"Mark Brand is cool. During a well-attended public forum on improving our downtown, Mark spoke eloquently and honestly about what it means to be an entrepreneur who invests in his community and its residents, demonstrating that success and social enterprise can – and oftentimes should – go hand in hand. He lives it, he preaches it; he is it."
- Halifax Mayor Mike Savage
"Mark Brand is easily among the most prolific if not captivating and inspirational speakers to ever have taken the TEDx stage. Within seconds of beginning his talk, Mark turned a room of 2,000 TED enthusiasts into Brand-Fans with his high energy story. He’s one of those rare speakers that could turn a standalone reading of the phonebook into a mesmerizing soliloquy just by injecting his own experience and voice into it. If you haven’t had the chance to hear Mark speak yet, find a way.
Mark is one of Canada’s most recognized social entrepreneurs. Having successfully created eleven businesses in Vancouver, he has become a prominent example of a new generation of leadership that focuses on passion and purpose. Brand and his teams are determined to breathe new life into marginalized and isolated communities through food, training and meaningful employment.
Combining emerging technologies, alternate currencies and historical best practices, they are creating new blueprints to share globally with the intention of bettering the world. Brand has been recruited to speak, mentor and mediate on the topics of social inclusion, community collaboration, and food security from TED talks to correctional facilities, and everywhere in between. He sits on government councils, not for profit boards and business advisory committees bringing the lens of community first. Brand has found a unique balance through his social impact efforts and love for our neighborhoods, proving that you can be successful in business while contributing to your community in a long-term and meaningful way.
Business with a Conscience
Mark Brand believes that good business doesn’t have to come at the cost of doing good. Discussing the tenants of blending corporate and community leadership, Mark draws on his own decades-long experience of successful social entrepreneurship to guide and encourage audiences in their own endeavours. Fully customizable, Mark can discuss his own experience (and lessons learned); the best practices for employing people who traditionally have had barriers to employment; mentorship; the importance of leverage and partnerships; thinking outside the box; and sticking to your philosophies during tough economic times.
A Better Life
Mark Brand’s “A Better Life Foundation” works to facilitate empowerment and a sense of wellbeing for those who struggle with addictions and mental illness issues by providing food security, education, and employment training. Speaking on the organization’s conception to its present-day incarnation, Mark stresses the importance of community involvement to create a meaningful life, as well as the current and future state of non-profits in Canada and beyond.
Building Better Communities
Successful and vibrant communities are built with real inclusion. Mark Brand works in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, a community long recognized as being in flux. The space of one city block separates million dollar condos and 8×10-single-room occupancy’s dedicated as housing for the mentally ill and addicted.
Brand’s work in the DTES encompasses food security, training, employment, and strategic partnerships with developers and social enterprises alike. He works to change policy municipally–and perception nationally–in an effort to help create and build better communities that are rich, inclusive, and wonderful places in which to live and work, and where residents look after one another.
He speaks on this topic with the passion that translates to all levels of business and society, regardless of color, creed, or financial status.