Session Information

Communicating Sustainability Value: The Power of Emotions, Compelling Storytelling and Visuals

Date: Friday, March 4

Time: 8:30am -9:30am

Format: Panel Discussion

At the heart of innovation, are people, needs and patterns of behavior.

We know that brands have a massive influence on the way we think about our role in society and ability to influence change.  An organization’s brand identity and communications platform can be a powerful disruptor and catalyst for change in society. Organizations leading by example effectively engage, educate and compel people to act on key social and environmental challenges. Today, more than ever, we need organizational brands as advocates leading people to a new climate reality and a more prosperous planet.  So how are leading brands, NGOs and Governments flexing their muscles, using their voice to communicate sustainability value and scaling action by designing for the need of their stakeholders?
In this special session, THNK School of Creative Leadership will explore how design empathy works and share from industry experts about it’s role in their business and how it can be used to effect change through THNK’s User Empathy Tool, a step-by-step guide to putting the people you serve at the centre of your business and brand.

In Collaboration with THNK

Activating your GLOBE experience with THNK

THNK’s signature leadership and innovation programs equip 21st century leaders through immersive experiences that foster resiliency and catalyze personal and collective impact.

Topic Speakers

Steven Fish is the Executive Director of Canadian Business for Social Responsibility (CBSR).  He joined CBSR in 2010 and in just under three years moved into the leadership role to renew the organization – now celebrating their 21st year of responsible business leadership.

Under his direction, CBSR has developed a new thought leadership platform, The Transformational Company. This global standard moves well beyond incremental corporate social responsibility (CSR) and helps leading companies address systemic social and environmental issues in their business operations. 

Prior to joining CBSR, Steven worked in a diverse set of roles that have all contributed to his systems thinking and multi-sector approach to problem solving. He previously held positions in Municipal program management, support work with the Association of Community Living, management of national distribution for the action sport apparel lines: Sessions and Dragon, partnership development roles during the Compaq/Hewlett Packard merger, business development advisor to several start-up companies, and as the founder of his own business, Left Feet – the first ethics-based footwear retailer in Canada.

Steven has served on the CSR expert advisory group to Industry Canada on their CSR Implementation Guide for Canadian Business and is a member of the Education Council for St. Michael’s College Sustainability & CSR Program at the University of Toronto.  A sought after moderator and speaker, he has also contributed his insights to the Climate Summit of the Americas, the Conference Board of Canada, the French Economic Social and Environmental Council, the GLOBE Series, the Import Export Canada conference, the Social Enterprise World Forum, Volunteer Canada and the World Forum for a Responsible Economy.


With a background in music and classical voice training, Steven has also written, recorded and performed extensively as an independent artist.  He currently works out of CBSR’s office in Toronto and lives in Hamilton with his partner, their two children and two very needy cats.

William Rees is a human ecologist, ecological economist, Professor Emeritus and former Director of the University of British Columbia’s School of Community and Regional Planning in Vancouver, Canada, where his research and teaching focused on the biophysical prerequisites for sustainability in an era of accelerating ecological change.  Within this envelope developed a special interest in ecologically-relevant metrics of sustainability and their interpretation in terms of complexity theory and behavioural ecology. Prof Rees is perhaps best known in ecological economics as the originator and co-developer of ‘ecological footprint analysis’. His book on eco-footprinting, with then PhD student Dr Mathis Wackernagel, has been translated into eight languages including Chinese. Widely adopted for sustainability assessments by Governments, NGOs and academics, the human ‘eco-footprint’ has arguably become world’s best-known sustainability indicator. Prof Rees’ most recent writing focuses on neuro-biological, cognitive and cultural barriers to sustainability, including human’s well-developed capacity for self-delusion. He has authored (or co-authored) more than 150 peer reviewed papers and book chapters, and numerous popular articles on humanity’s (un)sustainability conundrum. Active across disciplines, Dr Rees is a long-term member of the Global Ecological Integrity Group, a Fellow of the Post-Carbon Institute, a founding member and past President of the Canadian Society for Ecological Economics and founding Director of the OneEarth Initiative.  The influence of Dr Rees’ work is widely recognized and awarded. He has lectured by invitation throughout North America and 25 other countries around the world; the Vancouver Sun named Prof Rees one of British Columbia’s top public intellectuals in 2000; in 2006 he was elected to the Royal Society of Canada and in 2007 he was awarded a prestigious Trudeau Foundation Fellowship. Laval University in Québec recognized Prof Rees with an honorary doctorate in 2012, and he is the recipient of both the 2012 Boulding Prize in Ecological Economics and a 2012 Blue Planet Prize (jointly with Dr Wackernagel).

Former Walt Disney Imagineer, writer, futurist, and storyteller, Joe Tankersley will show you how to “Imagineer Your Future.”

For more than two decades, Joe has helped organizations imagine and realize their visions for better tomorrows. His work combines his skills as a writer/producer and storyteller with the tools of strategic foresight. He creates deeply immersive explorations of possible futures with strategic narratives that broaden horizons and stimulate innovation. 

Joe was a writer/producer for Walt Disney Imagineering from 1996-2014. While there, he led creative teams on projects for Epcot, Magic Kingdom Park, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and the Disneyland Resort in California. Much of his work involved creating “serious fun.” From introducing millions of people to the cultures of Saudi Arabia, Brazil, and Eritrea to helping families understand important topics like finance, science, and health, these projects were designed to entertain, enlighten, and empower. Among his many skills is the ability to transform complex data into narratives that are easily understood by broad audiences. His projects have been recognized nationally and internationally, including receiving the prestigious THEA award for his work on Millennium Village at Epcot.  

As part of Walt Disney Imagineering’s elite Blue Sky Studio he established the group’s first Strategic Foresight Program. In that role, he created a series of innovative projects designed to explore possible futures for The Walt Disney Studios, Disney Parks and Resorts, The Disney Company’s Corporate Citizenship Group, and Walt Disney World Operations. He continues to support those groups today as an outside consultant.

Since the fall of 2014, Joe has applied the knowledge and skills gained by his years working for the world’s most successful entertainment company to help others “Imagineer their best futures.” Through Unique Visions, he has worked with multinational corporations and major foundations. His recent projects have explored the future of the workforce, retail, innovation, strategic disarmament, climate change and senior hunger.

Onstage, Joe uses his story telling skills to make the future come to life. He mixes substantial research with real world examples to help audiences see how these possibilities relate to their own future. His presentations are fast paced, interactive, and guaranteed to leave your audience with the inspiration and the tools to start building their own better tomorrows.