Catherine Pearl

Catherine Pearl

Associate Professor, Social Innovation

Adjunct Assistant 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

ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0615-2059

Google Scholarhttps://scholar.google.com/citations?user=lsKSnmoAAAAJ&hl=en



Prior to joining academia, Dr. Pearl 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 also serves as a Board Governor for the Association of Nonprofit and Social Economy Research (ANSER).

Catherine is passionate about her students, teaching, curriculum design, experiential learning and the case method. Over the past five years, she has been involved in designing many of Mount Royal’s Social Innovation courses and most recently, preparing students for the Alberta Nonprofit Case Competition (ANPA).


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, stigma 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.   

Calgary Chamber of Voluntary Organizations - in progress, this project aims to develop a case study to examine Canada’s first ‘chamber of commerce’ for organizations operating in the social economy.

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 and social work students. The Canadian Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 11(1). https://doi.org/10.5206/cjsotl-rcacea.2020.1.10804

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. https://www.iveycases.com/ProductView.aspx?id=109359

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. https://doi.org/10.1002/tl.20328

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- present     Association of Nonprofit and Social Economy Research (ANSER).  Appointed to the Board of Governors

2020-2021          Social Enterprise World Forum Academic Symposium, Organizing Committee, Halifax Nova Scotia 

2020                   Government of Canada Reviewer for Phase 1 Social Finance Investment Readiness Program grant submissions 

2020                   Mitacs Reviewer for funded research proposal(s) 

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

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

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

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

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

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).