Mark Brand is one of North America’s foremost social entrepreneurs. With 11 businesses under his belt, he is an example of a new form of leadership that encompasses good in every step. Determined to breathe new life into our struggling and disjointed communities through his work in social impact business, Brand shares his message on the importance of sustainable business models that make a difference, while also creating successful bottom lines.
Several years ago, Brand took over Save On Meats, a Vancouver-based institution that has provided food security and access since 1957. In 2013, he created The Token Program, an alternate currency to feed those in need without a cash exchange. Since then, more than hundreds of thousands of tokens have been redeemed, filling empty stomachs, and creating a interactions between those who have and those in need in Vancouver. The Token Program has launched with partners from San Francisco to Nova Scotia.
In addition, in partnership with his charity A Better Life Foundation (ABLF), more than three million meals have left Save On’s doors to feed those who struggle. Additionally, dozens of people who were formerly homeless have found a home. ABLF works with community agencies, marginalized individuals, and governments to create tangible waves of change.
Along with overseeing five organizations under the MB Inc. umbrella, Brand is a Stanford fellow, professor of innovation and design thinking, and has served as executive chef for the American Refugee Committee and Pope Francis’s Climate Challenge. It’s through his cooking, advocacy, systems design, and love for his community that he’s found a unique balance in business and purpose.
Brand has recently been appointed Chair of the United Nations Catalyst team focusing on food security, and the impacts of current systemic structures on the most marginalized. At the root of everything he works on, his belief is that the solutions are all attainable with deep cooperation and the understanding there is no “Us and Them, only Us.”
Building Businesses Beyond the Bottom Line
Mark Brand will lead us through his personal journey of shifting his 11 food and beverage businesses from a strictly for-profit model, into being a global leader in Social Impact Businesses. By shifting his priorities from profit to people, image to impact, and leveraging all of his network to focus the last 12 years on doing truly good business, he will show us how practicing daily givebacks has improved every part of his businesses and created a deeply sustainable, joyful, and net positive structure that’s replicable across our industry.