About Our Chapter
Calgary+Acumen is a volunteer-run chapter of Acumen. Founded in 2012, our mission is to champion entrepreneurship as an effective and sustainable vehicle to tackling poverty. We are driven by the desire to increase awareness of the potential that impact investing has to make sustainable change, and to build a community in Calgary that can implement these ideas.
Far from being passive observers, +Acumen chapters make tangible impact in their communities. Chapters around the world have helped to educate social entrepreneurs, bring awareness of these ideas to business leaders, and have helped catalyze change by supporting the growth of community leaders. Critically, chapters have also mobilized financial resources to entrepreneurs through early-stage grants via case competitions, some select investments, and are experimenting with the use of crowdfunding to allocate capital to start-ups. All the while supporting the investments that Acumen makes overseas.
Meet the team
Alix Linaker, Co-chair
Alix is immersed in the social impact space, volunteering as co-chair for Calgary+Acumen and working at a local social purpose consultancy – Creating Value Inc. She recently completed a Community Economic Development Certificate through Simon Fraser University, which complements her BBA Honours degree. Traveling whenever possible, she interned at an NGO in Greece, studied abroad in Finland, and is off to Europe again this summer to work remotely and adventure. On weekends you can often find her in the Rockies exploring.
Acumen’s patient capital model resonates with my own beliefs. In my business past, I struggled with a lot with the capitalistic concepts, and as I learned more about charity and aid, I struggled with their inherent flaws. Acumen’s model meets in the middle. I also love Acumen’s mission of building a world based on dignity and empowerment – who are we to say what others need? On a local level, I’m thrilled to be a part of spreading awareness about Acumen and bringing together local changemakers.
Mikhail Klassen, Co-chair
Mikhail is a technology entrepreneur and a data scientist. His background is as a physicist and he has a PhD in astrophysics from McMaster University and a B.Sc. in applied physics from Columbia University. It’s partially this quantitative training that drew him to the Acumen Fund: a model for sustainable development that invests patient capital in people and ideas, and empowers them to be active participants in the global marketplace.
Mikhail is interested in evidence-based policies and practices, and in communicating the Acumen model for social change within Calgary. Outside of his work with Calgary +Acumen and his tech startup, he sometimes consults on tech projects for global health.
Vidya Crawley, Marketing & Communications
Being both a global citizen and passionate localist, Vidya loves sharing the stories of purpose-led entrepreneurs making a difference. After reading Acumen’s manifesto she knew she wanted to help build this community of social innovators.
For nearly 15 years she has been an enabler of business as a force for good – creating triple-bottom-line strategies, promoting human-centred design and starting her own social purpose business in the farm-to-table sector. Vidya enjoys being a left-brain/right-brain hybrid and is currently an Entrepreneur Strategist at ATB Financial’s Entrepreneur Centre.
Danielle Carruthers, Marketing & Communications
Danielle is thrilled to be involved with Calgary+Acumen thanks to a shared passion for inspiring entrepreneurial problem-solving and the design of innovative, financially-sustainable and impactful initiatives.
Danielle is founder of theSedge.org, and co-founder of Changemakers Association, both online communities that provide learning opportunities to social entrepreneurs around the world.
In the summers you’ll find Danielle soaking up patio rays with a thirst-quenching local brew. In the winters you’ll find her riding the snowy slopes of a nearby mountain.
Alix comes to Calgary + Acumen with a diverse background both working within the corporate world and as an avid volunteer with local non-profits supporting the Calgary community and tackling poverty. Alix has a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Psychology from The University of Alberta and a Masters of Business Administration from The University of Calgary.
Alix is passionate about the intersection of society and business and sees entrepreneurial thinking and impact investing as viable avenues to tackle poverty and create sustainable change.
Alejandro is currently pursuing his MBA at the Haskayne School of Business, and is the current President of the Haskayne MBA Society. He learned about Calgary +Acumen in one of his first courses on campus and has been involved in some capacity ever since. He really enjoys spending time with like-minded individuals, and helping entrepreneurs alleviate poverty.
Jeff Coombes, Salon Lead
Jeff is extremely interested and passionate about the natural world. He has an enthusiasm for the outdoors, spending much of his free time in the mountains hiking, snowshoeing and snowboarding.
Jeff’s second passion is surrounding himself with friends and family. He also enjoys practicing yoga and playing golf. He is an avid traveler with plans to visit South America in the summer of 2016.
Jeff holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the Haskayne School of Business. Currently, Jeff is completing his Masters of Science in Sustainable Energy Development at the University of Calgary. As part of his studies, Jeff is working in conjunction with a company in the oil and gas industry to research a technology that can be used for purifying produced fluids from hydraulic fracturing operations.
With over 15 years of experience in customer service, Jeff is skilled in business analysis, system development, leadership training, and coaching. In his spare time, Jeff volunteers with organizations such as Green Calgary and Ronald McDonald House Charities. Furthermore, this year, he had the opportunity to act as the President of the Sustainable Energy Development Society at the University of Calgary.
Jeff is excited to join the Calgary+Acumen team and looks forward to the year ahead.
Erin Poeta, Workshops
Erin graduated from the Richard Ivey School of Business in 2010 with an Honours Business Administration degree and a certificate of Global Leadership for her academic and professional experiences abroad. Erin consults for board of directors on Corporate Governance and Executive Compensation matters.
Erin has dabbled in the world of impact investing in many capacities since helping pioneer Ivey’s first social enterprise club.
Kevin Hanson, Finance team
Kevin is a Professional Engineer with over ten years experience working in the oil and gas industry in Calgary. He has been actively involved in the past with Engineers Without Borders, holding multiple roles such as Calgary Chapter Co-lead, National Conference Finance lead, along with overseas Professional Fellow on the Malawi Water and Sanitation sector team.
Kevin is an enthusiastic off-the-beaten-track traveller, certified Rescue Diver, avid arthouse cinema goer and aspiring to become a skilled salsa dancer. Kevin is passionate about applying his volunteer experience and financial management skills to the Calgary Plus Acumen chapter in pursuit the eradication of poverty.
Peter Chung Wai Ip, Marketing & Communications
Peter will be finishing his Bachelor’s of Commerce degree majoring in Energy Management with a minor in Development Studies in fall 2016 and is planning to pursue a Master’s degree in Global Affairs afterwards. He is passionate about solar energy and global development, having being part of the University of Calgary Solar Car team for the past two years. His entrepreneurial thinking and passion has driven him to join the Calgary +Acumen team as a Social Media Coordinator and help spread the message of Acumen.
Jordana Armstrong, Partnerships
Jordana is passionate about the power of using market-based solutions to tackle the world’s most pressing social and environmental challenges. In her current full-time gig she analyzes new social innovations coming out of the University of Calgary and provides strategic direction for UofC social enterprises.
In her free time, she works with a Montreal-based charity that provides entrepreneurship training for women artisans around the world, frequents the Calgary restaurant scene, and travels whenever and to where-ever she can.She has lived/studied/worked in Victoria, Montreal, New York City, Hong Kong, Chile, Bolivia, Italy, and her hometown of Edmonton.
Jordana is excited to see the community of practice for impact investing and social enterprise continue to evolve in Calgary, and is looking forward to contributing to that community over the next year along with the great folks on the Calgary Plus Acumen team.
Pratik has a background in Electrical Engineer, with a recent Masters in Business Administration from Haskayne School of Business. He has a variety of experience working with Billion dollar conglomerates, Small businesses, and not for profits. He is interested in Finance and marketing, and intend to use his skills to help tackle issues faced by the society.
He is currently involved with Calgary Dollars, operating a complementary currency to create a sustainable local economy and helping vulnerable population with providing alternate means of earning. He joined Calgary +Acumen with an intention to work with likeminded people and use his skills for the good of the society.
Danielle Gibbie, Partnerships
Danielle is currently the General Manager for the D. Keith MacDonald Foundation where she manages a philanthropic fund that is focused on sustainable initiatives in health, education and business within East Africa. As part of her role, she is developing a network of international funders in Calgary to provide opportunities for knowledge sharing & building, project idea generation and syndication of funding.
Prior to this, Danielle was the Lead of Partnerships for a startup social enterprise focused on engaging Millennials in philanthropy. Danielle is a graduate from Mount Royal University, with a Bachelors degree in Business Administration focusing in Social Innovation & Nonprofit Management. During her university career, Danielle was the President of Enactus Mount Royal; a nonprofit organization that empowers students to create innovative projects that address social challenges in their community. In this role, she led a team of 50 students to achieve success and national recognition for their social innovation projects.
Danielle has an innate curiosity for using the power of business to create sustainable change; she believes in challenging the status quo and has a heart for adventure.