Sarah Dunwell, CEO of the award-winning social enterprise CREATE, shared how her business maximises a positive social impact for the most marginalised in society whilst also remaining profitable.
Sarah, who was awarded an honorary Master of Business Administration degree from Leeds Met, has spent the last decade running highly successful small businesses, specialising in catering and food retail. Other speakers at the event include Jackie Mulligan and Professor Kevin Hannam, who is the chair of the World Leisure Organisation's Commission on Tourism and the Environment and a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (FRGS).
The session was designed to encourage those working or interested in events, tourism or hospitality to reflect upon how they could enable their organisations to make a positive contribution to their locality and how universities might help.
Organisations of all sizes are showing a growing interest in corporate social responsibility (CSR). Definitions vary but generally CSR is taken to mean managing in a way that improves rather than damages society. This encompasses what can seem like a bewildering array of issues; from those associated with the environment to employment practices.
Speaking before the event Professor Rhodri Thomas, Head of the International Centre for Research in Events, Tourism and Hospitality at Leeds Met said: 'We are delighted that we will be able to celebrate Sarah's achievements at the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Festival of Social Science event. We will be able highlight how social science research can make important contributions to decision-making in commercial and non-commercial organisations."
Jackie Mulligan added: "This is a wonderful opportunity to share some of the findings from our research in the meeting industry with our networks, regional businesses and our peers. Responsibility is high on the agenda in all sectors and from our future trends research responsibility seems to continue to be a critical success factor - enhancing performance, reducing costs as well as strengthening the image of companies to their target markets."
The event was part of the Economic and Social Research Council's Festival of Social Science, which offers an insight into some of the country's leading social science research and how it influences our social, economic and political lives - both now and in the future.
The festival, now in its tenth year, takes place across the UK - via public debates, conferences, workshops, interactive seminars, film screenings, virtual exhibitions and much more.
Social science research makes a real difference in influencing public policy, contributing to making the economy more competitive, as well as giving people a better understanding of 21st century society. From big ideas to the most detailed observations, social science affects us all everyday - at work, in school, when raising children, within our communities, and even at the national level.
The event took place at the Carnegie Pavilion at Headingley Carnegie Stadium on 8 November.