Skip to Main Content
Centre for Building Sustainable Value · Rebecca Zuker, HBA '23 Candidate

Daniel Fuentes: Agent of Change - How an Ivey alum's journey to sustainable impact is shaping the future

Apr 13, 2023


Daniel at the WWF - Canada and Carolinian Canada Coalition 2020 Forum as an Innovative Finance panelist

Daniel Fuentes is a change maker who showcases his dedication to making a positive impact through an array of initiatives fueled by his deep-seated passion for advancing an agenda of change. 

Daniel Fuentes, MBA ‘17, strives to create meaningful change in everything he does. Ever since he moved to Canada over ten years ago, Daniel has demonstrated his unwavering commitment to finding the best solutions for social and political challenges, environmental restoration, international cooperation, and economic prosperity. Daniel has participated in North American roundtables with national security authorities to fight human trafficking and sexual exploitation, developed strategies to persuade the Canadian government to lift a visa requirement for Mexican citizens, and even spearheaded a Latin American engagement mechanism designed to economically empower internally displaced victims of conflict and violence. Through all of this, Daniel realized that sustainable and inclusive growth is a required element of the solution to these challenges. 

The ‘S’ in ESG 

Growing up in Latin America, Daniel recognized the increasing need for international collaboration from an early age. This prompted him to launch a first-of-its-kind social enterprise program in his hometown of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. The initiative provided computer programming training for teenagers and young adults, especially women, to increase access to education and business incubation. Daniel and his team of Canadian, American, and Mexican entrepreneurs gained national and international recognition and funding from the US, Mexico, Colombia, and Europe for this initiative.  

Fast forward a few years, and Daniel is now working on projects touching many pressing Latin American issues, including migration and internal displacement. This experience motivated Daniel to pursue an MBA, where he could further develop professionally to support bankable solutions advancing economic growth, social progress, and climate action. 

Exploring the intersection of social impact and profit 

The Ivey MBA propelled Daniel to dive deeper into understanding business opportunities for sustainability, assessing risks and mitigants, and effectively communicating with stakeholders throughout the business process. Daniel spearheaded the creation of the first Vice-President of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion role in the MBA Association. He also led a thought-provoking Ivey conference on sustainable leadership, and participated in national and international sustainability case competitions. 

A project that was very meaningful to Daniel was the Ivey Field Project. He and his team were paired with the non-profit Carolinian Canada, a network of leaders implementing efforts to reverse the trend of natural habitat loss in Southwestern Ontario. The project aimed to determine whether social enterprises could achieve their purpose-oriented vision while ensuring financial viability. 

“I specifically love this project because it provides business students with a unique opportunity to engage with companies who otherwise would not have access to this perspective to co-create innovative solutions to their everyday business challenges.” 

Through Daniel’s help, Carolinian Canada has launched what is considered a one-of-a-type alternative finance model in Canada, recognized by the Nature Conservancy of Canada as “an excellent example of Canadian leadership in pay-for-success models.” 

An impact-focused agenda  

After graduating from Ivey, Daniel managed Social Enterprise Southwestern Ontario, a regional partnership of business support service providers. He implemented professional development programs, coaching services for social entrepreneurs, and connected investors to enterprises interested in achieving social or environmental outcomes.  

Throughout his career, Daniel has led economic development and innovative finance initiatives including managing technical assistance facilities of blended finance investment funds in emerging and frontier markets in partnership with bilateral agencies, multi-laterals, and development financial institutions. 

He is now the Administrative Director of Climate Engagement Canada, a first-of-its-kind national investor-led mechanism to accelerate Canada's transition to Net Zero),  

After reflecting on his professional journey, Daniel advises students to take advantage of the Ivey network and its connections.

"Ivey has an extraordinary pool of professionals and an incredible network of support. Reaching out to alumni is one of the best ways to grow your network and learn more about the topics you are passionate about. Reach out!" 

To connect with fellow alumni, join Ivey's LinkedIn Sustainability Community.