Lessons From The Trenches:

1:45-2:45pm. Day 1.


Panelists: Mark Symes, Simplicity;  Sean Dunbar, Picaroons; Amanda Hachey, Conscious Brands


Facilitator: David Upton, Common Good Solutions

Straddling the traditional economic model of pure wealth creators and charitable givers, the social entrepreneur must navigate in the murky waters of being both financially successful and socially driven.  Hear how these social entrepreneurs are not only managing but thriving with this revolutionary model of economic prosperity for all.

David Upton

David has been using entrepreneurship as a tool for change for over 30 years. He has worked with Aboriginal groups in Canada’s North, youth and business development organizations, and all levels of government to develop sustainable entrepreneurial projects in recreation, arts, environment and business sectors.
 David has a special passion for working with young entrepreneurs.  As a key member of the Students in Business program,  creator of the Innovative Ideas Competition and co-creator of the Youth Social Enterprise Boot Camp, he has worked with hundreds of post-secondary students throughout Nova Scotia to develop student-led enterprise and social enterprise projects.
David is an active volunteer, having been a member of the Social Economy and Sustainability Research Network Subnode, which focused on food security in the Atlantic Provinces.  He is the founding and current president of the Atlantic Council for Community and Social Enterprise, and sits on a number of provincial and national committees to further develop the policy environment for investment and capacity growth in the sector.  He is a regular panelist and presenter at conferences and symposia on entrepreneurship and community development in Atlantic Canada.
David can be reached directly at david@commongoodsolutions.ca or 902.790.2600

Matt Symes

Matt is primarily responsible for engaging organizations in how they Design, Live and Tell their story. As Chief Executive Officer, he is charged with the same task internally at Symplicity Designs.


Matt has been doing Performance Excellence since 1982 at the tender age of 2. Matt and his younger brother were the primary test subjects in the evolution of Merv Symes’ career – Thankfully their mother had a good deal of influence in the final product as well. Matt completed his BA/BEd at the University of New Brunswick and then spent the next year teaching English in South Korea and travelling across much of Southeast Asia.


In 2007, Matt completed his MA at Wilfrid Laurier University and started his PhD that September.  In 2007, Matt started his own Photography & Graphic Design business (partnering often with Jason Freake) using Performance Excellence principles, methods and tools to help his clients get the most out of their web presence and social media strategy. In 2009, Matt began consulting and coaching organizations on Performance Excellence. He is thrilled to be able to work with clients to shift the organizational paradigm – Business is not a zero-sum game and Symplicity can show you the way.


In his spare time, Matt is still finishing a PhD in history at Wilfrid Laurier University and linked closely with the Laurier Centre for Military Strategic and Disarmament Studies where he designs and writes books on war, society and memory.  @Sym_Designs

Sean Dunbar is the owner of Picaroons Traditional Ales, Canada’s 2011 Brewery of the Year and one of only two B-Corp breweries in the country. Based in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Picaroons brews tasty British-style ales using time-honoured methods and ingredients.


In addition to his commitment to corporate social responsibility, Sean is a proud supporter of numerous regional arts festivals, community events and environmental causes.

Sean Dunbar

Amanda Hachey

Amanda is an Associate Sustainability Sherpa with Conscious Brands and works passionately to help communities and organizations leave this beautiful world even better than we found it! Through economic development and sustainability projects in the US, France, Panama, Vietnam, and Sweden, she has learned that business can be used to make incredible, positive change when including economic, social and environmental interests alike. Amanda uses innovative engagement and facilitation processes to help businesses realize their potential. Her strengths are in large group facilitation, strategic planning, and stakeholder engagement. Amanda has Bachelor of Business Administration from UNB Saint John and a Master’s in Strategic Leadership towards Sustainability from Sweden.


Conscious Brands is a boutique sustainability firm whose core purpose is to help businesses activate sustainability and integrate it into their DNA. For Conscious Brands, sustainability means when businesses thrive in harmony with the environments and the societies in which they operate. Since 2006, we’ve done this by guiding organizations into a cycle of developing strategic action and fostering collaborative learning about sustainability, in order to help transform their cultures from the top down and the bottom up. We know each organization is on its own journey towards sustainability – that’s why we see ourselves as Sherpas, guiding each of our clients on the path best suited to their circumstances. It’s an approach guided by two distinct principles: the African proverb that says “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go further, go together,” and T. Harv Eker’s idea that “how you do anything is how you do everything.”

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