Tonya Surman is one of Canada’s leading social entrepreneurs. Her clients: people and planet. Her superpowers: visionary ideas that inspire, models that harness collaboration, and spaces that accelerate systemic change.

Highlights from her 20-year career include co-founding and leading the Centre for Social Innovation, a pioneer in the coworking and social enterprise movements that has catalyzed more than 100 world-changing initiatives; developing the Constellation Model, a multi-stakeholder partnership framework that was used to ban toxic chemicals in baby bottles and organize 40,000+ Ontario nonprofits into a network with policymaking clout; creating the Community Bond, a groundbreaking social finance tool that raised $6.3 million to purchase $25 million in real estate to house 70+ social entrepreneurs; and launching Catapult, a micro-loan fund that galvanizes government, corporate and nonprofit partners.

Tonya is the recipient of numerous awards: the Ashoka Foundation, the Trillium Foundation and Socialight Canada are among the many organizations that have recognized her leadership and contributions. A vibrant speaker and a trusted advisor, she is often tapped by civil society organizations and government for advisory and committee positions. More

Leader & Advisor

Tonya is a visionary pragmatist who understands that we never create alone. She is careful to point out that all of her achievements are the result of collaboration. Tonya refers to herself as a “governance geek” and dedicates a lot of time to thinking about and designing structures, norms and rituals that enable effective collaboration and build resilience. She is an adept leader, advisor and facilitator, helping others use authenticity and honesty to create healthy cultures, boost social capital, and create a common identity.

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Entrepreneur & Innovator

Tonya loves intractable problems and constraints. Every challenge is an opportunity to break rules, push limits and design innovative solutions. Her specialty: identifying gaps and common challenges, creating models that advance systemic change and using self interest to power collaboration.

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Speaker

Tonya is a vibrant and engaging speaker. Her talks range from overviews of cutting-edge models to frank discussions about the challenges of working for people and planet. Tapping the power rage, self-interest and joy are common themes.

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Photograph of Tonya Surman

Author

Tonya's writing is distinguished by its clarity and practicality. Leaders, government officials, philanthropists and practitioners will find reflections and how-to guides that they can adapt and apply to key design decisions and professional challenges.

Publications

Twitter Bio

Founding CEO of the Centre for Social Innovation, co-creator of the Constellation Model and the visionary behind the Community Bond

Short Bio

Tonya Surman is one of Canada’s leading social entrepreneurs. Her clients: people and planet. Her superpowers: visionary ideas that inspire, models that harness collaboration, and spaces that accelerate systemic change. She is founding CEO of the Centre for Social Innovation, co-creator of the Constellation Governance Model and the Community Bond, and the leader behind the Catapult Micorloan Fund. The Ashoka Foundation and the Trillium Foundation are among the many organizations that have recognized Tonya for her leadership and contributions. A vibrant speaker and a trusted advisor, she is often tapped by civil society organizations and government for advisory and committee positions.

Extended Bio

Tonya Surman is one of Canada’s leading social entrepreneurs. Her clients: people and planet. Her superpowers: visionary ideas that inspire, models that harness collaboration, and spaces that accelerate systemic change.

Highlights from her 20-year career include co-founding and leading the Centre for Social Innovation, a pioneer in the coworking and social enterprise movements that has catalyzed more than 100 world-changing initiatives; developing the Constellation Model, a multi-stakeholder partnership framework that was used to ban toxic chemicals in baby bottles and organize 40,000+ Ontario nonprofits into a network with policymaking clout; creating the Community Bond, a groundbreaking social finance tool that raised $6.3 million to purchase $25 million in real estate to house 70+ social entrepreneurs; and launching Catapult, a micro-loan fund that galvanizes government, corporate and nonprofit partners.

Tonya is the recipient of numerous awards: the Ashoka Foundation, the Trillium Foundation and Socialight Canada are among the many organizations that have recognized her leadership and contributions. A vibrant speaker and a trusted advisor, she is often tapped by civil society organizations and government for advisory and committee positions.