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Centre for Building Sustainable Value

Cynthia Liao

Hi there! My name is Cynthia and I'm currently an International Relations & Business Student. My passion lies in social entrepreneurship. I discovered my passion while travelling through Southeast Asia during my exchange at the National University of Singapore. I knew after seeing the destitution and poverty in certain countries that it would not be enough for me to live a life that is simply within the confines of the wealth and prosperity in North America. I want to devote my life's work to the service of improving the lives of others. I hope to acquire a strong set of skills and experiences that will help me make a big impact. You can read more about my experiences on my blog.

Additional Information

Personal Definition of Sustainability

Sustainability is a buzz-word thrown around far too often. To me, sustainability is about creating effective and efficient solutions that improve the lives of people around the world. It is about looking high-level, taking into account the political, economic and social context of a problem and finding an innovative and integrated solution. Sustainability is about reprioritizing, placing people before profit and finding ways to optimize both. I believe sustainability means creating for-profit business models that efficiently creates solutions and opportunities. As a business leader, it is not meaningful enough for me to simply improve sales or cut costs. For an initiative to have impact, it must improve the lives of other people, not simply a number on the balance sheet.

Sustainability-In-Action

In the summer of 2012, I was involved in an organization that managed low-income resident properties across the Greater Toronto Area. I was intimately involved with the residents of these properties and worked to build community and cohesion within the complexes in order to improve tenant-management relations. Improving tenant-management relations not only decreased tenant turnover rate but also acted as a mechanism of prevention for many social issues that typically plague such complexes: domestic violence, high school drop-out, unplanned pregnancy, drug abuse, etc.

I have also previously been involved in fundraising for the United Way Charity. By climbing the CN tower with 48 of my peers, we were able to collectively raise $12000. I have experience volunteering at subsidized summer camps, in which I had the opportunity to meet youth from low-income communities. By teaching computer literacy and offering them facilities to access digital resources, the camp had a great impact on diminishing the effect of low income on early education.