In 2001, Marcia Nozick founded EMBERS (the Eastside Movement for Business and Economic Renewal Society) as a community economic development charity with a mission to create economic and employment opportunities for people living on low incomes in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. A long-time community advocate, Marcia’s leadership at EMBERS has helped thousands of people facing work barriers lead productive lives by providing access to self-employment education, job placements, training and support.
In 2008, Marcia broke new ground by launching EMBERS Staffing Solutions (ESS), an award-winning temporary staffing agency. Her goal was to create flexible, short-term work placements for people looking to re-enter the workforce. A social enterprise, ESS is self-sustaining and invests 100% of its profits back into the community through higher hourly wages, free equipment rentals, and training for workers. Thanks to Marcia’s leadership, ESS is able to have a tremendous social impact. In 2022 alone, the organization employed 2,100+ people.
An innovative leader, Marcia has been recognized nationally for her passion and contributions to the fields of community economic development and social enterprise. In 2020, she won the prestigious Governor General’s Innovation Award. The following year, she received the BC CEO Lifetime Achievement Award and the BC Achievement Foundation’s Community Award. Most recently, Marcia has received the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Special Citation, which recognizes outstanding social innovation.
Prior to founding EMBERS, Marcia was the coordinator of Healthy Communities in Winnipeg, the associate editor and publisher of City Magazine and an instructor of Community Economic Development at Simon Fraser University. She holds a Master’s Degree in City Planning, and wrote the influential Canadian book, No Place Like Home: Building Sustainable Communities (1992) that David Suzuki praised as “a must read.”