Celebrating David LePage’s Career and Retirement

Feb 6th, 2024

Thank you to everyone who joined us in Vancouver and online to celebrate David LePage as he steps into a new role: retirement. It’s bittersweet to say goodbye to David LePage in the day-to-day operations of Buy Social Canada, although he remains involved in the big picture as Chair of our Board of Directors.

We are grateful for everything David has done for our team and for the larger marketplace revolution; a journey he began long before he founded Buy Social Canada in 2014.

David is recognized internationally as a social enterprise and social procurement thought leader, effective practitioner, and public policy architect. He has developed and applied innovative market-based solutions to complex social issues for decades with a focus on social enterprise and social procurement.

Building on experience with community economic development and public radio in the United States, David moved to Vancouver, BC in the late 1990s where he quickly immersed himself in the social enterprise ecosystem. 

He has been instrumental in the development of a supportive ecosystem for social enterprise in Canada as a founder and Chair of the Social Enterprise Council of Canada; Program Manager for Enterprising Non-Profits (ENP), which published the first Canadian Guide to Social Enterprise; a partner in the Social Enterprise Ecosystem Project; a Board Member for Social Enterprise World Forum; and a co-founder of the Social Enterprise Institute. He designed and has been a Professor at the University of Fredericton MBA in the Social Enterprise Leadership Program since its inception in 2014.

In addition to founding Buy Social Canada ten years ago, David co-founded two landmark Vancouver social enterprises: EMBERS and Community Impact Real Estate, while also offering consulting and advice to countless others through Accelerating Social Impact and the Buy Social Canada Social Enterprise Certification.

Identifying the need for more purchasers who commit to buy with impact, David ensured that Buy Social Canada has advanced social procurement across Canada. Racking up a truly impressive amount of frequent flyer miles to cross the country to meet with politicians and government staff, corporate leaders, and community intermediaries, David has been a crucial advocate for social procurement policy implementation and acceptance.

Not one to fully step away from his advocacy, David will be going on a national book tour to Halifax, Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary and Vancouver in June 2024. He will host conversations to further the Marketplace Revolution and continue to introduce this critical social value framework to new audiences. Stay tuned for details on this national book tour to be announced soon.

Rather than reflecting only on the past, David is still looking ahead to what we can all achieve as we work together to shift the marketplace from transactional to transformational. His reflections on the tireless journey to create change, like Sisyphus, still ends with hope for the future and the potential we can all bring to shape healthy, thriving communities.

“Our challenge for all of us is what we can bring to the future … maybe this time when I push the rock up the hill, it will go over the top!” – David LePage

Don’t just take our word about the important contributions David has made to the social value marketplace, and to the lives of everyone he’s met. Here’s what his peers from Canada and beyond have to say:

“David I can say that without a doubt that my government career would not have been the same without your influence on what I have done and how I have done it – even showing me what is possible, not matter how long it takes. The word tenacity seems too weak a description of what you bring to everything you do, but it is a good word full of respect. I am so grateful for the very generous ways in which you have shared and shaped. Wishing you the very best.” – Robin Wisener, Employment and Social Development Canada

“Many thanks to David for decades of contributions and leadership to CCEDNet and the field.  His strategic, long-term, collaborative vision for systemic change has really made a huge difference.  We are doing this together. Bravo et merci.” – Mike Toye, Canadian CED Network (CCEDNet)

“What I always appreciated about David was persistence toward the goal of building a different economy through purpose-led business models and through procurement. I believe part of why he was so effective was he built relationships, was strategic in pursuing opportunities and partnership, always rooted in a vision of the outcomes we’d all benefit from, and had a very compelling way of communicating that vision and the actions that would get us there.” – Brendan Reimer, Assiniboine Credit Union

“I think it’s safe to say that nobody has moved the policy needle more than David. Bravo, my friend!” – Andy Horsnell, Andy Horsnell Consulting

“Wishing you the best from Aotearoa New Zealand, David. Your influence is truly global – you have been uplifting, challenging and powerful and I’ve really appreciated your personal friendship, our conversations and inspiration to keep pushing the rock up the hill. Keep smiling and enjoy the journey ahead!” – Séan Barnes, Barnz Consulting

“David’s been a friend and mentor in my work for more than a decade now. His experience in public policy change and how to draw insights from the field are lessons I take with me in my own work. I’m grateful for his consistent leadership and the many opportunities he’s given me to grow in my own practice.” – Sarah Leeson-Klym, CCEDNet Manitoba

“David has been a great colleague in building the social enterprise sector in Canada. He and I have worked on several pan-Canadian initiatives together, delivering workshops, organizing national conferences, establishing the Social Enterprise Council, writing advocacy letters, promoting social procurement, and expanding the Enterprising Non-Profits program across the country. Throughout, David always stayed true to the social mission of social enterprises. I celebrate his decades of significant contribution to social enterprise development.” – Anne Jamieson, Social Enterprise Council of Canada

“Thank you, David for bringing social procurement to life. I wish you a happy and healthy retirement.” – Corinne Evason, City of Winnipeg

“I want to say a huge thank you to David for all the work that he’s put in over the years. The work we do in Winnipeg is really standing on the shoulders of people like him, and so many people reap the benefits that will never know his name. You truly are a champion David.” – Sean Hogan, BUILD

“Congratulations, David. I can’t imagine you retiring, so I expect we’ll see you on the talk circuit, book signings, and rousing the social value actions wherever you go.  Thank you for your work supporting SFU’s aspirations for true value impact in our communities.” – Mary Aylesworth, SFU

“I’m truly inspired by his work and dedication in strengthening the movement for social procurement and social enterprises in Canada and wish him all the best in retirement!” – Kumsa Baker, Toronto Community Benefits Network

“Personally, and on behalf of the Ottawa Community Benefits Network, congratulations David on an amazing career and on taking this next step in your life. Your vision and focus are leading to system change and that’s a significant achievement. Your empathy and calm have left us all with a model of how to live one’s life.” – Martin Adelaar, OCBN

“David – it’s been such a long time since we’ve been walking together in community economic development and social enterprise. We’ve had debates, such rich discussions, traveled together, and I feel privileged to know you, having learned so much by your side. You know how to value the people who journey with you… Thank you, David, for your work.” – Ethel Coté, mécènESS

“David has been a huge mentor to me over the years.  When I was in a bind, he was usually my first call – anything social enterprise and procurement.  He is always so encouraging and affirming.” – Shaun Loney, Encompass Co-op

“I have three really important words: Dogged Relentless Incrementalism!” – Peter Frampton, Learning Enrichment Foundation

“David and I have never met in person but it feels like we have. That says everything about David!” – Martin Loosemore, University of Technology Sydney

“I met David in early 2003. He taught me about social values in business.

I helped him advance this agenda through procurement practices – in spite of the many barriers, pushbacks, misunderstandings, paranoia, and trials and errors – it worked.” – Larry Berglund, Presentation Plus Training and Consulting

“I have known David for many a year dating back to Enterprising Non-Profits and have watched his progress over the years and truly appreciate what he has done and accomplished in the social enterprise field. David is a great sounding board and a true innovator.” – Joseph MacLean, Best Pepper Ever

“David was one of my professors at UFred in my MBA. He has been an inspiration to me as I’ve been building an unconventional social business in the natural resource sector. Thank you, David for all the knowledge and wisdom!” – Liz Lappin, Common Good Mining Corp.

“David has a wealth of knowledge that he was able to share with our social enterprise as we were starting out. He is a wonderful person, and we wish him all the best!” – Amanda McGee, Circle of Eagles Trading Post

“David was instrumental in creating and growing the new social procurement field, harnessing the marketplace as a tool for social change. Organizations and individuals across Canada have benefited greatly from his vision and leadership.” – Coro Strandberg, Strandberg Consulting

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