Maya Fischhoff: Sharing Ideas

When Maya moved in 2013 from London, Canada to a rural Ohio community for her husband’s job, she found herself out of her comfort zone.

“Our town has 5,000 people,” she says, “and we’re surrounded by corn and soybean fields.” But she now enjoys the area and especially her community farm.

NBS has been a constant amidst change. Maya has been with NBS since 2012 in her role as a Knowledge Manager. She earned a PhD in business sustainability from the University of Michigan, and she relies on this background and her experience in the public and private sector to help her bridge research and practice.

At NBS, she works closely with researchers and managers who want to share their ideas through the network. Contact Maya if you have an idea for advancing business sustainability.

From Research Translation to Co-Creation

Her vision for her work at NBS has evolved. “When I first came on board, I thought of my job more as knowledge translation,” she explained. “The notion that you take these great insights locked up in the ivory tower and you let them out to the managers by putting them into clearer language and getting them out of journals.

“The longer I’ve been here, the more that has evolved to recognizing that managers have tremendous knowledge on their own, and that the researchers and the knowledge can benefit from more of a co-creative process.”

Activism on the Side

All at NBS who have spent some time interacting with Maya are aware of her passion for political activism.

She sees the activities as linked: “I’m very grateful to NBS, because I feel that a lot of the skills that I learn at NBS — like project management, organizing events, or dealing with angry people — that translates over to activism.”

In her Ohio community, Maya uses these skills as part of a group of 200 people organizing on political and social justice issues. They organize town hall meetings, lobby Congresspeople, and communicate with the media.

NBS interviews always ask: “who would you like to invite to a dinner party?” Maya would start with her close circle. “I would probably invite my husband and parents. If I’m trying to invite somebody to learn from, it would probably be somebody like the Dalai Lama, just absorb his aura, try to become a slightly better person.”

NBS plays an important part in Maya’s life. “It’s not just work for me, it’s also a social connection and a sense of meaning. I value the fact that I can talk with people, or Skype with people, who are interested in the same issues that I am.”

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