For Claire Stokes being involved in meaningful work has always come naturally.
Now Strategic Development Manager at the Centre for Social Impact, Claire’s connection with UWA began in 2005 as a Bachelor of Music student and when she returned in 2013 to complete an MBA the units on social impact caught her eye.
“When I think back, I was already heavily involved in work that had a positive social impact, it just hadn’t been given that particular label.
“My background is entirely in the not-for-profit sector, I’ve always been motivated by what impact I can have on society through the work I do, so working at the Centre is a perfect fit," she says.
It was during her MBA studies at UWA that Claire became involved with the Centre, initially contracted to carry out a strategic review then expanding into projects across all functions.
“Most people don’t know this but the Centre is actually a collaboration of three universities: UWA, UNSW Australia, and Swinburne University of Technology.
“Our research focuses on finding novel solutions to the complex social issues currently faced by the people of WA and Australia. We don’t do this in isolation; we collaborate with the other universities and other stakeholders both at UWA and in the wider WA community.
“Through our courses we help students develop new ways of thinking that are essential to addressing the most complex issues facing our world,” she says.
As well as teaching an undergrad unit, Claire is also heavily involved in community engagement. Playing a lead role in July’s Social Impact Festival, she’s currently busy organising the 2016 Indigenous Business, Enterprise & Corporations Conference (IBECC).
“With everything from traditional academic seminars to more unique activities such as the ethical fashion show, our annual Social Impact Festival is a fantastic cross-industry event.
“It’s a time to gather with the WA community and take a moment, reflect on the past, and contemplate the future you want to see,” she says.
Claire says the upcoming IBECC provides an opportunity to talk about indigenous communities and business.
“Successful Indigenous entrepreneurs and community-based enterprises create many positive knock-on effects for Indigenous communities who are a disadvantaged group.
“This conference is about bringing together key stakeholders from across Australia to talk about the new opportunities for Indigenous people and communities being created by the rapidly expanding Indigenous business, enterprise and corporations sector,” she says.
Registrations are currently open for the Conference and Claire says anyone is welcome to attend.
“From Indigenous business leaders to fantastic grass roots stories the Conference will cover so much and we are really looking forward to it.
“One highlight will definitely be the conference dinner where Wayne Bergmann will give an address. The dinner is open to anyone regardless of whether you attended the conference,” says Claire.
For more information about the Conference, check out the website.