaafsma

social purpose

Join us for a student roundtable with social purpose expert, Mary Ellen Schaafsma, Director of the Social Purpose Institute at the United Way of the Lower Mainland.

Event details

Date: Wednesday, June 3, 2020
Time: 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. 
Location: Zoom Webinar

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Social Purpose has become an emerging trend among business leaders to drive positive change while creating value for employees, customers, and stakeholders. This student roundtable discussion will explore the need for social purpose, the challenges and opportunities of integrating this into a for-profit business, and how social purpose can contribute to a company’s success.

The event will feature Mary Ellen Schaafsma, who is the Director of the Social Purpose Institute ( at the United Way of the Lower Mainland, which supports for-profit businesses to adopt social purpose through programs, workshops and services to generate community impact, social good and business benefits.

Mary Ellen has worked in many areas of health and social services including mental health, policy research, and hospital strategy. She was the Executive Director of Cochrane Canada, where she co-conducted a national health care research, training and knowledge transfer Centre. Mary Ellen is a master’s graduate of the University of Ottawa in Health Administration and has a certificate in Social Innovation from Simon Fraser University.

Mary Ellen will discuss what social purpose means and how the United Way in is advancing social purpose within the business community and creating a Social Purpose movement in Canada.

UBC Sauder student Chelsea Leong will moderate the event. Chelsea Leong is a fourth-year BCom student specializing in Marketing and Human Resources. With previous involvement in CUS Sustainability, she is passionate about advocating for sustainability in business. She is currently working as a Marketing Assistant for the Peter P. Dhillon Centre of Business Ethics.

Student roundtable members will be UBC Sauder students Luk Pham, Joseph Lyons, and Emielia Dahl-Sam. Joseph is a third-year BCom student studying Global Supply Chain and Logistics Management. He is passionate about social impact and international supply chain development and hopes to be involved in large-scale sustainable development projects in the future.

Emielia is in the fourth-year BCom student specializing in Operations and Logistics. With a passion for environmental and socioeconomic development, she is currently working as a primary researcher for New Market Funds to help mobilize Canada’s Investment Readiness Program.

Luk is a third-year BCom Marketing student driven by environmental and economic sustainability through social entrepreneurship. Having been a part of the UBC Social Enterprise Club and Enactus UBC, he continues learning and educating others to create a meaningful impact in our communities.