Systems Change in the Sector: Global xChange 2020 Recap

This year’s EWB conference was different than years past as we looked toward bringing together a broad spectrum of stakeholders from different social innovation ecosystems. On February 19 & 20 entrepreneurs based in Africa and Canada along with Canadian Chapter members , EWB Fellows, thought leaders, impact investors, philanthropists, and future change makers were all on-hand as we celebrated the past and looked thoughtfully towards the future; a true Global xChange.

Day 1 saw our official MCs Adi Chaudhuri and Nancy Owusu (they were amazing!) welcome all of our delegates from Africa and across the country. They were followed by opening remarks from our EWB CEO Boris Martin whose remarks included the following quote:

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

This set the entire tone as a small but mighty group of EWBers came together to learn and share ideas. This lead to our opening Keynote from Nicole Verkindt, Tech Entrepreneur and Founder of OMX. Her presentation “Your Advantage in a Changing World” spoke about the creation and growth stages of innovation; in particular how a crisis is often the exact thing that sparks it. Sharing her leadership story about using creativity and entrepreneurship to make supply chains more inclusive was a perfect example of transformative innovation that benefits thousands of people.

Our next speaker was Joel Hilchey, Leadership Expert and Motivational Speaker. A former EWBer himself, Joel not only gave the audience a free copy of his book “Brainsprouting” he also spoke on various topics including three reasons we resist change: awareness, fear, and Identity. Did we mention he juggled mouse traps? Well he did and the crowd thoroughly enjoyed his session.

The afternoon lead to breakout sessions which included a gathering of past and future cohorts of Junior Fellows, public speaking with Kaitlyn Olmsted, conscious leadership with JS Cournoyer, systems mapping with UBC Member Seif Wadi, Scaling business with Chad Spain, and finally an amazing activity conducted by EWB’s Advocacy team using memes and other tools to advocate for increasing Canadian Aid.

Day 2 began with breakout sessions about getting people to care with May Rouhani, climate change with Dale Marshall, equity and social inclusion with Dr. Wayne Poirier, unpacking gender equality with Karen Craggs and a panel connecting Canadian &  African tech ecosystems.

After lunch we had an enlightening session with Ed Clark, Chair Vector Institute and Former President and CEO of TD Bank Group before our Venture partners came on stage to present their work.

Our closing keynote was the wonderful Zahra Al-Harazi, Leadership Expert and Strategic Advisor who shared her compelling story and shared some words of Wisdom:

“Volunteering your time is beneficial to yourself as well. It takes knowing what your priorities are. If you want to succeed, you don’t succeed alone.” 

Zahra concluded her keynote and signed copies of her new book for the EWB Community.

The EWB Global Xchange 2020 conference was a tremendous success where we came together to strengthen our bond as a community as well as our commitment to EWB’s mission and values.

Thank you to our sponsors: Global Affairs Canada, The Anna & Louis Viglione Foundation, Future of Good, Victoria University in the University of Toronto, and the University of Toronto Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering. 

Special thanks to: Eschaton Solutions, The Canada-Africa Chamber of Commerce, and the Business Council of Canada

Most importantly a special thank you to our speakers, panelists, and delegates who made our conference one of the best we’ve had, an amazing launch point for EWB activities and events for 2020. 

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