Surrey’s fourth annual Social Innovation Summit is set to tackle the opioid crisis, housing and other key regional issues.
Close to four dozen local and national guest speakers will be featured at the event, on Thursday (Sept. 6) at city hall, as organizers aim to focus on getting “from thought to action” — the summit theme — to tackle some of the region’s most pressing issues.
A number of keynote addresses, panel sessions and workshops are planned for the day-long gathering, with the goal of moving “great ideas from the drawing board to reality.”
Organizers of the summit, presented by Century Group, say the event appears to be on its way to selling out again this year, “with $99 tickets for the summit and $39 tickets for individual workshops selling fast,” according to a press release from Pace Group.
Summit chair Vera LeFranc, a Surrey councillor up for re-election, said the expanded event will feature more speakers, sessions and workshops this year, “because, when it comes to addressing Indigenous reconciliation, housing, social inclusion, mental health and other key issues, every voice matters.”
In a statement, she added: “The popularity of the summit and the talented roster of local and national speakers who have agreed to share their expertise with us, speak volumes about Surrey’s commitment to collaboration and innovation to identify and resolve significant community issues.”
The summit starts on Sept. 5 with an evening reception, from 6 to 8 p.m. On Sept. 6, the guest speakers range alphabetically from Sarah Blyth, founder of Overdose Prevention Society, to Dr. Fiona Whittington-Walsh, chair of KPU’s Department of Sociology and the president of Inclusion BC.
The agenda overview can be found online at surrey.ca. Highlights include an opening keynote by Angela Sterritt (“Reconcile This: The Power of Story, Indigenous Voice and the Truth”), breakout sessions titled “Innovating Through Crisis: Challenging the Opioid Epidemic” and “Creating A Culture of Commitment,” and workshops that look at “The Practice of Social Innovation Labs,” “Getting to What Matters: How to Evaluate and Communicate your Impact” and “Afterschool for All: A Shift in Planning, Policy, and Leadership Potential,” among other presentations.
New this year are the Surrey Social Innovation Awards, winners of which were announced on Aug. 23; they’ll be feted at the Sept. 5 reception.
Co-winners of the Lifetime Achievement Award are Al Etmanski and Vickie Cammack, along with Dr. Michael Wilson and Dr. Ann Wilson. The Innovation in Social Purpose Business award goes to co-winners Community Living Society and Studio Seventy Three, while the Innovation in Community honours go to co-winners Cora and Don Li-Leger (of The PLOT, in Newton) and Katheren Szabo and Steve Webster (Friends of the Grove). The Innovation in Youth award is given to co-winners Surrey Refugee Youth Team and Fraser Region Aboriginal Friendship Centre Association’s Indigenous Youth Group, and the Innovation in Non-Profit nod goes to Lookout Housing and Health Society.