It has been an enormous privilege to lead the Brookfield Institute for the past eight years.
It is rare in life to have the opportunity to truly start something from scratch. Being part of envisioning, launching and then running and growing the Brookfield Institute has undoubtedly been the highlight of my career so far.
Our journey has been filled with amazing accomplishments and massive challenges. We broke new ground and made many mistakes along the way, but, ultimately, I am tremendously proud of what we have accomplished together, including:
- Setting up a new type of public policy institute, based within Toronto Metropolitan University, that married robust applied research with policy advice and advocacy;
- Promoting an agenda of inclusive economic growth that is based on unlocking the potential of Canada’s innovation economy;
- Using novel data-driven methods to better understand Canada’s innovation economy and the people and firms that comprise it;
- Ensuring our work is accessible, eye-catching, timely and relevant to decision-makers and other members of the public policy community.
Over our first eight years, we published over 60 reports, ran numerous workshops and events, garnered extensive media coverage, and partnered with some of Canada’s leading institutions and leaders.
Our work has contributed extensively to Canada’s public policy discourse on topics ranging from, among others, the impact of technology on Canada’s workforce, how to support Canada’s entrepreneurs and scale-ups, new approaches for delivering digital literacy and coding education, emerging artificial intelligence policy, and new approaches to industrial and innovation policy.
From the beginning, the key to our success has been the support of the people who shared in the vision of the Brookfield Institute.
I would like to thank Sheldon Levy, who had the original vision for the Brookfield Institute and asked me to join as the founding Executive Director. Thank you to Jack Cockwell and the Brookfield Partners Foundation for their transformational gift of $16 million, which provided the core funding to launch the institute and support its ongoing operations.
Thank you to the members of our Advisory Board (Sachin Shah, Janice Fukakusa, and Nadir Mohamed) for their invaluable guidance and support as we navigated the path from idea, to startup to fully-fledged institute.
Thank you to President Lachemi for his steadfast support of the Brookfield Institute as a part of the broader TMU community. And to the rest of the TMU community who provided support and encouragement along the way.
Thank you to our many partners, Fellows and collaborators, who shared their expertise, enhanced our work, and helped us reach broader audiences.
And, finally and most importantly, I would like to thank the many team members who I have had the pleasure to work with over the past eight years. An institute is ultimately a collection of people and I’ve been truly fortunate to work with some of the most talented, passionate, and highly-motivated colleagues anyone could ask for. I will miss working with all of you, but I hope we will continue to stay in touch in the future.
The next stage for the Brookfield Institute is equally ambitious. Going forward, the institute will be merging with the Leadership Lab, a sister institute here at Toronto Metropolitan University. Together, these combined entities will have a greater capacity to focus on issues related to inclusive economic growth and democracy in Canada, while also ensuring a greater connectedness to TMU’s students, academics and growing public policy ecosystem.
I believe this is the right direction for the institute, one that will cement its role as a key contributor to Canada’s future prosperity, while giving the institute the necessary foundations for long-term sustainability.
There is never a good time to leave a job you love, but, after eight years and with this ambitious new direction, I am confident that now is the right time to turn the reins over to new leadership.
Karim Bardeesy, the current Executive Director of the Leadership Lab, is the perfect person to lead the new combined entity. His experience in public policy, economics, politics and journalism, combined with his own teaching and leadership experience co-founding the Leadership Lab, makes him an ideal candidate to lead the new institute to even greater heights.
The next stage for the Brookfield Institute will no doubt have challenges, but I have never been more optimistic about what the future holds. I will no longer be in the driver’s seat, but I’ll be watching and cheering from the sidelines, excited to see what comes next.
Thank you and all the best…….