Emily Lamb

Emily manages the Changemaker Campus network, a collective of post-secondary institutions dedicated to making changemaking a norm in higher education.

HEC Montréal Recognized as Ashoka U Changemaker Campus

May 3, 2020 – Ashoka U recently recognized HEC Montréal as an Ashoka U Changemaker Campus during the virtual 2020 Ashoka U Exchange on April 17. The recognition was accepted by HEC Montréal Director, Federico Pasin. It is the result of a rigorous, multi-year process and recognizes the institution’s commitment to social innovation and changemaking education.

HEC Montréal, is the first Francophone institution to be designated an Ashoka U Changemaker Campus. It joins approximately 45 designated colleges and universities globally that collaborate to make social innovation and changemaking a new norm in higher education.

Founded in 1907 and known as Canada’s first business school, HEC Montréal serves over 14,000 students and has a keen focus on advancing research in social innovation and sustainability. It is committed to educating generations of business leaders who see themselves as social entrepreneurs, and for whom the bottom line is defined by creating a better world. HEC Montréal fulfills those aspirations, in part through its social entrepreneurship hub, IDEOS; its interdisciplinary master’s program in Sustainable Development Management; and its international Social Business Creation competition just to name a few.


Key Insights from Leading Change

Earlier this year, Ashoka U visited with Dr. Johanne Turbide, Secretary General, and Laurence Beaugrand-Champagne, Project Manager, IDEOS, two leaders of the changemaker initiatives, and reflected on the institution’s journey in changemaking.

In honor of their recent recognition, we’re pleased to share our conversation and key takeaways useful for any post-secondary institution seeking to spread its social innovation and changemaking initiatives.   

Ashoka U: When did you first think of social change as an important part of education?

Johanne Turbide (JT): When I saw that several members of our community were aware of inequities, social and environmental problems, and they felt that they had the power to change things. Future managers, entrepreneurs, and researchers are a powerful group to listen, document, and invent coherent and long-term solutions.

Laurence Beaugrand-Champagne (LBC): I understood that it was important when I started my master’s degree at HEC Montréal. I understood that organizations and institutions are micro-societies that have a significant impact on society in general and that, if we want to achieve global change, we need not only to change individual perceptions, but also the way organizations work. HEC Montréal has proven to be a good playground for me because we are in constant contact with future managers and administrators who could play a central role in organizations and their teachers. To influence them positively and to sensitize them is, to some extent, approaching a global social change. 

AU: What does becoming an Ashoka U Changemaker Campus mean to your campus community and your students?

JT&LBC: It is a recognition of the work done by many actors in our community, including students. It also demonstrates our true ambition to continue in this direction. It is a clear form of encouragement for students who share these values and who have the desire to be engaged workers and citizens—future managers who will pave the way for deep change. We are really proud of the way the process unfolded and the valuable learnings we have from this experience. 

AU: What did you learn as you aspired to make an institutional commitment to social impact education?

JT&LBC: As leaders of change, we learned that collaboration is not only a key from a theoretical point of view; in practice, it has proved necessary. We learned a lot from dialogue with the community, but now we have a better understanding of our [full institution and who is engaged in social impact work]. 

AU: What are the top three suggestions you have for any person who is trying to encourage their institution to focus on social impact?

JT&LBC: (1) Make a map of your [campus] ecosystem, identify what is already done, and who are the stakeholders; (2) Meet the people behind these initiatives, create vectors of communication, and mobilize them; (3) Remember that “alone, I go faster; together, we go further.”


With special thanks to Johanne and Laurence for their time and consideration. Merci beaucoup! Interview and Notes by Dr. Victoria Abboud, former Director of Changemaker Education, Ashoka Canada.