"Recently, Mary Ellen has provided her expertise and guidance to my start-up to help us develop our societal purpose. She helped us shift our thinking away from the 'what' of our business to the 'why'. Her process was easy to follow and her stakeholder-focused approach encouraged us dig into the nuts and bolts of our business to find the best way to communicate 'why' we do what we do. Mary Ellen does a fantastic job of meeting you where you're at - whether you already know about the benefits of being a purpose-driven organization or whether purpose is a new concept, she is effective at communicating the missing pieces and guiding you along the discovery process. I would recommend Mary Ellen to any founder or leader who is committed to growing their business while having a positive societal impact."
- Matt Hardwick; co-Founder, Chickadee Invest
"Collaborating with Mary Ellen was an absolute pleasure! Her authenticity and passion for my project's mission and vision were evident from the very beginning. Mary Ellen took the time to deeply understand each layer of our purpose, helping us to focus on our North Star and refine our messaging. Throughout the process, she provided invaluable creative insights and ideas that truly inspired me during our jam session. I can confidently say that anyone struggling to effectively communicate their brand's story and purpose would benefit immensely from a session with her. "
- Lucy Lei; Founder, Roots Collective
2016 to 2022:
"Mary Ellen is able to approach an issue not just from a transactional point of view but by employing a systems lens approach. She is invested in growing business as a force for good and she uses her extensive network, skills and abilities to make that happen.
Her leadership at the Social Purpose Institute, based at the United Way of BC, showed her ability to apply innovation to create great social impact. Starting any project like that requires great tenacity and Mary Ellen has that in spades while also being a great collaborator who is deeply engaged in realizing successful outcomes. She is a class intrapranereur, applying entrepreneurial thinking to tackle tough challenges.
If you are seeking an experienced leader with a "can do" attitude who understand how to work effectively with others, I would recommend you take a serious look at Mary Ellen."
- Allyson Hewitt, previous VP Impact MaRS Discovery District and now President and CEO, Enactus Canada
"Mary Ellen is a visionary leader and ecosystem builder. She mobilizes people and resources and builds innovation pathways for system change. As a manager she brings out the best in people and inspires everyone to new heights. She is courageous and principled and sees opportunities where others see barriers. Mary Ellen is impact and results driven and a global expert in accelerating the Purpose Economy in which the economy is powered by social purpose business. She is someone you will want on your team or to lead your team."
- Coro Strandberg, Purpose Advisor to United Way and President, Strandberg Consulting
"I have known Mary Ellen in a professional capacity for more than four years. In particular, I saw her build the Social Purpose Institute into a force to be reckoned with. Through her time there, it is clear that she can take an idea from conception to implementation, deftly navigating a multi-stakeholder universe, and take a values oriented approach to value creation ("values to value"). What's more, she has a diverse sectoral background which makes her a well-rounded executive."
- Peter ter Weeme, Chief Social Purpose Officer and VP, Player Experience, BCLC
"Thanks Mary Ellen for helping us find our purpose, we are so much better for it!"
- Tony Scott, CEO, Pro-Claim Group & Platinum Pro-Claim Restoration
LinkedIn article about Purpose in action:
Adopting Social Purpose: What I’ve learned 12 months later; https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/adopting-social-purpose-what-ive-learned-12-months-drew/ by Drew Collier, CEO LGM Financial, and past Purpose client in my previous role:
(see my LinkedIn for more: https://www.linkedin.com/in/maryellen-schaafsma/)