Niamh Leonard first learned about the Schumacher Center in 2012 when her father began visiting the archives and writing E.F. Schumacher’s intellectual biography. Throughout her economics degree and in the years since, her regular visits to the Berkshires have become moments of meaning and connection: an opportunity to learn from thinkers past and present who envision a democratic economics that serves people and the planet.
From 2016 to 2019, Niamh worked at the McConnell Foundation, one of Canada’s largest private philanthropic foundations, which applies social innovation and social finance approaches to areas such as reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples and the equitable transition to a low-carbon economy. At the Foundation, she particularly enjoyed learning from Indigenous leaders about forms of economic organization based on kinship and reciprocity.
Building on her background in economics, psychology and finance, Niamh is now pursuing a dual degree in common law (J.D.) and civil law (B.C.L.) at McGill University in Montreal. Her interests include Indigenous law, constitutional law, and governance. She also works for the Canada Climate Law Initiative, a research initiative that examines the legal basis for climate reporting by Canadian boards of directors and pension fiduciaries.
As President of the board of directors of the national nonprofit Apathy is Boring, she helps support young Canadians in becoming active citizens. In the 2019 federal election, Apathy is Boring reached over 1.4 million young Canadians. She is also a board member at the Welcome Collective, an organization that supports refugees and asylum-seekers in Montreal.
Niamh is honored to join the board of directors of the Schumacher Center, where she can help promote an economics conducive to social change, and contribute to the cross-pollination of ideas between the U.S. and Canada.