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Fueling success through continuous learning: How an MBA alum devotes his time to creating impact

Sep 6, 2023

Alanlo Spotlight

Alan Lo, EMBA ‘18, embarked on a journey focused on creating positive change since completing his EMBA program at Ivey, taking on projects that promote social and environmental impact. He is driven by his dedication to lifelong learning and passion for sustainability. 

Alan Lo, EMBA ‘18, wasn’t always as heavily involved in sustainability as he is now. 

Alan initiated his foray into the business world by establishing a wealth consulting firm catering to high-net-worth families. At the same time, he was enrolled in the Executive MBA program at Ivey. As time passed, Alan began to feel he had learned as much as he could from running this business, and it was time to move on.  

A journey to embrace impact 

In 2018, Alan founded Stratwell Advisory, a consulting practice offering advice to small and medium-sized enterprises. After exiting his wealth consulting business towards the end of 2019, Alan set his sights on amplifying the scope of Stratwell Advisory, focusing on the delivery of capital advisory services. However, the anticipated launch in 2020 was derailed by the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced Alan to reevaluate his plans. 

“I entered a period of self-reflection, thinking to myself, ‘Why did I go back to school and end up selling my business? What led me to do what I've done?.’ My thoughts kept on gravitating to the concept of impact as an area that I can fully immerse myself in.” 

Alan continued his learning journey by connecting with industry experts in impact and sustainability. These conversations helped him better understand the landscape and identify areas where he could maximize his impact. 

Alan’s Ivey experience played a crucial role in this process. A sustainability class led by Oana Branzei opened his eyes to impact finance and the importance of sustainability in the business world. A masterclass series on human-centric design he took at Western also encouraged him to be more thoughtful about his career path. 

Through these experiences, Alan realized that he needed to center his practice around creating meaningful impact. Eventually, he decided to shift his business’ focus toward making a positive impact on society. 

Finding the means to create positive change 

Through the journey to impact, Alan stumbled upon a unique opportunity to engage in meaningful work as a subcontractor with the Sorenson Impact Center, a non-profit organization affiliated with the David Eccles School of Business, University of Utah.  

Through engagement with the Center, Alan participates in projects primarily centered around using finance as a tool to amplify impact, including initiatives related to outcome-based financing. His role involves everything from project management to financial modeling, research, and identifying new opportunities. He has contributed to projects in different impact areas such as mental healthcare and affordable housing, and served diverse communities including indigenous populations. He has also provided recommendations to government, emphasizing a more considerate approach to leveraging their assets. 

Committing to life-long learning 

To this day, Alan remains committed to his ongoing learning journey, continuously seeking knowledge about his role in the business world and how to make a positive impact. Learning was vital to his involvement in different projects as he continued to discover areas within impact that align best with his interests.  

A recent collaboration with a real estate asset management firm had Alan helping with the development of an impact framework. This work opened his eyes to the inaccessibility of housing in Canada and potential solutions to the problem. He wishes to continue to be thoughtful in directing his resources and energy to endeavours that not only generate positive outcomes but also address his individual aspirations. 

Alan’s advice to students is to cultivate a curious mind and embrace continuous learning. For Alan, the growth of sustainability and impact relies on intentionality, learning, adaptation, awareness, and active dialogue among professionals who are eager to explore the potential for collaborative impact creation. 

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