monark and the sector logos side by side, partnership

monark homepage image, girl with phone showing monark app

The Sector is proud to be supporting the great work of Monark

Founded in 2020 by Kelsey Hahn (CEO) and Amanda Julian (chief science officer), Monark is a mobile app that delivers personalized and on-demand leadership development programs.

Named after the Monarch butterfly and its four life stages, Monark strives to go beyond the traditional solutions offered by consultants, coaches, and business schools. Instead, it provides an integrated and customized experience for leaders at all levels.

Addressing Inequitable Systems

blue sky and sign held up that says "equal rights"

However, despite progressive strides in equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI), women, people of color, and newcomers still face substantial roadblocks in rising to senior leadership roles. This barrier stems not from a lack of skill or ambition, but from existing corporate cultures that lack effective tools and data-driven methods to support emerging diverse leaders.

What is the Social Innovation

image of monark app

In response, Monark’s approach centers on a tangible solution. A digital platform designed to optimize leadership skills for new and emerging leaders at scale. Uniquely, it utilizes a blended model combining live cohort-based learning and a robust, machine learning-powered app with personalized micro-learning, nudges, and feedback to drive lasting behavior change. Research shows one-off passive courses fail on outcomes, whereas Monark’s ongoing, expert-guided cohorts enable accessible learning for all.

Fundamental to Monark’s vision is ensuring equal leadership potential for all. With businesses playing a pivotal role, boards and executives should reflect the diversity of their customers and communities. Therefore, Monark partners with organizations to integrate their offering into EDI strategies, improving business outcomes with a spectrum of skilled leaders at the helm.

What are the Intended Outcomes for Monark

diverse group of people in leadership meeting

With this approach, Monark anticipates transformative outcomes. Primarily, the expectation is that organizations will broaden the horizon of leadership training. Extending it to an even larger proportion of their workforce via Monark’s scalable approach. This includes a particular emphasis on those who have been historically underrepresented in leadership roles. As a result, individual employees will be empowered to undergo meaningful behavioral shifts, internalizing and exemplifying effective leadership practices. The ripple effects are manifold: a heightened employee experience characterized by longer tenures, increased engagement, and reduced burnout rates. Additionally, the fostering of a more inclusive environment paves the way for robust performance across the board.

The Bottom Line: Opportunities to Collaborate

Organizations that want to improve their leadership skills and include leadership training in their diversity programs should contact us. Monark believes that with teamwork, dedication, and new ideas, we can create a future where all leaders can thrive and make a difference.  An impact investors dream, per Crunchbase data, Monark previously raised $600,000 in angel investments in 2021. It is also backed by University of Calgary’s UCeed startup investment fund, a key partner of The Sector. It is our continuing honor to support these incredible social entrepreneurs along their systems-changing journey.

graphic of circular economy

By: Gurbeen Bhasin, MA, MSW (ED/Founder of Aangen: A Community Service Organization)



While studying my Masters in Social Work, I began to realize how the “system” was set up. If someone wanted to survive in the nonprofit or charitable sector they had to write grant applications, make sure all the reporting was done appropriately for the funder AND determine these grants “fit” with the grantee organizations goals and services. This was absolutely NOT how I wanted to live my life in this chosen profession.

The Need for a New System for a Circular Economy

I wanted to help the community right away when needs came up, not wait for funders and donors. I wanted to create a new system where the organization made enough money to support itself and respond quickly to needs. This was not easy but possible.

At the time, there was no name for this idea (now called a “social enterprise”). But I was determined to find ways a nonprofit could make money from products or services to support itself and address real needs in real time.

If you want to do this, first ask: “What product or service will the community need and buy that my organization can provide?” Next identify the need and customers. Then secure the supply chain and set competitive prices.

That’s the business side of the equation of a social enterprise. The other side is the service or support you and your organization are helping with.

This equation can be seen by looking at a bicycle. The front wheel is the business side of the equation, while support comes from the back wheel of the bicycle. In order to provide a service, an organization needs to generate income. To put it simply, they need to be in harmony with one another.

Social Enterprise Bicycle Model: Front Wheel = business / income generation Back Wheel = community service

bicycle with 2 wheels leaning against wall, symbolize circular economy

A Circular Economy: Supplying Meals to a Shelter

I can share a concrete example of how the social enterprise bicycle works and in fact how this led us to create a circular economy. In 2018, I was asked by a housing agency in Toronto if Aangen could supply meals to a respite shelter. Luckily, we had already been running a café and had relationships with local farmers and restaurants so we knew a bit about the food industry. We were able to respond to this need immediately.

Aangen sourced all the ingredients, hired a number of people and created about 1,000 meals a day ALL in a matter of a week’s time! This is the TRUE power of a social enterprise: the ability to mobilize resources and ACT in REAL time!

Let’s break this down into manageable bits so it’s easy to digest.

  1. Identify the situation: We need to make 1,000 meals a day.
  2. To address this situation, we need to:

    • Source raw materials through food rescue and purchases
    • Hire employees from agencies supporting those needing jobs
    • Obtain a kitchen space with the city’s help
    • Arrange meal delivery through a donor’s vehicle
    • Calculate costs versus revenue
    • Budget to generate a profit and reinvest into the community
  3. Identify allies: who’s doing this already that I know and can learn from?
  4. Figure out how to add ALL the principles and values of social enterprise to the equation.
  5. Build out the circular economy aspect of the model so it’s complete.

In a circular economy, nothing is waste. The circular economy retains and recovers as much value as possible from resources by reusing, repairing, refurbishing, remanufacturing, repurposing, or recycling products and materials. It’s about using valuable resources wisely, thinking about waste as a resource instead of a cost, and finding innovative ways to better the environment and the economy.

The Power of Aligning Social Enterprise Principles

social enterprise 4 p's

To create a circular economy, you need to understand your social enterprise goal and values.

We needed to make 1,000 meals daily. How could we do this?

For raw materials: What could we rescue rather than buy? We obtained unused food that would otherwise be wasted from grocers and food rescue organizations. After ensuring it was safe, we incorporated these ingredients into our menus. For any remaining needs, we purchased items and used reusable and recyclable materials to minimize waste.

For employees: We reached out to agencies helping newcomers, refugees and those needing job skills. This approach created hundreds of jobs!

For the kitchen: The City of Toronto helped us find an underused kitchen to use. A donor who owns a car dealership helped us get a vehicle for delivering meals.

We also planned to compost our own food scraps and share compost with partners who could provide more unused food.

Finally, we budgeted to generate funds for operations and programs.

Social enterprise and the circular economy empower people, planet, profit and purpose. Aligning these creates self-sustaining change.

The beauty of social enterprise and the circular economy is that you can create an incredible impact on so many fronts, but most critically: people, planet, profit and purpose. The alignment of these values is the KEY to generating self-sustaining change and true empowerment.

The Path Forward with The Sector

The Sector is currently working with Aangen to develop a data-driven business plan to be well-positioned for social finance opportunities. This plan will provide a case to expand its manufacturing capabilities that will achieve scale to serve a greater population to grow its impacts while achieving cost efficiencies. This enables Aangen to put its principles of being a “social enterprise” to practice – scale impact in a financially sustainable way!

The Sector is utilizing its expertise to structure the business plan with the information and analysis that demonstrate viable growth potential and opportunity to serve a wider population, which aligns with many impact investors’ due diligence requirements. Not only will Aangen produce a well-supported business plan from this process, it will gain knowledge and skills to build the capabilities required to produce this analysis on a go-forward basis. This will enable Aangen to continually explore social finance opportunities in the market.

Learn more about Social Enterprise + Circular Economy

Everyday Heroes Kids: How Canadian Families are Fighting to Get Healthcare for their Children

There are many challenges and disparities faced by families when accessing care in our fragmented system.  In order to create a more seamless experience, innovative solutions must continue to be supported by the Government of Canada and ecosystem collaborators.

Children’s Healthcare Canada states that, “If we could transform the system of health and services to be more accessible and easier to navigate, that would be the most profound change we could make.”

The problems we have today are not cyclical in nature and what we are going to see in the coming years are things we have never seen before: mental health challenges rising at epidemic rates, one in five children have a learning disability, Autism diagnoses increased by 70% over last decade and an estimated 1.5M new immigrants to Canada in the next 3 years.

As Canadians, we need to think in a pre-emptive manner, not in a reactive manner – this is the cost-effective way. Everyday Heroes Kids (EHKids), a free online community, is trying to accomplish a transformational change to our healthcare system – right injustices and improve access to care for even the most remote populations or those with the least access to care.

“Although these providers are exceptional performers, boundaries and barriers to proper care are created by a lack of integration, and children and families are left to integrate their care on their own.” – SickKids 5 Year Strategy 2015-2020

women helping children in school

Finding the Right Professional at the Right Time Can be Life Changing for a Child

Tammany Petrie is a mom of 2 sons, one born profoundly deaf and her other son diagnosed with ADHD.  As a former SickKids parent mentor volunteer and the advocate for her own children, Tammany experienced first-hand the challenges

Tammany founded Everyday Heroes Kids after frustrations trying to find professionals to help her kids. Searching online gave the same few names over and over across Canada. More resources existed but couldn’t be found!

Knowing families deserved better, Tammany’s team spent 2 years developing a solution at St. Michael’s Hospital’s accelerator.

In 2020, they launched EHKids. It connects families to profiles of health and mental health professionals and organizations. EHKids improves access to all the resources parents need, even ones unknown. The goal is earlier intervention, saving time, money and stress.

The Sector began assisting EHK in 2020 through its Investment Readiness Program. This enabled EHK to expand its platform, generate revenue and access social finance. The Sector provided expert guidance on EHK’s Theory of Change and impact measurement.

The Sector sees EHK’s potential for significant medical impact on children. It could positively transform Canada’s healthcare system as a social enterprise.

Connecting Care, Canada-Wide with Everyday Heroes Kids

Currently, parents/caregivers struggle to find professionals, especially for the first time. The process is slow, heightening concern, stress, unknowns, and fear.

Everyday Heroes Kids solves access to kids’ care and accessibility for professionals. It reduces time to connect children who need care with the right professional. Faster connections improve outcomes for all.

Their current roadmap priorities are to increase the number of professionals and organizations on the platform, raise awareness among families and to improve on their existing desktop application (before investing in an app) in order to  extend their reach and impact across Canada.

The Bottom Line

EHK makes an innovative request for your support to transform healthcare in a way many NPOs desire. This sends a message of real change that people can feel – not just talk about.

Since its launch, Everyday Heroes Kids gained support from the Government of Canada, pediatric hospitals, NPOs, professionals, sponsors like Rogers Communications and Cochlear Canada, and national features. The platform now includes over 1,000 professionals and organizations. Users have performed over 140,000 searches.

Everyday Heroes Kids, supported by The Sector has been able to get past the proof of concept stage and establish a strong foundation to support the pediatric community.  However, they are looking for ecosystem partners to help prove the impact EHKids is capable of on a national scale and ensure they can continue to deliver this free service to families across Canada and break through to that higher level.

Their team has done the leg work and have taken it to this point. We all know it is a problem, and now they need the right ecosystem collaborators/change agents around them to make this come to fruition so that we can ensure kids in need of care receive the care they need.

“Canada ranks the poorest for Children’s health and well-being outcomes of the countries with strong economic, environment and social systems.” – UNICEF Canada

co-operative care alliance photo

The Sector is grateful to support Simon Berge at Karma Co-op. Our partnership is growing because we share the same mission – to create positive change for the good of people. By working together, we can transform senior care through new cooperative models that empower workers and improve quality. Our alliance is committed to building an equitable, compassionate care sector that leaves no one behind.

The Need for Innovative Elder Care Models

elderly people having fun together

The way our society cares for its elders is undergoing an exciting shift, thanks to innovative organizations like the Co-operative Care Alliance (CCA). CCA is pioneering a new, community-based co-operative model for senior care that aims to keep seniors independent and empower care workers.

Founded in 2019, CCA is a non-profit cooperative association seeking to transform the senior care sector. It acts as an incubator that helps home care workers convert their individual businesses into co-operatives. This shift gives workers more control, better wages and benefits, and a real say in care decisions.

For example, CCA has supported the launch of the Home Care Workers Co-op, which enables personal support workers to manage their own co-operative. This allows workers to focus on providing quality care rather than maximizing corporate profits.

Advocating for Policy Changes for Co-operative Home Care

home care is accessible to elders easily

In addition to incubating worker-owned co-operatives, CCA advocates for policy changes to make co-operative home care more accessible. It also acts as a care provider itself – hiring personal support workers directly and connecting them to clients.

The goal is to scale the cooperative model to offer families an empowering alternative to nursing homes and for-profit home care agencies. With 10,000 baby boomers turning 65 every day, innovations like CCA will be essential to meet the growing need for dignified, community-based senior care.

By taking care of care workers first, CCA helps build an equitable and sustainable care sector that treats both seniors and caregivers as valued human beings. The cooperative approach represents an inspiring evolution in how we care for our aging population. It puts people over profits and quality care over corporate bottom lines. CCA offers an exciting glimpse into the future of senior care.

Read the full article, here

new regent park sewing studio for neighborhood women, empowering community

Supporting the Centre of Learning & Development’s Programming and Initiatives 

The Sector has supported the work of the Centre of Learning & Development (CL&D) for over two years by empowering community. Specifically, we have supported initiatives focused on employment readiness and social incubation. CL&D was founded in 1979 as East End Literacy. In 2006, it changed its name to reflect expanding initiatives and ongoing dedication to development and inclusion. Today, CL&D offers programs in: Adult Literacy, Leadership Development, Immigrant Integration, Civic Engagement, and Skills Development.

Research to Adapt CL&D’s Immigrant Women Integration Program 

Most recently, we finished a project researching CL&D’s Immigrant Women Integration Program. This free training readies newcomer women through certifications, classes, research, mentoring, and placement. Our research focused on adapting the program for the post-pandemic world. We ensured offerings meet employer needs, leverage trends, and address skills gaps. This research also supported CL&D’s application for Career College status.

Empowering Community Regent Park Sewing Studio Social Enterprise 

Additionally, we are fostering the Regent Park Sewing Studio social enterprise. This group of neighborhood women design, sew, take orders, teach classes, and sell at markets. They have a long partnership with OCAD’s DesignWITH hub focused on upcycling. With our support, they will formalize their partnership, develop sustainability plans, and grow their audience. We are honored to support CL&D’s continual innovation and inspiring empowerment in downtown east Toronto.

The Bottom Line: 

The Sector has supported the Centre of Learning & Development’s continual innovation and inspiring community empowerment through conducting research, providing advising, and fostering social enterprise. CL&D exemplifies anchoring community leadership. We look forward to our continued collaboration and are excited to see what’s next for this visionary organization creating real social change in downtown east Toronto and beyond.