About the United Way Social Purpose Institute

In an increasingly turbulent world, having a compelling north star that benefits society, stakeholders and business creates a pathway to business and societal success. In fact, companies whose purpose is a core driver of strategy are more likely to realize successful innovation and consistent revenue growth than competitors.*

In an increasingly turbulent world, having a compelling north star that benefits society, stakeholders and business creates a pathway to business and societal success. In fact, companies whose purpose is a core driver of strategy are more likely to realize successful innovation and consistent revenue growth than competitors.*

At the United Way Social Purpose Institute, we offer a structured and supportive environment that will help you incubate, accelerate and scale social purpose as a way to drive both your business growth as well as your company’s potential for social good.

Our programs, workshops and services have been designed to help business leaders, like you, identify and leverage your organization’s core social purpose to create positive change in your community while building new value for your employees, customers, partners, suppliers and shareholders – all with a view to strengthening your business.

Join like-minded professionals for an intensive, interactive inquiry into the practical challenges of creating buy-in, defining and implementing social purpose in your organization. Discover how to fine-tune strategies, learn best practices and build new relationships with peers who share your vision of creating a better world through business.

To learn more about the United Way Social Purpose Institute – click here for a downloadable PDF.

Learn how you can unleash your company’s full potential:

About United Way British Columbia

United Way serves the needs of our local community and ignites the desire in everyone to improve this community we call home. Through United Way you can mobilize people to address a local issue, collaborate with a network of partners to solve a problem, or give financially to support our programs that create life-saving connections for local kids and seniors.

United Way British Columbia has been piloting Social Purpose programs since 2016 and is a recognized leader in the field. We have the proven expertise, connections and ability to bring together all of our partners, across industries and sectors —  including the business community, non-profit service providers, government entities and leading experts to bring about positive, lasting change in our community. It’s part of how we show our local love.

To learn more, visit uwbc.ca

*Source: Harvard Business Review, 2015; http://www.ey.com/Publication/vwLUAssets/ey-the-business-case-for-purpose/$FILE/ey-the-business-case-for-purpose.pdf

Meet the Team


Gina Coules

Gina’s diverse career ranges from political advisor to UK Parliament to managing high-performing teams in executive search. As United Way BC’s Director of Enterprise Development, she is equipped with the skills and strategic thinking to lead the United Way Social Purpose Institute. Gina’s nine years of experience within senior fundraising roles has been fueled by a passion for the expansion of the social economy. The spare time remaining is spent with her husband, indulging in cheese and cheering on Aston Villa from afar.


Tessa Vanderkop

Tessa is a social purpose strategist with the United Way BC Social Purpose Institute, where she is working to build the purpose economy, helping businesses become an engine for good in society. Through the SPI’s executive programs, products and services, she supports businesses through a step-by-step process to help them pivot to purpose.

Prior to that, she worked at the Burnaby Board of Trade, assisting businesses in taking the first and next steps to becoming socially and environmentally sustainable. Her award-winning sustainability program at the Burnaby Board of Trade, “The Pledge for a Sustainable Community,” has leveraged the power of the association to drive purpose-driven impact within the Burnaby business community. She is also a passionate conservationist and has used her communication, collaboration, and advocacy skills to lead the Ivory-Free Canada campaign.


Lauren Stanton-Nixdorf

Lauren is SPI’s Operations Coordinator. As a process-minded individual, Lauren ensures the efficient and effective operations of SPI through a client-oriented lens. She coordinates all elements of SPI programs, projects, and events and contributes to the overall strategy for the ongoing growth of the Institute.

With a diverse background in hospitality and tourism, stakeholder engagement, fundraising, and strategic planning, Lauren focuses on long-term sustainable practices that harness the power of collective intelligence to promote the well-being of both people and planet.


Lucie Neliba

Lucie is the UW SPI’s Programs Coordinator and Administrator. She is the support function for the SPI and ensures all details and communications for SPI are processed in a timely manner. Before SPI, Lucie worked as a Team Leader for the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation) Elder’s Program and helped launch a year-long Elder’s Program Engagement Project to learn from the Elders what they envision for their program’s future. She served on the Planning Team, and the program plan was launched in October 2023.

Lucie is committed to creating and promoting equitable, inclusive, safe, and healthy communities through building successful working relationships with employees, clients, participants, and volunteers. In her free time, she likes to read, paint, and hike the great outdoors, sometimes with her two lovebirds, Coco and Twinkie.


Brittany Wiesner

Brittany is a proud Métis with experience in JEDI (Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion) advocacy, union activism, community engagement and sales. They support the recruitment of the Social Purpose Institute, helping businesses understand their need for purpose to be at the core of their work. When they are not at work, they are spending time with their cats, friends, and community.


Renata Lima

Renata is the Marketing and Communications Coordinator for the United Way Social Purpose Institute. With over 20 years of experience, she has worked for digital agencies and corporations in different industry segments, providing internal and external communication support. Today, Renata is responsible for UW SPI’s social media channels and website. When she is not supporting the UW SPI’s team in building a purpose economy, she is spending valuable time with her two kids, husband, and their lovely puppy, Maya.