2017 Research Symposium
April 26th & 27th – Toronto
See our Speakers’ Agenda here. Video of the presentations is being added here as we complete them.
We explored brain science, resilience, wellbeing and the roles of business, government, journalism and philanthropy in solving society’s problems.
Wednesday, April 26th
KEYNOTE: Dr. Dan Siegel is a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine and the founding co-director of the Mindful Awareness Research Center at UCLA. He is the acclaimed author of The Developing Mind: How Relationships and the Brain Interact to Shape Who We Are which introduced us to interpersonal neurobiology. He has written extensively for professional publications which have been translated into more than 30 languages. He has also written four parenting books. His latest book (2016) is Mind, A Journey to the Heart of Being Human, “offers a deep exploration of our mental lives as they emerge from the body and our relations to each other and the world around us.”
Panelist 1: David Bornstein is Co-founder of the Solutions Journalism Network which seeks to legitimize and spread solutions journalism: rigorous reporting that examines responses to social problems. He has been a journalist for 26 years. He co-authors the Fixes column in The New York Times. His books include How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas, The Price of a Dream: The Story of the Grameen Bank, and Social Entrepreneurship: What Everyone Needs to Know. He is a native Montrealer who now lives in New York.
Panelist 2: Richard Steele is a Principal at SYPartners with an expertise in corporate strategy and organizational consulting. He was a partner at Marakon Associates and senior partner and head of the New York office at The Bridgespan Group, advising clients across sectors as varied as financial services, media, and consumer goods. In his other life he has worked in the social sector on problems in education, technology and global development for The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The Omidyar Network, and The United Nations Foundation, among others.
Panelist 3: Paul MacMillan has been a Management Consultant and Strategic Advisor to government leaders for over 30 years. He is Global Public Sector Leader for DTTL (Deloitte), responsible for the network’s client service innovation to support public-purpose organizations. He is the co-author of The Solution Revolution: How business, government and social enterprises are teaming up to solve society’s toughest problems. He is also contributing author to Principles & Practice of Impact Investing – A Catalytic Revolution. It’s the first book to look at “refocusing” venture capital to sustain development of societal impact enterprises. His chapter introduces new thinking on what he calls “the Science of Shared Value”, specifically the growing trend of integrating business and social analytics into public & private sector investment decisions.
Panelist 4: Sharon Avery is the President and CEO of the Toronto Foundation, one of Canada’s leading community foundations and a Toronto city-building institution. She brings more than two decades of work as a fundraiser and professional communicator, the last 8 years as Chief Development Officer with UNICEF Canada where she more than doubled its investment in children. She led a pivotal fundraising campaign recruiting women philanthropists across Canada to embark on a 4-year educational journey on maternal, newborn and child health in the development world. Prior to working for UNICEF, Ms. Avery held senior roles at SickKids Foundation, Save the Children Canada, and Tim Horton Children’s Foundation. She is known for her entrepreneurial spirit, critical thinking and collaborative leadership.
The Social Ecology of Resilience: Families, Schools, and Communities – Dr. Michael Ungar is the Canada Research Chair in Child, Family and Community Resilience and the Founder/Director of the Resilience Research Centre at Dalhousie University. He is among the best known researchers on the topic of resilience. A family therapist and Professor of Social Work, Dr. Ungar has written 14 books, numerous manuals for parents, educators, and employers, as well as more than 150 scientific papers. Dr. Ungar has adapted ideas from his research and clinical practice into best-selling works like Too Safe For Their Own Good: How Risk and Responsibility Help Teens Thrive and I Still Love You: Nine Things Troubled Kids Need from their Parents.
Training Rats to Save Human Lives and Training Humans to Save Humanity – Bart Weetjens is a Zen priest and social entrepreneur. He is the founder of APOPO, an international humanitarian organisation that trains rats to save human lives by detecting landmines and disease. His work was recognised by Ashoka, the Schwab Foundation to the World Economic Forum and he won a Skoll Award for social entrepreneurship. Based on a vision that wellbeing inspires well-doing, he joined The Wellbeing Project, to help shift the culture in the field of social change to a more caring and compassionate one, with more support for the inner wellbeing of social change leaders.
In this talk, Bart shares how he developed detection rats technology together with a team of researchers at Antwerp University in Belgium and Sokoine University in Tanzania, and how this research effort developed into a global humanitarian operation. He provides an overview of the life-saving actions of the so-called HeroRATs, how they are trained and what impact they have had so far in supporting vulnerable communities affected by humanitarian detection challenges, to tackle these problems more independently. Bart also shares why and how he then got involved in the Wellbeing Project, and shares some significant findings of the Wellbeing Project’s research and what the social change sector can learn from this.
Thursday, April 27th
Brain and Gender in Infant Social Development – Dr. Lise Eliot is Professor of Neuroscience at The Chicago Medical School of Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine & Science. In addition to teaching and writing, Dr. Eliot lectures widely on children’s brain and gender development. She is the author of Pink Brain, Blue Brain and What’s Going On in There? How the brain and mind develop in the first five years of life.
Mary Black is Assistant Director of Public Health, Health & Social Wellbeing Improvement with the Public Health Agency in Northern Ireland. Mary leads a wide programme of work to improve the health and wellbeing of the population, including emotional health and wellbeing and suicide prevention, working with partners across a range of sectors. She has held previous posts as the first community development and health officer in Northern Ireland, co-authoring the Moyard Health Profile, Health Action Zone Leader in Belfast and Health Improvement Commissioning Lead in the Northern Health and Social Care Board. In 1993 Mary was selected for the Special Visitor Program to the US for emerging leaders. Her entire professional career has been characterized by a commitment to reducing health inequalities. She has extensive experience in the community and voluntary sector, and is a former chair of the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland where she was a Trustee for seventeen years. The Foundation acted as a funder for local peace-building activity and influenced policy during the difficult days of Northern Ireland’s troubled past. She is a founding member and former chairperson of the Community Development and Health Network. She is an Honorary Member of the Faculty of Public Health and in 2008 was awarded a CBE for services to healthcare and the community of Northern Ireland.
Maurice Meehan works for the Public Health Agency in Northern Ireland (NI) as Head of Health and Social Wellbeing Improvement. In this role he has thematic responsibility for facilitating Early Years interventions that support the corporate theme of ‘Giving Every Child the Best Start in Life’. Key work developed includes increasing the profile of Roots of Empathy across NI, establishing an Infant Mental Health Strategic Framework and developing evidence-based parenting programmes and family support services.
The Elevation Education: The Art and Science of Helping Children Become Smarter, Nicer, and Happier – Joshua Aronson, PhD. is Associate Professor in the Department of applied Psychology and Director, Metro Center for Achievement Research and Evaluation, NYU Steinhardt, New York University – Experts disagree on the best approach to educating poor children, as can be seen in the variety of charter school approaches all aiming to nurture character and academic excellence. Dr. Aronson’s research over 25 years has examined intelligence and how it can be nurtured or impaired by social conditions, including poverty and prejudice. His talk will focus on how schools can better educate poor children – and not only make them smarter, but nicer and happier too.