14 December 2017
After six fulfilling years, I wanted to write to let you know that I will be stepping down from my role as director of the Bertha Centre early in 2018. Opening up a space for thinking and action on social innovation at the UCT Graduate School of Business, in partnership with the Bertha Foundation, has been an incredible experience and privilege.
The vision of the two founding partners coming together to establish the Bertha Centre at first seemed unlikely, but it created a fortuitous opportunity to build intersectional communities of action and a platform for dialogue around social innovation. It was a significant challenge that wasn’t necessarily part of my career plan, but I took up the opportunity with excitement, and it has been even richer than I imagined.
However, it is time now for me to pass the baton. My evolving career from public health into social innovation was driven by asking questions about how we reorganise our institutions and resources to serve our society better, and by the inspiring work already being done by social innovators. During my sabbatical period, I hope to return to these questions and to my interests in health more deeply, as well as to write a book about system entrepreneurship.
I am very appreciative of having been part of the Bertha Centre team over the years as it has grown and evolved – we have had many special moments and memories. We have also learned from our trials and errors. It has also been a real privilege to work closely with colleagues at GSB, UCT, the Bertha Foundation and our many key partners, and of particular joy has been interacting with our Bertha Scholars on their journeys. I have been supported, inspired, challenged and humbled, and I look forward to the few months ahead in 2018.
Serving our external communities - social change practitioners and social entrepreneurs across all sectors - has been very rewarding. I’ve been deeply fulfilled to watch so many of them embrace new approaches to further their impact through their engagements - building the ecosystem with new talent and new partnerships.
Social innovation is not a single solution, moment, movement or person – it is a complex process, and one in which actors serve in different roles at different times. I have no doubt that the Bertha Centre team and its future leadership will continue to work with our partners to build capacity for the new mindsets, new models and new ways of working to make our country and continent realise the hopes and dreams we share.
With sincere thanks,
Read the response from Bertha Steering Committee / GSB here.