Hello – my name is Julia Delafield and I am excited to introduce myself as the new Associate Director of the Centre for Executive Education.
Just a few months ago, I was lucky enough to sit in on one of Mohit’s workshops. It was titled “Unpacking Happiness,” and explored positive psychology and how to apply it to everyday life. As part of the exercise, Mohit asked us all to think of an ‘ah-hah’ moment we have had in our lives that helped define future paths. I immediately thought back to my first job coming out of college, with an amazing non-profit that worked with smallholder farmers and community forest managers. In return for assuming sustainable practices, the organization helped them access markets willing to pay a higher price to support their work.
Throughout the 4 years I spent with the job, the work was both rewarding and challenging, and proved to be a very good fit for me. I am an environmentalist at heart, and I was able to focus on Latin America and live in Mexico for a few years to help open a new office there. I learned about cooperatives and different production systems, fascinating topics to absorb. But toward the end of my stint with the organization, I was asked to identify what I had most liked about the job. My ‘ah-hah’ moment came when I tried to dissect the experience, and I realized that I didn’t just appreciate the Spanish immersion and green practices. To me, the most fascinating part of that first job was to see firsthand how people could be empowered to seek their own destiny, and how markets could give people this opportunity.
Social enterprise. Sustainable business. Hybrid non-profits. It’s a fascinating world, where capitalism meets the promotion of well-being, and humanitarian organizations gain sustainability by raising their own funds. It just makes sense. It empowers people to carry out good, creating lasting systems to engrain best practices and social justice into businesses and organizations.
In the many years that have gone by since that first job out of college, I’ve done a lot of different things. I’ve traveled around, worked in both the for-profit and non-profit sectors, and gotten a couple of master’s degrees. My focus, however, hasn’t changed. I still believe in the strength of market-based social change, and I still think that the more people we can empower to pursue their dreams and give back, the stronger the world will be.
Most importantly at this juncture in my career, I believe that the Centre for Executive Education stands for all these values, and helps people convert their aspirations into reality. I’m overjoyed to come aboard, and sincerely hope that my experience and enthusiasm can help the Centre grow and prosper.