Finding Answers to the Seemingly Impossible with UBC Sauder

Sauder Executive Education
Director of client engagement, UBC Sauder Exec Ed, Jackie Howard (R), engages a client. Photo courtesy of UBC Sauder.


When Roger Waters released We Don’t Need No Education, the world roared with support. It was 1979, a time of high protest and anti-establishment sentiment. The song was an anthem refuting systems and authority. Today, however, the message and method are different.

We want education – we want great education and great leaders. Rather than fighting against the system, many are instead creating positive change within it.

A befitting example of this is the UBC Sauder School of Business in Vancouver, B.C. Sauder is considered to be among the world’s top academic business schools. Why?


Co-creating lasting change

“Sauder as a business school is committed to creating a more just and sustainable world through the education of responsible leaders,” explains Jackie Howard, director of client engagement for UBC Sauder Executive Education.

“As the professional development arm of a research-based business school, Exec Ed sits at the intersection where academic research is applied to real-world problems. Our professional development programs equip both emerging and experienced leaders with the skills that will enable them to make a difference – in their personal lives, their organizations, and their communities.”

Sauder Executive Education

Director of client engagement for UBC Sauder Executive Education, Jackie Howard. Photo courtesy of Sauder.


Howard has been in the learning and development field for nearly 20 years. She has worked with everything from end-user desktop applications training to million-dollar custom-built leadership programs. She tells of collaborative problem-solving and designing and building custom learning interventions.

[We] develop programs that truly invoke change.  

“In my current role, I work with our faculty as they assess our clients’ learning needs and develop programs that truly invoke change. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing a co-created program come to life and have an impact on both the organization and the individuals who participate.”

UBC Sauder Exec Ed alumna Larissa Maxwell agrees, “UBC Sauder Executive Education does not settle for status quo. It’s the place to press into your areas for growth, especially those we resist to develop because they have a risk of failure. The faculty are willing to give you space to explore appreciative failure, and mine untapped abilities within to walk away both empowered and humbled. ”





Maxwell’s support for Sauder doesn’t end there. “The courses are challenging and attract interesting and skilled leaders in the community, providing a new network of lifelong learners to join the journey with. The residencies are taught from a holistic perspective, challenging you to look at all components of leadership and how to lead well from the inside out.”

Leadership looking forward

Maxwell is well-positioned to speak about leadership. She is the director of Anti-Human Trafficking Programs at the Salvation Army and leader of five national anti-human trafficking programs, including Deborah’s Gate. She is the founder of the Canadian Survivor Summit, Voices Raised, founder and developer of four other nationally-recognized survivor programs, and the first recipient of the annual Justice Canada Excellence in Victim Services Award (2017).

Sauder Executive Education

Director of multiple anti-human trafficking programs, Larisssa Maxwell. Photo: V. Saran.


How can we change the script of this story?

“My mission is to innovate, create and find answers to the seemingly impossible,” Maxwell relays. “When most feel overwhelmed with the serious challenges affecting the most vulnerable in our society, I find my psyche asking, How can we change the script of this story? How can we create something that has never existed before, to meet the needs of people and change the world?”

“From day one as a young female leader, I learned that my internal response to human suffering is innovation,” she says.


Creativity, commitment and a deep sense of responsibility ooze out of Maxwell. Howard’s keenness to problem-solve, learn and collaborate is undeniable. These are qualities of women walking the talk, characteristics of great leaders.

When asked to describe a great leader, Howard lists integrity, courage and compassion. “They are also exceptional communicators and are able to connect with and inspire people from all walks of life in all levels of an organization.”

For Maxwell, it’s about putting in the work, being willing to learn from failure and being accountable. “The mark of a great leader is how many other leaders you train, empower and release into their own trajectories. It’s actually not about us! Our goal should be that those we mentor could one day be our boss, not how to stay on top. Those who experience afterglow are those who realized that their best investment was in others.”


Pivotal time for female leaders

Bob Dylan released The Times They Are A Changin’  in 1964. Rather than a protest song, it was a call to embrace and move forward. Today, as women in business and in leadership positions, we have more opportunity and with it, great responsibility.

“We are at a pivotal moment in history. In the West, as women, we have more access, rights, privilege and opportunities than most women throughout the world. We are responsible to use that place of power,” informs Maxwell, with her 15+ years of working to stop exploitation and creating rehabilitation programs for survivors.


Sauder Alumna Larissa Maxwell

Sauder Exec Ed alumna Larissa Maxwell says our best investment is in others. Photo courtesy of the Salvation Army.


We are responsible

to use that place

of power.   




“We absolutely have the ability to be at the table, to as Sheryl Sandberg says, Lean In. But that doesn’t come from just wanting to be there. It comes from putting in the work, supporting others, and committing to excellence.”

We all want great education and great leaders. UBC Sauder is moving in the right direction, with a commitment to creating lasting change through educating, encouraging and empowering highly innovative and responsible leaders who are finding answers to the seemingly impossible.


University of British Columbia | Vancouver Campus

Musqueam, Squamish & Tsleil-Waututh Traditional Territory 

PowHERhouse is proud to partner with UBC Sauder School of Business.


Sauder Executive Education

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By Sandy Powlik

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