Frances Westley joined the University of Waterloo as the JW McConnell Chair in Social Innovation in July 2007. In this capacity she is one of the principle leads in a Canada wide initiative in social innovation, SiG (Social Innovation Generation), a cross sectoral partnership to build capacity for social innovation in Canada funded by the J.W McConnell Family Foundation, University of Waterloo and the Ontario government. At University of Waterloo she leads a research team dedicated to understanding social innovation, and has designed both graduate and undergraduate curricula in social innovation.
Dr. Westley is a renowned scholar and consultant in the areas of social innovation, strategies for sustainable development, strategic change, visionary leadership and inter-organizational collaboration. Her most recent book, Getting to Maybe (Random House, 2006) focuses the dynamics of social innovation, and institutional entrepreneurship in complex adaptive systems. Experiments in Consilience (Island Press, 2004), focuses on the dynamics of inter-organizational and interdisciplinary collaboration in the management of ecological and conservation problems.
Before joining the University of Waterloo, Frances Westley held the position of Director, Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies (2005-2007) at the University of Wisconsin- Madison. Other positions she has previously held include the James McGill Professor of Strategy at McGill University’s Faculty of Management, director of the McGill-Dupont Initiative on Social Innovation and director of the McGill-McConnell Masters program for National Voluntary Sector leaders – an innovative executive masters customized for the leaders of voluntary organizations across Canada.
Frances Westley serves on numerous advisory boards including Resilience Alliance Board of Science, World Conservation Union-Conservation Breeding Specialist Group, the Stockholm Resilience Center, the SARAS Institute and Evergreen Canada. She is on the editorial board of several journals, including Journal of Applied Behavioral Science and Ecology and Society. She is the recipient of several awards including the Ulysses S. Seal award for innovation in conservation and the Corporate Knights Award.
Prior to entering the post-secondary field, Cheryl Rose gained professional experience in capacity development for social service organizations. Her extensive background in both local and national leadership initiatives enhanced her role as the Citizenship and Leadership Educator and Community Service-Learning (CSL) Specialist on the University of Guelph campus, where she developed four national award-winning programs and research projects. She was the founding Executive Director of the Canadian Alliance for Community Service-Learning and for more than three years, she encouraged the development of post-secondary courses and programs across Canada to facilitate effective teaching and research partnerships between academics and social sector agencies. In 2007, she joined Social Innovation Generation at the University of Waterloo, directing Partnerships and Projects for this new national initiative. As a key member of this collaborative, she works closely with Dr. Frances Westley for strategic program, network and communication development.
Ms. Rose holds a Masters of Science degree in Capacity Development and Extension Studies, and she presents widely on Leadership for Social Innovation, Enhancing Individual and Organizational Resilience, and Creating Effective Networks. Her work has previously been spotlighted on CBC News and in University Affairs. She has published in the international journal, Capacity.org, and in a national university-based magazine Communique, Her writing focuses on building partnerships in complex environments and the role of individuals and organizations in strengthening social systems. She also contributes to Social Innovation Generation publications, and is currently involved in a case study of organizational collaborations in Waterloo Region.
Ms. Rose is a founding and/or contributing member on a number of regional and national committees, including Community-Based Research Canada, as well as, Community Innovations Project, an initiative to strengthen the social sector system in Waterloo Region.
After studying at the University of Guelph, Anita started working at the Canadian Association for Community Service-Learning in its formative years. This national organization helped shape her commitment to building community capacity, the role of the education system and the engagement of young people for the greater good. What was missing for her was the face to face interactions with people - the stories that fueled the work. She began to work as the coordinator of the Laurier Center for Community Service-Learning in its inaugural year and became quite engaged and committed to the Kitchener-Waterloo community. Her current work with Social Innovation Generation at Waterloo is focused around sharing resources about social innovation to diverse audiences. Outside of work, Anita is a scuba diver, photographer and dedicated aunty. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Research Associate and Inter-Module Director, Graduate Program in Social Innovation
Seanna joins the team with a diverse range of experiences focused primarily on water governance issues. While completing her undergraduate degree in Applied Geography at Ryerson University, she became keenly aware of water governance issues as a result of discussions around bulk water exports out of the Great Lakes. This drew her into international water issues, and she continued with a Masters of Environmental Studies at York University. Her research was focused on the Millennium Development Goals for water, and she worked with the Global Water Partnership in Uganda and Kenya. Taking a break from academic pursuits, Seanna spent time working with Imperial Oil in Sarnia, the Ontario Ministry of Environment, and Pollution Probe. These experiences gave her a valuable cross-sectoral perspective. Before joining SiG, Seanna was working on her PhD in Geography at the University of Waterloo. Her research focused on the Lake Simcoe watershed, and utilized Social Network Analysis to examine the changes in governance over time. While completing her PhD Seanna also worked with the Centre for Teaching Excellence in the Certificate in University Teaching at UW. Seanna's role at SiG focuses on managing the Graduate Program in Social Innovation, under the direction of the Program Director, as well as being a research associate under Dr. Frances Westley.
Kristen joins the team as the Program Assistant for SiG@Waterloo. Kristen brings more than 15 years of professional administrative experience from the government, social profit and business sectors. Prior to joining SiG, Kristen planned conferences at the University of Guelph, started a hot and healthy lunch program for elementary schools and planned logistics at Leadership Waterloo Region. Her background in event management and community leadership development training has prepared her to play an active role on the SiG team and contribute to the Graduate Diploma in Social Innovation.
A History graduate (BA), Sam worked as a teacher in the UK and then Kenya, and it was during his time there that he became determined to work to address our most pressing social challenges. He is extremely excited about making a contribution to social innovation in Canada.
Nina is a mother of two young boys, and has lived in the Waterloo region for over 20 years. Nina worked in the Wellness and Beauty Industry for 10 years where she gained experience working with small businesses throughout her community. Nina is integral part of the Social Innovation Generation team.