CSR Changemaker - David Brooks
28 November 2012 at 9:36 am
The Managing Director of Social Traders, David Brooks, is profiled in CSR Changemakers – a new column which examines inspiring people and their careers in the CSR and social enterprise sector. Social Traders is an organisation established to support and encourage the commercial viability of social enterprises throughout Australia.
David Brooks joined Social Traders as Managing Director in early 2009 following 15 years senior management experience with Rio Tinto, Toyota and Amcor involving responsibility for government, media and community relations. He led the establishment of strategic business-community partnership programs at all three companies and was a strong advocate for social and environmental responsibility at a corporate and industry level over this period.
What are you currently working on in your organisation?
I’ve been leading a strategic review with the Board and management team that will involve scaling of Social Traders social enterprise support and market development activities in Victoria and around Australia. We are just starting to scope a new national awards program to raise awareness and provide recognition of successful social enterprises.
And we are contributing to some important research work on social procurement and the role of specialist intermediaries in the social impact area in Australia that we hope will be completed and released over the next couple of months.
What drew you to the CSR/ social enterprise sector?
I’ve spent most of my career in the private sector having worked for large multinational companies…Rio Tinto, Toyota and Amcor before moving into my current role at Social Traders. I have always held a strong belief that businesses are an important part of communities…they rely on a range of resources the most critical being their human capital. Businesses have a responsibility to act responsibly in generating return for their owners/ shareholders both from an environmental and social perspective.
Profitability and social responsibility are not mutually exclusive…they should and can be complementary objectives. I championed social responsibility and strategic community engagement in my various roles in the corporate sector and am now actively encouraging business leaders to share their resources and expertise in building the commercial sustainability and professionalism of social enterprises.
How long have you been working in the CSR/ social enterprise sector?
What is the best thing about working in the CSR / social enterprise sector?
Social enterprise brings the best of the business and community sector together. Social enterprise draws on the process, discipline and commercial focus of business and the commitment, passion and connection of the community sector.
Social Traders mission is to support the growth of social enterprise in Australia. This can be most effectively achieved by us working collaboratively with the business, community, government and philanthropic sectors drawing on their respective skills and resources.
What do you like best about working in your current organisation?
It’s (small) size, ability to focus and make quick decisions on those issues where we can make the most difference and having a great team of highly talent and motivated people to work with.
I consider my greatest achievement to be?
Bringing up five children in partnership with my wife Anne. Followed by convincing the Board to give me the gig here at Social Traders back in early 2009.
What are you reading/watching/listening to at the moment?
I don’t get to read that much for pleasure/leisure, but hope to.