News at the University of New Brunswick

Pond-Deshpande Centre’s director receives Frank McKenna Award

Author: UNB Newsroom

Posted on May 16, 2019

Category: UNB Fredericton , myUNB

Karina LeBlanc, executive director of UNB’s Pond-Deshpande Centre, has received the Frank McKenna Award in Public Policy to recognize her significant achievements and contributions to the field.

Ms. LeBlanc received the honour on May 15 for demonstrating leadership through fostering collaboration with experts and stakeholders on projects as well as spearheading fundraising initiatives for the centre.

The Pond-Deshpande Centre’s mandate is to help aspiring business leaders and start-up companies who want to create social change in New Brunswick. High-profile start-ups have included Resson, a company that uses drones and infield sensors to collect data in order to solve issues on New Brunswick farms, and Kennebecasis Valley Oasis Youth Centre, an organization that helps empower youth and tackles mental health issues.

Ms. LeBlanc believes that social change in New Brunswick has to be pushed by motivated system change-makers who have an entrepreneurial mindset.

“These are the people who think outside of the box and make waves in the business community by creating a business that is working to solve a complex social issue,” she says.

“We want to help create businesses that are motivated by the three Ps: people, profit, and planet,” says Ms. LeBlanc. “We help businesses obtain the active-learning mindset. This mindset allows people to learn as they create social change. This is what turns curiosity into action.”

The Pond-Deshpande Centre also aims to help students from publicly funded post-secondary education institutions in New Brunswick be change-makers.

“Our Student Ambassador program converts students from job-seekers into opportunity creators. We have them take it upon themselves to create change by creating an organization, or being a catalyst for change within an existing organization.”

Ms. LeBlanc believes that life-long learning is the key to be successful.

“Being active and engaged means you are continuously learning new things. Continuously learning is how problems get solved.”

Media contact: Kelsey Pye