Cultivating a Community of Practice - By Celesa Horvath
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Two years ago today, I launched the Canadian CSR and SD Practitioners Network on LinkedIn.
At the time, I saw a need for a network to connect individual corporate responsibility and sustainability practitioners in Canada. There were already several Canadian (and, of course, international) organizations bringing together businesses and corporations around these issues, but, for the most part, these were or are not accessible to the individual practitioner, unless their employer is a member. I especially welcomed the opportunity to create and participate in a community that meets my own needs and interests, living as I do in a small town quite outside the traditional corporate meet-and-greet circle.
I wanted to create a space where individual practitioners could share information, engage in dialogue with peers, and network with others in their sector, their region, and their area of expertise. My goal was and remains to help increase the uptake of corporate responsibility and sustainable practices in business across Canada (and, where Canadian practitioners are active internationally, beyond).
If the growth in the Network is any indication, we are collectively realizing this goal. From the beginning, interest in the Network has been steady and has far exceeded my original expectations. I am encouraged with the addition of each new practitioner, and with every membership milestone – 200, 500, 700! – we pass, I am delighted to see evidence of real growth in sophistication, experience, and innovation in the corporate responsibility and sustainability space in Canada.