Memorial University has a new head of its groundbreaking work to bolster social enterprise in the province.
Dr. Gillian Morrissey is the new acting manager of the Centre for Social Enterprise.
She replaces Nicole Helwig, who led the centre since its launch in 2017 and has taken on a two-year role as program director at the Cambridge Centre for Social Innovation at the Cambridge Judge Business School in the U.K.
“I am passionate about the work of the CSE and its role in the social enterprise landscape here in the province, so when the opportunity arose, I felt I had a duty to step up and provide the continuity of vision and energy,” said Dr. Morrissey. “I’m humbled and honoured to be taking this on.”
‘Excited for the challenge’
Dr. Morrissey worked as the educational support co-ordinator for Memorial’s master of business administration in social enterprise and entrepreneurship (MBA-SEE) program from 2019-21 and is a social entrepreneur in her own right, having founded and managed two community music ventures in St. John’s: Project Grace and the Bethany Centre for Arts and Community.
“That’s actually a great characteristic about the whole ecosystem here in N.L. — everyone is interested in pitching in to help each other out.”
As a social entrepreneur, she has worked closely with the CSE and the Faculty of Business Administration, employing business students through the centre’s Work Experience in Social Enterprise program and participating in centre-hosted events.
“I have been involved with the CSE in some capacity since its inception. I feel like I have a good sense of the trajectory of the centre’s work, and I am well connected to many of our partners. I am excited for the challenge and am looking forward to collaborating and building on all the great work that has already been done.”
Dr. Morrissey holds a doctorate of musical arts from the University of Toronto, an artist diploma from the Royal College of Music in the U.K., a master of music from Memorial and a bachelor of music from the University of Ottawa.
She’s a sessional lecturer in both the business faculty and the School of Music at Memorial and maintains a busy freelance career as both performer and pedagogue, having performed in concert halls around the world and researching topics related to contemporary music practices and the intersection of community, music-making and social innovation.
Dr. Morrissey looks forward to bringing her extensive experience in social enterprise and connections within the artistic community to her new role.
“One of the biggest questions we get is from people looking for advice on how to start a social enterprise. The practical experience from having done that myself is incredibly useful for those conversations,” she said.
“That’s actually a great characteristic about the whole ecosystem here in Newfoundland and Labrador — everyone is interested in pitching in to help each other out. We are a great bunch of collaborators, and together we can amplify each other, share our skills and knowledge, and make our communities better for everyone.”