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Annika Lui: Prioritizing systemic change - An HBA grad’s navigation of how to best drive catalytic change

Aug 17, 2023

Annika Lui Spotlight Photo (1)

Annika Lui's journey to being a sustainability champion originated from a family trip to Alaska. Annika is currently pursuing a law degree and aims to bring a sustainability perspective to corporate governance in hopes of a better tomorrow. 

Back in high school, Annika Lui, HBA ‘18, went on a family trip to Alaska to see the glaciers. What stuck with her about this experience were the alarming signs that indicated the glaciers were melting. Little did Annika know that this would mark the start of her journey towards creating a more sustainable future. 

Merging business with social and environmental sustainability at Ivey 

Motivated to create positive societal change and equip herself with the tools for success, Annika was determined to get into Ivey, especially so she could enroll in the HBA Sustainability Certificate. Annika also wanted to surround herself with other passionate, ambitious, and purpose-driven individuals. During her time at Ivey, Annika's favourite classes were both part of the Certificate: Social Enterprise and Impact Assessment. Social Enterprise gave her insight into business models that balanced profit and sustainability. Impact Assessment taught her how organizations can effectively measure their impact and communicate the value created, a skill highly desired in job seekers. Annika was also active in promoting equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) within the Ivey community, being on the co-founding team of EDI@Ivey, a student-driven organization that aims to equip future business leaders with the tools and knowledge to be allies and advocates for equitable change in the Ivey community. 

Making an impact in the start-up space 

Following her time at Ivey, Annika worked in both the start-up and non-profit space. Her role as the Acceleration Program Director at League of Innovators allowed her to support and mentor young Canadian entrepreneurs running start-ups in any sector. She even got the opportunity to work with start-ups founded by Ivey alumni. During her tenure, Annika took the initiative to build relationships with clean-tech start-ups and recruit socially and environmentally-driven companies to participate in the program. Annika brought with her an additional purpose to teach companies not yet focused on sustainability how to incorporate it in their business models. For companies who already had a sustainability focus, the program helped them seek funding and mentorship opportunities to accelerate their growth. 

Annika also worked as Venture for Canada’s Diversity and Inclusion Director on their Alumni Council. Venture for Canada provides fellowship opportunities for individuals interested in the start-up space. In her position, she developed resources and conducted workshops on how to bring an anti-white supremacy lens to the workplace, dismantle oppressive systems, and understand privilege. In the workshops, groups analyzed how these topics impact social relationships within a business context. Annika's dual degree in Global Culture Studies was a great asset to her role. 

Paving the path toward systemic change 

Currently, Annika is studying law at the University of Melbourne in Australia. Law excites Annika as she aspires to create change on a more systemic level. She aims to combine her legal education with her experience in businesses and non-profits in order to bring sustainability to corporate governance. Annika is particularly interested in promoting environmental, social, and governance practices within companies that must play a significant role in addressing the climate crisis. 

Annika firmly believes the number of opportunities in sustainability roles will continue to grow. Her advice to students is to approach these opportunities with their unique passions in mind and bring their whole selves to the table.  

“The future of sustainability to me looks like everybody coming to the table with powerful perspectives on the environment, social justice, and human rights. Conversations around how we bring that to our work and the decisions we make every day can be incredibly transformative.” 

By integrating sustainability into all work and engaging in complex dialogue on these important topics, Annika believes that we have the potential to drive powerful and transformative impact. 

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