Wednesday, February 14, 2024 11:30 am - 1:00 pm EST (GMT -05:00)

WICI-WISIR Panel Discussion at Kitchener City Hall: Community Wealth Building

WICI Director Dr. Sean Geobey brings community leaders Naudia Banton, Manager of Waterloo Region Small Business Centre, Trevor Charles, Executive Director of LiftOFF, Eric Avner, President and CEO of Waterloo Region Community Foundation, and Carla Leon, President & CEO of Just Like Family Home Care, together to Kitchener City Hall to share their perspectives on community wealth building.

Join WICI and WISIR at Kitchener City Hall on Wednesday, February 14th from 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. for this exciting discussion!

After an immersive morning in the Community Wealth Lab between University of Waterloo students of Sustainable Business Models, Health, Environment, and Planning courses, students from Conestoga College, and a variety of community business leaders,  the conversation will turn to a WICI-WISIR panel discussion on the topic of Community Wealth.

The Panelists:

Naudia Banton

Naudia Banton, Manager of Waterloo Region Small Business Centre, is an innovative force with a background in entrepreneurship and talent management, Naudia has worked across industries such as publishing, health care, insurance, education, and manufacturing. Known for her energy and drive she helped build Waterloo Region’s first Women Entrepreneurs Bootcamp, recently opened the regions newest innovation space focused on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and currently manages the Waterloo Region Small Business Centre.

Trevor Charles

Trevor Charles, Executive Director of LiftOff, Professor of Biology, and Director of the Waterloo Centre for Microbial Research, is a microbiologist, trained at UBC, McMaster and University of Washington with a focus on Circular Bioeconomy and Sustainable Development. Trevor is also the founder, CEO, and CSO of the bioscience start-up Metagenom Bio Life Science. LiftOFF is the Waterloo region’s first and only Black-led incubator and accelerator program. 


Eric Avner

Eric Avner is President and CEO of Waterloo Region Community Foundation.  As the region grows to one million residents, Eric is working with the board of directors, committees and team at WRCF to ensure our communities are equitable, connected, and sustainable, and our people are thriving. Eric collaborates locally, provincially, and nationally to amplify voices, maximize resources, and co-create solutions linked to WRCF's core area of focus: building social infrastructure across Waterloo region.

Carla Leon

Carla Leon, President and CEO of Just Like Family Home Care, is an innovator, having spearheaded the first social acquisition by charities in Canada, and transforming Just Like Family into a Social Enterprise, with the majority of profits going to charities. During her career, Carla has provided leadership, coaching, mentorship, and education to thousands of entrepreneurs and small business owners. She strives to make a social impact, transforming home care across Canada for franchise owners and the families they support. She holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from University of British Columbia.


Sean Geobey

The discussion will be moderated by Dr. Sean Geobey, Director of WICI, Co-Director of WISIR, and Professor in the School of Environment, Enterprise and Development at the University of Waterloo. Sean Geobey applies expertise in social innovation theory, sustainable finance, planning, governance, and decision-theory to his research, teaching, and social innovation labs.

In-person attendees will be provided a light lunch and an opportunity for informal networking at the start of the event. The talk is open to all WICI and/or WISIR members, University of Waterloo students, and the public, but guests must register to be included in the lunch! 

Can't make it in person?Stay tuned for a recording of the session, which we will share in a future newsletter, and/or join the discussion at the next Community Lab event on Wednesday, March 27th.

Registration for this event is now closed.