Catherine Pearl

Catherine Pearl

Assistant Professor
Social Innovation

Assistant Adjunct Professor, Haskayne School of Business, University of Calgary

Office: EB 3030
Phone: 403.440.5508
Email: cpearl@mtroyal.ca

PhD, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta
MBA, Concordia University, Montreal Quebec
BBA, Bishop's University Lennoxville, Quebec



Dr. Pearl was Mount Royal University's first tenure track professor of social innovation. Prior to joining academia, Catherine spent almost twenty years in the private sector; in corporate planning, finance and marketing. She has worked for a number of multinational and national firms honing her management expertise. She also spent considerable time in the not for profit sector as a volunteer, a consultant and as President and CEO a registered charity, which operated a social enterprise.

Catherine has been active in the Mount Royal community and has served as a member of MRU’s Professional Development and Library Selections committees in addition to sitting on the Faculty of Business and Communication Studies’ Research Committee. Catherine also serves as Career Services Liaison for Co-operative student placement opportunities in social innovation. Dr. Pearl was a founding board member of the Calgary Chamber of Voluntary Organizations (CCVO), and has also served on the board of a number of community organizations including: Propellus, YWCA Calgary, Lycee Louis Pasteur, Developmental Disabilities Resource Centre, and Lunchbox Theatre.

Catherine is passionate about her students, teaching, curriculum design and experiential learning. Over the past five years she has been involved in designing many of Mount Royal's new courses in Social Innovation.


Because of her diverse training and experience, Dr. Pearl is able to integrate real life experience across disciplines and sectors into course design and pedagogy. Through experiential learning and community engagement, Dr. Pearl's courses are community focused in that they support building a changemaking culture in the classroom while at the same time creating meaningful social impact in the community.

Teaching Experience

Courses developed* and taught:
Facilitating Social Innovation*
Civic Innovation*
Social Enterprising*
Introduction to Social Innovation
Professional Brand Studio
Introduction to Marketing
Introduction to Management
Society, Enterprise and Innovation
Research Methods
Practicum Instructor


Research interests include social innovation and social entrepreneurship, the scholarship of teaching and learning, transformative and transdisciplinary learning, cooperatives, economic inclusion of vulnerable populations, and the helping professions.

Current Projects

North Star Mothers Milk Bank- in progress, this project aims to develop a case study to examine a registered charity operating as a social enterprise.   

Intersections: Cooperatives and credit unions and Millennial/Generation Z engagement - in progress, this study explores student perceptions of cooperatives and credit unions.

Canadian Stigma Index CBR Project - in progress, this project is part of the Global Network of People Living with HIV and the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS. An Alberta based research team has been established that includes researchers from MRU, UofC and nonprofits from across the province.

Creating a Culture of Respect - in progress, this project examines gender and diversity training for students in the helping professions.

10<40, is a phenomenological study that explores the experiences that influence 10 Calgary based social entrepreneurs aged 24-39, to establish a social enterprise.

Sample Publications and Major Contributions

Pearl, C.M.L. & Oliver, B. (2020). World’s Greatest Challenges: Building Interdisciplinary Understanding and Collaboration among business ad social work students. Canadian Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (in press).

Pearl, C.M.L., Roberts, M. & Brown, C. (2020). Windmill Microlending: Converting Potential to Prosperity. Richard Ivey School of Business. London, Ontario: Ivey Publishing. Case and Teaching Note    #9B20M084.

Yeo, M., Haggarty, L., Snow, T., Ayoungman, K., Pearl, C.M.L., Stogre, T. & Waldie, A. (2019). Unsettling Faculty Minds: A Faculty Learning Community on Indigenization. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 219(157), 27-41.

Pearl, C.M.L. & Finch, D. (2018). Social Innovation You: A Guide to a Career in Social Innovation. Calgary, Alberta: FDR Publishers.

Pearl, C.M.L. & Matheson, J. (2018). Wood's Homes: Changes over Time in a Canadian NGO. In Mirabella, R., Kinnel, A.M., & Dolch, N. Nongovernmental Organization Case Studies in Leadership from around the World, (2nd edition), United States: Kendall Hunt.

Pearl, C.M.L., Saunders, C., & Dorion, N. (2017). Women In Need Society (WINS) Social Enterprise Case Study. Trico Foundation.

Elson, P., Hall, P., Pearl, C.M.L., & Wasmucci, P. (2015). Alberta Social Enterprise Sector Survey Report. Trico Foundation.

Pearl, C.M.L. (2013). A Blurring of Boundaries: An Exploration of Social Enterprise in Alberta's Social Service Agencies, PhD Dissertation, University of Calgary.

Lai, D., Dewald, J., Hayes, L., & Pearl, C.M.L. (2012). Perspectives of the Business Sector on Social Enterprise. A presentation at Engaging Community Leaders: Social Enterprise World Forum. Calgary, Canada.

Research Grants

Co-Investigator (2019). Canadian Institute of Health Research. Alberta Stigma Index CBR Project: Examining the Social and Structural Drivers of Stigma. Alberta portion ($43,000.00) of national study ($450,000.00).

Primary Investigator (2018). Intersections: Cooperatives and credit unions and Millennial/Generation Z engagement. Calgary Foundation, ($5,000.00).

Primary Investigator (2018). Social Development Partnership Program Review, Government of Canada ($1,500.00).

Co-Investigator (2017). Women in Need Society (WINS), Social Enterprise Case Study: Trico Foundation. ($7,000.00 of $21,000.00 grant).

Operating Grants

Civic Innovation "Vivacity" (2019). Alberta Real Estate Foundation, core funding ($5,000.00).

Civic Innovation "Vivacity" (2019). Calgary Arts Development, artist engagement & student intern position ($2,150.00).

Community Service

2020-2021    Appointed to the Board of Governors, Association of Nonprofit and Social Economy Research. 

2020    Reviewer for the Government of Canada’s Social Finance Investment Readiness Program community grant phase one                        submissions

2020    Reviewer for a Mitacs funded research proposal on social innovation

2020    Organizing Committee, Social Enterprise World Forum Academic Symposium, Halifax Nova Scotia

2019 - present    Alberta Lead, Canadian Philanthropy Partnership Research Network (PhilLab)          

2017-2019          Reviewer, Association of Nonprofit and Social Economy Research Conference

2016 - 2017        Organizing Committee, Social Entrepreneurship South East Asia Conference

University Service

2020 - present    Celebrate! Teaching and Learning Committee, MRU

2018 - present    Liaison, Co-operative social innovation student placement, Career Services,  MRU

2017 - present    Faculty of Business and Communications Research Committee, MRU

2017 - present    Library Selections Committee, MRU

2016 - 2018        Professional Development Committee, MRU


Professional Service

2018    Program Evaluator, Social Development Partnership Program, Government of Canada


Media Relations and Podcasts

"Mount Royal University course explores the economic and social value of art in Calgary". Live Wire Calgary. (March 28, 2019).

"Student Collaboration Vivacity focuses on city's arts community". 660 News. (March 27, 2019).

Teaching Strides Podcast: A cross institutional community engaged civic innovation course. (March 28, 2018).

"Vivacity and 11,000,000 square feet of vacant office space". Metro News. (April 12, 2017).

"CRA and funding charities". At Night on News Talk 770 (QR77). (November 1, 2016).