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Centre for Building Sustainable Value

Grace Patterson

My name is Grace Patterson and I am currently a HBA 1 student from Toronto, Ontario. I am very interested in Finance and in particular Capital Markets. Previously, I studied Political Science at Western and passionately follow politics and world issues. Having grown up ski racing competitively, going to cottages, and attending an outdoors summer camp, I am passionate about fitness and being outdoors. Community involvement has always been extremely important to me and I am excited to add my knowledge from my extracurricular activities and work experience to the Ivey Sustainability Certificate!

Additional Information

What is your personal definition of sustainability? 

I view sustainability as a way of achieving your goals today without compromising the success of the future in any way. Throughout this year, I have realized that being sustainable means being responsible for not just your immediate results but means being responsible for all stakeholders now and in the future. I believe having a sustainable mindset involves redefining the idea of success to encompass environmental and societal considerations as well. 

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

I see sustainability coming into many aspects of my career through taking traditional business practices and making them more sustainable.  A particular interest of mine is the way in which financing through microloans can help alleviate poverty on a micro-level and fuel struggling economies on a macro-level. I plan on using the knowledge I gain in capital markets to eventually make a transition into the social finance sector. I believe there is a lot of work that can be done to better combine microloans into the traditional banking system, especially with the use of new technologies that can make microfinance platforms more feasible. However, I also hope to apply the lessons of sustainability that I learn from the sustainability certificate and outside research to my time at a traditional bank. I plan to shape practices at the bank towards being more sustainable from an environmental and societal standpoint. I have begun research to see whether there is a committee at the bank dedicated to this, and hope to instill one if there is not.  My belief of sustainability being a mindset that is beneficial regardless of career choice will help me apply sustainable practices into all aspects of my career.

What sustainability projects have you been engaged in?  

My first experience with microfinance was at Rise Asset Development, which provides microloans and mentorship for entrepreneurs with mental health and addiction challenges that cannot receive traditional financing. I am passionate about this organization as it combines entrepreneurship and finance with community involvement and poverty alleviation. The organization promotes sustainability as it allows individuals that struggle with finding traditional work to obtain employment through entrepreneurship and creates a positive feedback loop in their recovery. Another sustainable project I am involved in is Habitat for Humanity where I organize the local builds for Western’s chapter. Habitat builds consist of helping families in need build homes which are then sold to them at more favourable mortgage terms. Involvement in these builds allows me to be outside and physically active while also making a substantial difference in the lives of others.

Both Rise Asset Development and Habitat for Humanity are able to use alternative financing strategies to make a substantial difference.  On the environmental side, my family and I annually help the city of Toronto by assisting with their tree planting initiatives, this summer we are helping with mulching in the greater Toronto area.