As we mark the 150th anniversary of confederation, The Philanthropist is profiling Canadians from across the non-profit sector and putting a face to 150 individuals who work or volunteer in Canada’s social sector.
Name: Princess Alexander
Current role in the sector: President of Alexander Learmond consultancy, Vice-Chair, Entrepreneurship and Strategy Program Advisory Council, Ted Rogers School of Management, Ryerson University and Executive Member & Past President, and Zonta e-Club Canada (previously Zonta Mississauga), an international organization empowering and advocating on behalf of women and girls.
Years working and/or volunteering in the non-profit sector: 12 years.
What was your first job in the sector or a defining moment?
My first consulting project in the sector was in 2010 when I was retained to advise Heritage Mississauga on the development of the board’s Indigenous strategy. During this process, I attended band council meetings, worked with the Indigenous communities in Peel-Halton Region and with a diverse steering committee spearheaded the Maanjidowin Pow Wow festival in the City of Mississauga. It was the largest Indigenous festival ever in Mississauga, with 10,000 visitors over two days. This experience helped me to develop knowledge and an appreciation of Indigenous practices, culture and language.
Describe your desk/workspace.
My desk is clear and my workplace is portable–a computer and notepad that go everywhere I go. On my desk is a quote from Chinese Philosopher Lao Tzu that I live by:
“Go to the people. Live with them. Learn from them. Love them. Start with what they know. Build with what they have. But with the best leaders, when the work is done and the task is accomplished, the people will say, ‘We have done this ourselves’“.
What are you reading or following that has expanded your understanding of the non-profit sector?
My readings are focused on social entrepreneurship, innovation trends, and research studies. I’m always excited to research how business best practices can be leveraged to help non-profits achieve their financial and social impact.
A few of my favorite online websites are the Kauffman Foundation, Stanford Social Innovation Review, The Guardian and Imagine Canada. I also stay abreast of research studies such as Annual State of Social Enterprise Survey UK, and Price Waterhouse Coopers, and Deloitte sector publications.
What do you think our sector needs to be thinking about?
Organizations’ ability to balance between social and financial priorities, while meeting the expectations of stakeholders, and being able to navigate change are important issues.
I am highly motivated by the phrase “there is no mission without money” hence I find my work which supports the growth of social enterprises, highly rewarding. It “takes the bull by the horn”.
The founder of eBay, Jeff Skoll states: “I believe that social entrepreneurship will be the driving force in the world over the next 100 years, the single biggest movement that’s going to change the way we live”. As Canada approaches the 150th year, it is a privilege to join this movement that redefines the social landscape.
Do you know someone we should profile as part of this series? Email us at [email protected]