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.

The 215 Centre for Social Innovation

An early 5-page concept note laying the foundation for “The 215 Centre for Social Innovation”, which under Tonya's leadership has expanded to four locations in Toronto, and one in New York City. 2004White Paper

Why it’s Up to Us (And Why Crappy Days Matter)

Tonya Surman is the founder of Centre for Social Innovation, an award-winning social entrepreneur, a mother and a Canadian icon. She's also a person with her share of crappy days. Listen to why the bad days are just as important as the good ones. 2013Talk

TEDxToronto: The Science of Collaboration

An overview of Community Bonds — an innovation in social finance that allows a nonprofit or charity to leverage its community of supporters to pursue its mission, build its resiliency, and create more vibrant communities. 2010Talk

Social entrepreneurship: One part rage, one part opportunity

Advancing social enterprise is not about a government policy or an incubator. It isn’t about what kind of support you can find or the venture capitalists that you might be able to attract. It isn’t about sexy new terms like “social finance” or “social entrepreneurship.” We are going to see a dramatic increase in social enterprise when we are honest with ourselves about the world that we live in, and we recognize that we want to be a part of the solution. 2013Blog