community management policy poverty religion social enterprise social work values

Social justice management framework

Bonnie Robinson is exploring the intersection of social justice and management.  She is drawing on a career in social services and putting it into practice in her role as Chief Executive of HBH Senior Living, focussing on meeting the needs of vulnerable older people.

Talking points:

Change comes about from change at systemic level

You can make a difference to individuals’ lives, and we should, but it shouldn’t be all you do

We need a funding system which allows for much greater flexibility and innovation.

We are actually here to help people have fullness of life and allow them to continue to grow, not just provide medical or disability care.

It’s about acting to achieve positive change.

It is not morally tenable to make a profit out of distress.

I’m no longer marching in the streets waving placards, but I’m trying to shift people’s thinking about an issue.

Social justice and sustainability are interwoven – a lack of justice is not sustainable

Challenge things that need to be challenged




business social enterprise

Cooking a difference

Rebecca Stewart has worked in not for profits around the world.  From anti sex-trafficking in Delhi, and reproductive family health in Fiji to Jesuit housing, all of these roles have been about making a difference.  Now she has founded Pomegranate Kitchen in Wellington, a catering business – where the cooks are all from refugee backgrounds.   We talk about social enterprise, described by Rebecca as “charity that makes its own funding” and how we could be better at celebrating good news stories.

Talking points

Jobs that make a difference

So much injustice…the privilege of inequality

Systemic change that isn’t a bandaid.

Pushing back in a loud way against injustice

Sustainable: For us it’s about financial sustainable being a self funded charity as well as human sustainability, so upskilling the cooks so that they either stay with us or continue with the growth of their careers.

Success: On a personal level, recovering from cancer was a huge achievement.From a business point of view moving into a new kitchen of our own, as well as the ongoing interpersonal relationship within the business. A real family.

Superpower: Empathy, my superpower is my connectedness with other people, that’s why I’ve been able to do Pomegranate in the way that I’ve done it, I’ve been able to connect with the cooks on a certain level, getting them excited to help out.

Motivation: The people that I work with, I want to keep creating and supporting a life for my workers that is enjoyable and rewarding for them.  

Activist: I’m happy having uncomfortable conversations and staying true to my values, but I’m not the type of person who would be in the front row the the protest.

Challenge: With this new kitchen we are scaling everything up, so we are about to run a three hundred person lunch for TradeMe, so there are a lot of upcoming challenges that will be on a much greater scale than before.   Novelty, doing good. 

Miracle: Ideally world peace, resulting in no more refugees being relocated. On a more local realistic level, doubling the New Zealand refugee quota which is well within the countries capacity would be awesome!

Advice: Be kind to each other.