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5 summer experiences working in Social Impact

Earlier this summer we launched Toronto’s Most Meaningful Summer Internships – an initiative to highlight careers in the impact sector. In its first year we showcased internships at organizations making important contributions to the impact sector and took you inside their organizations for a sneak peek at what it’s like to work there.

Today as many of us go back to school, work etc, we go back to the interns to ask them how their internships and summers went. We found out what they worked on and how their experience has shaped their career path or views of the social impact sector. Hear what the interns from Toronto’s Most Meaningful Internships had to say:

Grand Challenges Canada

AmnaName: Amna Manzoor

School: Schulich School of Business, York University

Major/Program: Bachelors in Business Administration, Honors

Job Title: Investment Summer Student at Grand Challenges Canada

Describe what you worked on over the summer. 

I have been working as a member of the investment team, which aims to deploy financial capital to organizations and projects providing sustainable solutions for global health problems prevalent in low- and middle-income countries. Grand Challenges Canada (funded by the Government of Canada) funds and supports the scale up of these innovations to accelerate their impact. I have been involved in providing support to both front and back end deal processes ranging from due diligence to the actual negotiations for $4.6 million worth of investments aiming to improve and save the lives of more than 40 million people around the world. The exciting aspect is that these investments provide sustainable and high impact solutions to an array of global health issues serving a wide range of low-resource geographical areas.

How has this summer experience shaped your career aspirations?

During a conference organized by Grand Challenges this summer, I had the opportunity to meet three innovators whose projects were going to be scaled. Simply listening to the enthusiastic and dedicated innovators, tackling health issues with their unique innovations, and the impact on lives it already started to have, was truly a meaningful experience for me. It made me appreciate the Grand Challenges approach, which is establishing a platform to allow such impact to be created by taking innovations from the seed funding stage to leveraging their potential to create meaningful and sustainable impact on saving and improving the lives of millions.

Thus, having the opportunity to be exposed to this impact investing space allowed me to shift my initial focus from traditional corporate finance towards social finance and venture capital that is better aligned around the scope of work I would like to engage myself in, which is work that matters and holds meaning.


See what it’s like to work at Grand Challenges Canada.




Name: Katie Verigin

Job Title: Solutions Lab Intern

School/Major/Program: I first started university as a business student and took courses at both Bishop’s University and UBC. Over the past year, my internship with genomics.entrepreneurship at UBC connected me with researchers, entrepreneurs, educators and mentors who helped me learn about a range of topics from genomics to lean startup methodology and science communications. Next year I will be studying Arts and Sciences and everything in between at Quest University.

Describe what you worked on over the summer.

My main project this summer was designing an open source social innovation toolkit. The goal of this toolkit is to inspire and empower people to tackle the complex problems we currently face as a society – while also providing a framework for understanding and action as to how systemic change can happen. So yes, I had quite the challenge this summer. I also got to work on a few other things including Civic Design Camp Toronto, The Dutch Royal visit to MaRS and some reporting for the New Solutions for Youth Unemployment Lab.

How has this summer experience shaped your career aspirations?

I have no idea where I want to be, or what I want to do when I start considering myself a grown up, but I’m learning that ambiguity can be really exciting. There are so many opportunities out there to do amazing work and I see so much value in trying out all the things you’re interested in.

One thing I do truly believe is that there is power in interdisciplinary teams who value individual interests and differences. Solutions Lab was an amazing opportunity to be part of a team like this; I had so much to learn from every single person, and it really made me appreciate the people factor of innovation.


See what it’s like to work at MaRS

MLSE Foundation

Braeden HeadshotName: Braeden Szucs

School: University of Ottawa

Major/Program: Masters of Human Kinetics: Specialization in Sports Management

Job Title: MLSE Foundation Fundraising & Events Intern

Describe what you worked on over the summer. 

This summer I had the pleasure of working on various projects with MLSE Foundation as the Special Events & Fundraising intern. I was integrated into all of the summer signature fundraising events. The largest event I was able to work on was the MLSE Team Up Challenge, which is a multi-sport event sponsored by Ford. Teams of eight-10 participants sign up to take part in the event and must raise a minimum of $5,000. The money raised goes towards Camp Trillium, an organization that supports children with cancer and their families. Another major event I had the opportunity to work on was the Hockey Canada Foundation Celebrity Gala. This event highlighted both the 2015 Hockey Canada World Junior Team and the 2015 Hockey Canada World Men’s Team. The last signature event that I worked on was the Leafs & Legends Golf Classic. In addition, I took on several small research projects with a goal of finding opportunities for MLSE Foundation to strengthen their fundraising efforts.

What’s the one thing you would share with your classmates about working in the social impact sector that they might not expect to hear?

The social impact sector isn’t very rewarding (financially) as most people know, however what often gets forgotten is how meaningful these impacts actually are. Working in this sector will open your eyes to tragedies that are occurring around us every day, but it will also provide you with some perspective into how small events can dramatically alter someone’s life. Providing disadvantaged families with positive experiences proved to be very rewarding and something I will not forget. I was also lucky enough to have some one-on-one time with some of these affected individuals. The social impact sector will open your eyes and change your outlook on life in a positive way.


See what it’s like to work at Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Foundation


public inc.

473058_10151681400477425_1570983596_oName: Cole Banning

School: Ryerson University

Major/program: Marketing Management

Job Title: Account Manager Intern

Describe what you worked on over the summer. 

Working as an Account Manager I had the opportunity to be involved in more projects then I can count. From flying to Ottawa to launch the new Dementia Friends Canada initiative, to helping coordinate the redesign of a new website for Indigo Love of Reading. I was quite lucky to be kept busy with a wide variety of challenging projects.

How has this summer experience shaped your career aspirations?

I was fortunate to end up in an internship doing something I love. Being an Account Manager at Public Inc. has been everything I had hoped it would be. I have been working at a job where I could apply my skills, while also making a positive impact in the world. As far as future job aspirations, I now have a much clearer picture of what employment will be fulfilling, and what a job needs to include for me to be satisfied.


See what it’s like to work at Public Inc. 


ArlieMillyardName: Arlie Millyard

School: University of Toronto

Major/program: Biochemistry and Psychology 

Job Title: Project Coordinator Intern

Describe what you worked on over the summer. 

I worked on several programs over the course of the summer. For one I started from the beginning, leading the hiring process for a team of installers, then coordinating the scheduling process for installations including training and managing the call centre team. I also took over management of two public outreach programs for three weeks, making sure our representatives were prepared for their events. Near the end of the summer I was responsible for a research and recruitment project for our local business association, where I got to get out into the neighbourhood and talk to business owners.

What’s the one thing you would share with your classmates about working in the social impact sector that they might not expect to hear?

The people you work with in this sector might surprise you. Everyone is working towards similar goals, but often for very different reasons, with very different backgrounds. Not everyone has the same motivations as you.


 See what it’s like to work at Summerhill


ps- The National Post covered Toronto’s Most Meaningful Internships here

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