Hi and welcome to CSRtist.com! My name is Melissa Schweyer and I’m a CSR artist who’s passionate about inspiring effective corporate good.
Unlike a conventional artist, I don’t really paint, take photography or create music, but I do develop thoughts, ideas and new ways of thinking about corporations and how they can make a positive impact on our world. I also draw inspiration from others’ concepts, opinions, designs and examples of effective and meaningful corporate social impact.
You might be wondering how this all came to be…
Well it all started some years ago now, while majoring in English and Women’s Studies during my undergraduate degree. By the end of my forth year of studies, I knew the not-for-profit sector was right for me.
I was fortunate enough to land my first job in the non-profit field, working for an organization headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. I worked on the operations team–predominantly applying for funding and writing reports for our projects. We focused our development initiatives across the Middle East and South East Asia, supporting people affected by migration. This meant working on issues relating to human trafficking, forced migration, the plight of “boat people” and migrant worker rights. I also attended UNHCR meetings and conferences, developing a true passion for better understanding why people move.
Feeling the itch to further my studies, I enrolled in a Master’s degree at the University of Toronto in Political Science. Here I focused my research on climate-related migration in conjunction with the current Canadian immigration policies at the time. I utilized that new found knowledge by volunteering for an environmental organization, the Earth Summit Coalition. I provided support and expertise to the policy team, focusing on various initiatives relating to fair trade products and certifications.
My next move was onto one of Canada’s most celebrated and popular charities, Free The Children. Over the course of my two years there, I was tasked with several various responsibilities ranging from supporting We Day’s backstage production crew to stewarding the organization’s top corporate partnerships. Working on a rewarding team of two, I project managed a multi-million dollar portfolio of corporate donors and family foundations, including the likes of Microsoft, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Virgin Atlantic Airways, KPMG and Dior.
These experiences are what jump-started my true calling, corporate social responsibility (CSR).
This passion for CSR led me on an interesting path.
I wanted to further my expertise in all-things relating to social impact and I knew that meant doing something I had never done before.
Apart from a few projects here and there, I hadn’t actually engaged in many local initiatives. I’d also never worked for a foundation before. With this realization, I decided to join the University Hospitals Kingston Foundation. It was here where I gained a true understanding of grass roots community engagement.
Though I had had many amazing experiences in Kingston, my hometown was calling me back.
Most recently, I’ve embarked on my newest adventure—teaming up with Habitat for Humanity Hamilton—where I’m utilizing many of my past experiences to help break the cycle of poverty in Hamilton, Ontario.
And though social impact & CSR are my professional interests, that doesn’t stop me from pursuing a few other hobbies.
After work hours, you will most likely find me enjoying cheese and wine, planning my next adventure, reading or writing. I’m an interior design amateur, ice skater and yogi, who loves spontaneity, discovery and optimism.
If you’ve enjoyed your visit, don’t forget to subscribe to the blog and follow me on Twitter @CSRtist. I always welcome feedback, comments and suggestions!
All posts, comments and tweets are my own, unless otherwise indicated.