Guest Post: HiVE & RIA Conference (Connie Chen)

Today we’re sharing a guest blog post by UBC student Connie Chen:

I am a fourth year student at The University of British Columbia studying finance and a very typical Millenial in all connotations of that honour/insult. As a very typical Millenial, I have surrounded myself with incredibly bright but idealistic students and I paid attention to my schoolmates’ growing interest in combining a social conscience with a paid career. Visiting innovative spaces – such as The HiVE – and going to industry events – such as the Responsible Investment Association Conference in Toronto on May 26-28 – have really improved my understanding of what I now call “creative empowerment,” and I encourage as many of my peers and neighbours to learn from these pools of endlessly energetic, idea-driven people as well.

I thought it was really frustrating to grow up surrounded by altruistic ideals from elementary to high school and then suddenly specialize in an arcane university subject that has little to no overlap with  In high school, what was all the rage was volunteering at a hospital or raising money for an empire-like NGO such as UNICEF and then being featured in the local newspaper for “being the Leaders of Tomorrow.” In university, what appears to be all the rage is graduating with a full-time job offer.

What a contrast!

But as I studied my peers in more detail, I noticed that the happiest and most inspiring students I know have somehow combined a skill that they aspire to be an expert at with a very global, holistic perspective of the world; my conclusion is that “making a difference” comes in different forms as people mature. My role model is no longer defined well as the student representative of an NGO, but rather the UBC engineer that studies biomimicry to maximize energy efficiency of a product or the Sauder School of Business student interested in social enterprise consulting. Innovative student groups such as oikos Vancouver and UBC Social Enterprise Club have begun in the last two years.

The reason why I know that innovative careers – or a good perspective is “the main activity that you spend 53% of your lifetime on” – are needed in this world is because I have seen the success of local entrepreneurs and the respect for outspoken industry executives. The HiVE doesn’t exist just for business, neither does the RIA Conference exist because of some aggressive sponsors. They exist because people want and need supportive spaces and the occasional world-view-changing speech.

The HiVE needs to be replicated in all major cities of the world because surrounding yourself with people that energize you while you work is just as important as having a good idea and team. Just the same, we need thoughtfully planned and accessible eventssuch as RIA’s Conference in Toronto inviting large firms. May 26 to 28 will be my first time meeting executives from RBC, NEI Investments, Vancity, Philips Hager & North, Loblaws, Ocean Rock Investments and many, many more global firms. 

I encourage everyone living near Vancouver to discover places such as The HiVE, where I met consultants, engineers, designers, architects and entrepreneurs that made me rethink what Vancouver’s economy and identity are reliant on. Similarly, go to events such as RIA’s Conference upcoming conference in Toronto to learn about what the big guys are doing about global issues in combination with their main business operationsMay 26-28 promises to be three full days of topics for executives, academics and entrepreneurs alike: ESG analysis, impact investing, data privacy, anti-corruption practices and much more. 

Push your comfort zone by going to new places and meeting different people. Perhaps I’ll see you in Gastown’s HiVE or amongst the large crowd in Toronto.



(Views and opinions expressed by guest bloggers do not in any way reflect those of the HIVE as an organization nor of its members.)