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Certificate in Social Impact for Professionals first of its kind in Canada

Today’s business leaders are increasingly expected to be ready and willing to tackle the most pressing social needs from the environment to human rights, from poverty to civic engagement.

To meet this growing demand the Centre for Social Impact at the Smith School of Business is now offering a Certificate in Social Impact for Professionals to provide today’s business leaders with applicable skills while at the same time fostering professional networks. Led by the centre’s Director and Smith faculty, Tina Dacin, the certificate is the first of its kind in Canada that equips managers with best practice approaches to integrate social impact considerations into core business and organizational strategies.

"Certificate for Social Impact for Professionals"
A first in Canada, the Certificate in Social Impact for Professionals will provide business leaders with best practice approaches to integrate social impact considerations into core business and organizational strategies. (Supplied Photo) 

Since 2004, the Centre for Social Impact has offered students at Smith the Certificate in Social Impact, with more than 500 graduate and undergraduate students earning a certificate alongside their degree programs.

The newly-launched professional program is comprised of two two-day sessions –Social Finance Academy and Leading with Impact – with both hosted at Smith’s Toronto campus. To earn a full certificate, professionals must apply their learning to an independent or team project exploring issues of social impact specific to their workplace.

Joanna Reynolds, Associate Director, Centre for Social Impact, says that while business schools have historically produced great talent in traditional fields such as business development, business management, accounting and marketing, there is a growing expectation that aspects related to sustainable development goals such as climate action, and reducing inequalities, be included in a business education.

The Certificate for Social Impact program has forged such a path and now emerging skill sets are available for working professionals.

“This program and others we offer at the Centre for Social Impact support Smith students and working professionals to gain foresight into how changing social issues will impact their industry and society as a whole and provide them with new skills needed to affect change,” Ms. Reynolds says. “Additionally, gaining insight into how values apply to a changing business and community landscape is critical to navigating competing tensions and uncertain environments. These skills and new mindsets help to equip our graduates to be responsive and effective in their areas of expertise.”

The Social Finance Academy is being offered Nov. 23-24 and the Leading with Impact program is scheduled for Nov. 30-Dec. 1. Registration is currently open.

Under the direction of Dr. Dacin, the Centre for Social Impact is also currently developing the Diversity and Inclusion Professional Series, to be first offered in Spring 2018.

The first session of the series will be the LGBTQ+ Professional Leadership Program.

“The Diversity and Inclusion Series is one way to address and support the diversity gap in senior leadership roles,” says Ms. Reynolds. “While society needs many ways of doing that, one is to build mentorship and peer relationships that support real change in leadership roles. That’s an exciting program for us.”

Subsequent offerings will focus on such topics as Women in Leadership, Indigenous Leadership, and programs for newcomer Canadians, Ms. Reynolds adds.

Other offerings from the Centre for Social Impact include the Social Innovation Bootcamp (Oct. 13-14 and March 9-10), for students to apply solutions to social issues that communities are grappling with  and the Social Impact Summit (Nov. 10-11), a conference program that brings together leading academics and practitioners  from across  Canada. This Summit offers panel discussions, skill building workshops and networking opportunities, for students across Queen’s campus to explore issues and topics in the area of social impact and responsible leadership.