After starting with a management consulting firm in Montreal, Dominic Schofield, (Social Science, 1990), has dedicated his life to work on some of the largest and most complex development challenges through the non-profit sector, holding positions at UNICEF and the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), among others.

Throughout his career, Schofield has worked primarily on mobilizing businesses to have a positive social impact, mainly in the area of food and nutrition security in Africa, Latin America, and Asia.

“If we want to help small holder farmers out of poverty, it’s about making them better businesspeople, helping them become more sustainable, helping them thrive,” he said.

He also founded his own organization called The Future Food Platform which provides strategic consulting, technical expertise and investment to startups and large companies and organizations around the world that aim to improve the quality, sustainability and equity of food systems.

As a Global Programme Director at US-based non-profit TechnoServe, Schofield leads the Inspiring Good Nutrition Initiatives Through Enterprise (IGNITE) programme. The programme is supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and works with industry operating in eight countries in Africa and Asia to improve the nutritional quality of staple foods.

“Last year, nearly 200 million people went to bed hungry, mostly women and children. Over 5 million children under the age of 5 died, where malnutrition was the underlying cause for more than two thirds of them. More than 2 billion people suffer from overweight and obesity and 3 billion people worldwide suffer from vitamin and mineral deficiencies. The numbers are huge and no single organisation or sector can solve the problem. We have to be ‘all hands on deck’ to scale-up creative, sustainable solutions, and the private sector has a major role to play.”

Schofield explained that the IGNITE program works with food processors to add vitamins and minerals into staple foods as they grow their operations.

Schofield began his career as a management consultant when he was still studying at McGill University in Geography and Urban Planning. He said he discovered an interest in Geography while still a student at Champlain Saint-Lambert and wanted to pursue it during his bachelor’s degree.

“It was at Champlain that I was introduced to the discipline of Geography, not just as capitals on a map, but political geography, urban geography, the politics of populations. It really captured my imagination,” he said.

During his studies at McGill, where he received the James Fraser Jewell scholarship, Schofield took two years off to go abroad and work in Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines.

He worked doing research for an organization that was interested in understanding these rapidly developing economies.

Schofield said that it’s been a trend throughout his career to bite off more than he can chew, but these initial opportunities kept leading to new ones.

“I was hungry to learn and willing to take on anything. You get a reputation for getting things done. That’s been the story of my career. I worked hard, had a positive attitude, and that led to opportunities for me,” he said.

He continued working in management consulting even when he returned to Montreal to finish his degree — something he felt he had to do before moving forward on the career track.

It wasn’t long before Schofield was moving again, this time to South Africa, where he lived for five years working with the International Development Research Centre and later to lead the Canadian Alliance of Business in South Africa.

“There really is no substitute for throwing yourself into these different contexts,” he said.

In 2002, Schofield returned to Canada to take a job as a Manager of Partnerships and Business Development for the Micronutrient Initiative in Ottawa. It was there that Schofield first started working in the field of nutrition.

He says even though he has no background in public health, he had the experience needed to help grow the network, build partnerships, navigate the private sector and NGOs.

“I was a connector, not a specializer,” he said.

After four years, Schofield took his newfound knowledge to UNICEF where he worked as a nutrition specialist in food fortification at their headquarters in New York City.

He took it upon himself to learn all he could about the field and began working at GAIN first as a Manager of Infant and Young Child Nutrition (managing a $50 million-program based out of Geneva, Switzerland), and later as Director of the Multi-Nutrient Supplements Initiative in Washington, DC.

In 2014, Schofield became the President of GAIN Canada and a senior technical advisor on policy and programs — a position which he held for four years.

In 2018, he left GAIN and took on a number of new roles including creating The Future Food Platform, and working with social enterprises such as the One Acre Fund and as partner and managing director at Motherfood International. Schofield was recently promoted to head of food systems transformation at TechnoServe.

After 25 years working in public health and food & nutrition security, Schofield says that he has come to see the intersection between “the food that we grow, who is growing it, our health, our planet’s health.”

“We have to take a systems approach to make big changes. We can’t just come up with simple solutions to simplified problems because everything is connected. We have to harness the complexity. There’s no one organization or individual that’s going to be able to solve our problems. We have to work together to innovate, adapt and anticipate new challenges.”

Schofield’s advice for current students and recent grads: “Be brave. Be positive. Be open to opportunities. Play to your strengths. Invest in learning how to communicate in written form and spoken form. Understand the value of empathy to understand why people are at the table.”