Amy Weinrieb. Social Innovation Associate. MaRS Discovery District.

Young Professional Series. Amy Weinrieb’s career story exemplifies the changing values of the millennial generation and their desire to have a purposeful career. Amy lives and works her values everyday as the Social Innovation Associate at MaRS Discovery District. MaRS helps create a culture of innovation in Ontario by supporting a vibrant community of social entrepreneurship and social good. A recent graduate of McGill’s B.Com program, Amy is a classic Purple Sheep someone who was looking for (and found!) a nontraditional job with purpose. As a client of MaRS ourselves, Bmeaningful has loved getting to know Amy. She makes us optimistic about the meaningful sector and the new workforce who believes there’s more to a job than just a paycheque.

Can you briefly describe your job?
I support  Allyson Hewitt in her role as Senior Fellow, Social Innovation and Director of SiG@MaRS. I’m responsible for keeping track of client statistics to evaluate our social innovation program and I also do a lot of research and writing projects.

What is a typical day like?
Each day brings something new! It can range from providing advice to bright entrepreneurs who are looking to change the world, to having coffee with those interested in making a career change into the field of social innovation and entrepreneurship, to planning the logistics of our next big event, and of course, responding to a never-ending inbox of emails.

As an entry-level position, my job is the perfect blend of administrative assignments, assisting entrepreneurs achieve their social mission and taking on projects that further my professional development. Not to mention the numerous opportunities to network and absorb the wealth of knowledge from fellow MaRSians.

Describe how you got your job?
This is my first “real” job. So my job search process began in my last semester at university. I knew that I wanted to pursue a nontraditional job with my B.Com but the Career Service department was not that helpful for this area. I did research on the type of firms I wanted to work with and had started to approach them asking for internships. An opportunity through school landed me an internship at The Centre for Social Innovation in Toronto.

I’ve always been a huge admirer and supporter of the work MaRS does and their career page was one of the websites I bookmarked and scoped on a daily basis (embarrassing, I know!). I saw the position online, applied, and went for the interview. I can still remember the shock and sheer happiness of receiving the job offer!

What advice would you give someone looking to get a meaningful job?
Like most millennials, I want to be able to live and work my values. I wanted a job that didn’t compromise my value and ethics while still making a living. What I didn’t realize was how challenging it was to find an entry-level job that allowed me to do both. Because the social economy is often resource strapped, it is difficult to find organizations that train entry-level employees. So I told myself, that if I wasn’t able to find a job within six months of my search I would start applying to more traditional jobs, work there for a few years, and gain the skills necessary to transition into a position that was more aligned with my values. I believe it’s okay to compromise in the short-term.  Finding a meaningful job is a journey, so it’s important not to guilt yourself if you need to compromise for a few years to be able to achieve your end goal!

What’s one thing most people wouldn’t expect to hear about having a meaningful job?
Just like any job, there are still un-sexy aspects to it. But the meaningful aspects of it TOTALLY make up for it!

What skills and or qualities are important to have to be successful in your role?
A passion for social enterprise, ability to think strategically, and people skills. A sense of humility is also essential, system change isn’t easy!

Best thing about your job: The people and the ability to see the direct impact of my work.

Biggest Challenge: Knowing when to say no to an opportunity.

Favourite Quote: Don’t make perfect the evil of good.

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