Joel Gehman appointed director of the Canadian Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility

Gehman shares his plans as he embarks on the new role.

Newly appointed director of The Canadian Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility (CCCSR), Joel Gehman, likes to work at the nexus of innovation and sustainability.

“All of my research and teaching is either about sustainability or about innovation—but ideally it’s about both,” said Gehman, who is also a professor of strategy, entrepreneurship and innovation at the School of Business. With his research focused on sustainability, entrepreneurship, innovation and strategy, Gehman has committed his studies around corporate sustainability and how companies can think about sustainability in a strategic way. 

It is Gehman’s commitment to research that makes him well-suited for his newly appointed role of academic leadership for the Canadian Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility, a global research-intensive centre that fosters discovery and innovation in the way business is used to contribute to the social good of communities and their enhanced quality of life.

Previously, Dev Jennings held the leadership role for seven years while Gehman served as associate director. 

‘I am looking to reinforce our past success,” said Gehman. As part of his planning process, Gehman looked back at the organization’s 20-year history and was reminded of the Centre’s legacy of innovation— a legacy that includes the creation of one of Canada’s first Net Impact chapters in 1999. The chapter was also the first in Canada to obtain the coveted Gold Status in 2011 and has managed to continuously hold the designation for over a decade.

At the same time, Gehman is collaborating with Leo Wong, associate dean of the Undergraduate Program, on new ways to engage with BCom students through the development of new courses, a possible certification program and a new annual event for students. To further engage BCom students, Gehman invites any interested students to connect with him directly should they have any ideas on what the next generation of BCom education can look like in this area.

In terms of research, the Centre will continue to bring together faculty from all parts of the School of Business with issues related to sustainability and social impact. Research themes include” 1) justice, equity, diversity and inclusion, 2) tech for good, 3) energy transition and climate change, and 4) sustainable finance and reporting (e.g., ESG)—with much of the research also connecting to the University’s signature areas on energy, gender, artificial intelligence and indigenous peoples.

Still in his early days of leadership of the Centre, Gehman sees a lot of potential in the future.

“I think there is a lot more the Centre can do to both hear from the community while also giving back,” said Gehman. Plans for more integrated outreach include updating the community with the latest ideas coming out of the Centre’s research and connecting students with career opportunities. He also aims to facilitate important conversations around sustainability and social impact with alumni, students and stakeholders.

In order to ensure the long term success of the Centre, Gehman remains focused on fundraising, an essential component for the Centre’s continued operations.

“Now is a pivotal time in the Centre’s continued development,” adds Gehman. Fundraising will determine how much the CCCSR will be able to do and anyone interested in supporting the work of the Centre are encouraged to connect with them directly.

With plans to reinforce past success while moving forward and proactively convene with the community and build strong relationships, the future of the Centre looks bright.