Social enterprise incubator HUB Ottawa has named David Fleming its first managing director.
© Peter Kovessy
A glimpse inside HUB Ottawa's Bank Street offices.
Mr. Fleming, 31, started June 10 and comes to the position after stints with two business groups in Halifax.
He arrives as HUB’s former executive director and current lead strategist Vinod Rajasekaran, one of this year’s OBJ 40 Under 40 recipients, starts to focus more attention on the Rideau Hall Foundation, a project that looks to shape the future of Canada for years to come. The foundation’s website says it hopes to “foster Canadians’ sense of values and identity, increase their potential for excellence, and strengthen their aspiration for a better country.”
Mr. Fleming told OBJ there are two main parts to his new job.
“It’s one part operational, so ensuring … all the resources that are available here at HUB Ottawa not only continue but are amplified … the second piece of it is looking at the overall innovation ecosystem and seeing how do we create greater outcomes for Ottawa,” he said.
Mr. Fleming moved to Ottawa for family reasons. The HUB opportunity came shortly after his arrival, and he jumped at it.
“I’m an economist by trade, but I’ve been coming more and more to the realization that it’s not the big-scale stuff that’s really creating the change that we’re looking for, particularly on the social side,” he said. “As an economist, I’m one of the rare ones, I think, that looks primarily at some of the smaller-scale initiatives. (The HUB is) instead looking at communities that are stepping back into the role of really satisfying and creating outcomes for each other and how do we foster that type of environment.”
HUB Ottawa now has more than 300 members who connect through the organization, sharing talent, knowledge and ideas. Mr.Fleming said the HUB, now in its third year of operation, is growing its community and gaining respect, but there is still plenty to do.
“The HUB lives and dies by what its members and its community are doing, so how do we ensure those folks are positioned to make big-scale changes?” he said. “Everybody here is a dreamer, pretty much. I think that’s the nature of this place, so how do we take those dreams and really operationalize them and make them a reality too.”
Even though he spent just a year at both of his Halifax jobs, as executive director of the North End Business Association and Project Development Specialist with the Greater Halifax Partnership, Mr. Fleming said he hopes to stick around Ottawa for a while.
“Right position, right city, don’t see myself going anywhere any time soon,” he said.