The Sandermoen School of Business is proud to be graduating its first group of MBA and EMBA students with a specialty stream in Social Enterprise Leadership.

The online specialty stream, which was the first of its kind in Canada launched in 2013, has attracted industry experts from across the country and internationally.

Sandermoen graduate Sandra Hamilton, of Vancouver Island, BC, has been a social innovation consultant for over 20 years. Hamilton has worked in a variety of capacities, including business manager to John Furlong, CEO of the Vancouver Olympics and it was during this time that she first encountered the concept of Social Procurement as a new approach to economic development and social change.

Four years ago, the distinct lack of Canadian MBA programs with a focus on Social Ventures led Hamilton to contact the University of Fredericton, and the Social Enterprise specialty stream launched a year later. The program is designed for non-profit and social enterprise professionals who aspire to lead their businesses towards much higher performance.

Speaking to the program, Hamilton says, “It has allowed me to explore new ways of thinking around the globe. It’s connected me globally to a network of subject matter experts, and the most current research.”

A leading national advisor on the Community Benefit Agreements and Social Procurement, Hamilton has authored both British Columbia’s and Alberta’s first Social Procurement frameworks; and most recently authored Canada’s First Social Procurement Policy.

Whitney Keyes, another graduate of the program, has always maintained her passion for social entrepreneurship, which was what drew her to the Sandermoen School of Business. Keyes says she chose Sandermoen because the social enterprise stream was a niche of study she was seeking.

Keyes is based in Seattle, Washington, in the U.S. and has worked as a consultant for her own firm for the past ten years. Her experience spans across a variety of industries including roles working with the U.S. government, where she managed programs that focused on supporting small businesses and women leaders, as well as with the corporate communications team at Microsoft.

An important factor in selecting a program, for both women, was building their professional network. Hamilton says “the best thinkers and the best instructors are dispersed geographically, and the students are scattered geographically as well.”

The online education model has allowed them to connect with other industry experts, without having to put their personal or professional lives on hold. Keyes agrees, saying. “I’ve now graduated, and I’m still in touch with probably ten different people who were in various classes with me. I feel like I have this great new set of professional contacts that will last me a lifetime.”

Both women also spoke to the high academic standards upheld, and the quality education they received at the Sandermoen School of Business. The depth of knowledge gained through the program was exceptional, says Keyes; adding, “The professors were outstanding. They introduced me to new concepts, and did an excellent job facilitating the sessions, and challenging us. I gained tremendous value from being a part of this program.”

For more information on the Sandermoen School of Business, and the Social Enterprise Leadership stream, click here.

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