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Centre for Building Sustainable Value

Dannielle Sakher

In my first two years in the Sociology program at Brescia University College, I explored society and grappled with its problems. I chose to pursue an HBA at the Ivey Business School to gain skills to strategically approach these problems. Ivey’s Certificate in Sustainability will bridge my passion for social advancement and business development.

I am committed to volunteering for the causes most important to me, including education, gender equality, empowering youth, and economic development through entrepreneurship and technology. I am especially passionate about advocating for women from a feminist perspective to alleviate domestic and international human rights issues.

One of my biggest accomplishments through my volunteerism has been raising over a quarter of a million dollars for cystic fibrosis and cancer research.

Additional Information

What is your personal definition of sustainability? 

Sustainability is an interdisciplinary decision-making process with the mission of long-term growth and development. Sustainability cannot be achieved with only a business lens – instead, business professionals must collaborate with experts in social impact and resource management to work towards a common goal. This goal is maintaining a triple bottom line: running a responsible organization that is socially, environmentally, and economically sound. These three forces must be aligned for an organization to experience long-term prosperity in the global landscape. Ultimately, I define sustainability as the true method to running a prosperous business. 

What role do you see sustainability playing in your professional career? 

My idea of sustainability has been challenged on numerous occasions. Each day, I learn more about what sustainability means and how it manifests itself in the private, public, and not-for-profit industries. I plan to continue discovering the social, economic, and environmental implications of practises across these three sects through my professional career. I see sustainability perpetuated in all aspects of my career – through work, volunteering, and leadership experiences.

Throughout my career, I plan to stay committed to volunteerism towards empowering women within the not-for-profit space. In developing countries, women are the foundation of their communities. Research has shown investing in women can lift an entire nation out of poverty. I plan to work with an international not-for-profit organization or social enterprise that provides microfinance loans and other support to budding female entrepreneurs in developing countries.

I believe entrepreneurship and technology can drive global economic growth in a sustainable way – my work experience upcoming summer is aligned with this value. I will be professionally engaging in international business through my internship at Shopify Plus, a start-up that provides enterprise e-commerce for large multinational organizations. My contributions will fuel economic growth by helping businesses with their development efforts. I plan to continue exploring the technology industry, as companies in this space are creating positive rapid change in the world.

What sustainability projects have you been engaged in?

I am actively involved in the not-for-profit community at Ivey, Western, and the London community.

Last summer, I led 800 Soph orientation volunteers in fundraising efforts for the Terry Fox Foundation and Cystic Fibrosis Canada, respectively. I collaborated with Textbooks for Change, a social enterprise, to lead the largest textbook drive of over 12,000 used books to be resold for fundraising, donated to African universities, or recycled efficiently. Overall, my team raised over $130,000 for cystic fibrosis and cancer research that year.

Through Ivey’s Community Consulting Project in my first semester of HBA1, I worked with a team to provide pro-bono consulting for a not-for-profit organization that provides settlement services for international newcomers to Canada. To help increase sales for their social enterprise division, a workplace diversity-training service, I developed a comprehensive marketing and sales plan. This successfully attracted more profitable customers for the NPO which increased their self-sustainability while boosting intercultural awareness in Canadian workplaces.

I act in a leadership role as my Class Representative on Ivey’s Not-for-Profit Club. My efforts to connect HBA students with professional opportunities in the not-for-profit industry has promoted careers in business sustainability. I am also participating in the club’s Volunteer Intern Program, in which I am conducting fund development research for the Sunshine Foundation of Canada.