Mark Brand

Mark Brand

Social Entrepreneur | Restaurateur

Mark Brand is one of North America’s foremost social entrepreneurs. With 11 businesses under his belt, he is an example of a new form of leadership that encompasses good in every step. Determined to breathe new life into our struggling and disjointed communities through his work in social impact business, Brand shares his message on the importance of sustainable business models that make a difference, while also creating successful bottom lines.

Several years ago, Brand took over Save On Meats, a Vancouver-based institution that has provided food security and access since 1957. In 2013, he created The Token Program, an alternate currency to feed those in need without a cash exchange. Since then, more than hundreds of thousands of tokens have been redeemed, filling empty stomachs, and creating a interactions between those who have and those in need in Vancouver. The Token Program has launched with partners from San Francisco to Nova Scotia.

In addition, in partnership with his charity A Better Life Foundation (ABLF), more than three million meals have left Save On’s doors to feed those who struggle. Additionally, dozens of people who were formerly homeless have found a home. ABLF works with community agencies, marginalized individuals, and governments to create tangible waves of change.

Along with overseeing five organizations under the MB Inc. umbrella, Brand is a Stanford fellow, professor of innovation and design thinking, and has served as executive chef for the American Refugee Committee and Pope Francis’s Climate Challenge. It’s through his cooking, advocacy, systems design, and love for his community that he’s found a unique balance in business and purpose.

Brand has recently been appointed Chair of the United Nations Catalyst team focusing on food security, and the impacts of current systemic structures on the most marginalized. At the root of everything he works on, his belief is that the solutions are all attainable with deep cooperation and the understanding there is no “Us and Them, only Us.”

Business with a Conscience

Mark Brand believes that good business doesn’t have to come at the cost of doing good. Discussing the tenants of blending corporate and community leadership, Mark draws on his own decades-long experience of successful social entrepreneurship to guide and encourage audiences in their own endeavours. Fully customizable, Mark can discuss his own experience (and lessons learned); the best practices for employing people who traditionally have had barriers to employment; mentorship; the importance of leverage and partnerships; thinking outside the box; and sticking to your philosophies during tough economic times.

A Better Life

Mark Brand’s “A Better Life Foundation” works to facilitate empowerment and a sense of wellbeing for those who struggle with addictions and mental illness issues by providing food security, education, and employment training. Speaking on the organization’s conception to its present-day incarnation, Mark stresses the importance of community involvement to create a meaningful life, as well as the current and future state of non-profits in Canada and beyond.

Building Better Communities

Successful and vibrant communities are built with real inclusion.  Mark Brand works in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, a community long recognized as being in flux.  The space of  one city block separates million dollar condos and 8×10-single-room occupancy’s dedicated as housing for the mentally ill and addicted.

Brand’s work in the DTES encompasses food security, training, employment, and strategic partnerships with developers and social enterprises alike.  He works to change  policy municipally–and perception nationally–in an effort to help create and build better communities that are rich, inclusive, and wonderful places in which to live and work, and  where residents  look after one another.

He speaks on this topic with the passion that translates to all levels of business and society, regardless of color, creed, or financial status.

Custom Virtual Topics

Mark Brand can speak in detail to any of the following topics in a virtual presentation:

  • Authentic Leadership
  • Team Building and Integration of Marginalized Individuals
  • Reimagining and Diversifying Revenue Streams
  • Design Thinking
  • Societal Norms and Disrupting Them
  • Baking In Social Impact
  • Resilience and Innovation
  • Culinary Systems’
  • Community Building & Engagement
  • Entrepreneurship For Good
  • Navigating the New “Normal”