Stories of Sweet Social Impact Vol. 2

Maggie Knight

Photograph by Caelie Frampton (2015).
Stories of Sweet Social Impact is our monthly member series. Each month we sit down with a HiVE member or alumni to learn more about what makes them tick, and the work that they’re doing to change the world.

Name: Maggie Knight
Organization(s): BC Civil Liberties Association, HiVE Board Director & Treasurer
Job Title: Operations Manager
HiVE Member Since: May 2016

“There’s a real heart to the HiVE membership and I’m excited to see what we’ll build together.”

What does social impact mean to you?
Social impact means many things in the world. To me, it’s all about doing work that really matters. It’s about transforming systems, strengthening communities, testing new and bold ideas, not being afraid to ask questions, and always striving for a world and society that is more just, environmentally sustainable, and economically resilient. In an era which has experienced global economic shocks and will continue to see heightened domestic and international pressures from climate change, social impact is about the optimism to build something better, to overcome challenges in ways that shift our structures and systems to a better state for the long haul.

As a kid, what children’s character did you relate with most? Why?
As a preteen I got compared to Hermione Granger a lot (both the know-it-all-ness and the out-of-control hair), so I’ve been loving all the feminist Hermione memes going around these past few months. When Hermione matures enough to use her smarts to do good things in the world (rather than just trying to prove she’s smarter than other people), she’s an inspiring force.

When you graduated high school what did you want to do?
I wanted to be a journalist focusing on science and environmental reporting — I wanted to be the interviewer who could dig deeper into a conversation with a politician about the specifics of science-based climate policy.

Before being Operations Manager at BCCLA, what was the most unusual or interesting job you ever had?
My first “real” job in high school was to help sell fair trade soccer balls at local craft fairs and festivals, which was an unusual start. Then at the end of my undergrad I was the President of the Students’ Society of McGill University during the 2011–2012 Quebec Student Strike (a.k.a. the Maple Spring), which was fascinating. And then I was the first Managing Director for political advocacy start-up, Leadnow.ca, as we grew from three to 17 full-time team members across four time zones in the space of two years. I’ve been blessed with many highly interesting and unusual professional experiences!

What are your hopes for your industry?
While my early change-making background is predominantly environmental, I’m deeply passionate about the social justice lens of social impact. I’m excited by all the potential of the social impact space to innovate new models that localize and democratize economic power, and build a more just society that follows the lead of those most affected when building solutions to historic and ongoing social and environmental problems. I think it’s always important to strike the right balance between continually asking more questions and moving forward with the adjacent possible — a balance of idealism and pragmatism.

“I’m excited by all the potential of the social impact space to innovate new models that localize and democratize economic power, and build a more just society that follows the lead of those most affected when building solutions to historic and ongoing social and environmental problems.”

What’s one thing you wish people knew about BCCLA?
The BC Civil Liberties Association isn’t just focused on BC — we’re highly active at the federal level as well as provincially and municipally. At the moment, our work includes access to physician-assisted dying (we recently launched a new legal challenge with Julia Lamb, a young woman from Chilliwack, after the government’s legislation didn’t live up to the standards set in our landmark Carter v. Canada case), solitary confinement, CBSA accountability, and national security and privacy rights advocacy, among numerous other issues.

What do you think will change about HiVE in the next five years?
I’m looking forward to helping the HiVE continue to grow and deepen as a community. As the coworking trend continues to grow and new spaces pop up, I believe the HiVE will play an important role as a space and network focused on social impact — from thought leadership to design jams to practical skill-building to social gatherings and so much more. There’s a real heart to the HiVE membership and I’m excited to see what we’ll build together.

What do you love about being on the HiVE Board ?
The people! I’ve been on the board only since May, and I already feel like I have made deep friendships. It’s always inspiring to be playing a volunteer role alongside tremendously committed, smart, strategic people.

Maggie has recently collaborated to convene a new meet-up run out of HiVE called OMG: Operations Management Group for folks who run operations at a variety of purpose-driven organizations. If you or your operationally-focused colleague wants to join to talk shop and swap advice and recommendations for all things finance, facilities, systems, HR, internal process, etc, drop her a line at maggie[at]bccla.org!
Inspired to join the HiVE tribe? Learn more about our membership optionshere.
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