FACULTY FOCUS: Todd Green gives young people a voice

Note: Faculty Focus is a monthly series that highlights faculty whose compelling passions, innovative ideas and various areas of expertise help weave together the fabric of Brock University’s vibrant community. The full series is available on The Brock News. 

When he was 17 years old, Todd Green was moved by an experience that left him feeling powerless.

He was unable to help a fellow student whose educational path was being set based on his disabilities instead of his abilities. It’s a moment he’ll never forget.

“The injustice really upset me,” says the Associate Professor of Marketing in Brock’s Goodman School of Business. “What was decided for this student would create a restrictive future with limited finances and job prospects.”

Today, Green is dedicated to helping children and youth understand that education and opportunity intersect.

With a PhD in Marketing from Simon Fraser University and an MBA from McMaster University, Green arrived at Brock in 2014 determined to incorporate concepts of philanthropy and volunteerism into the courses he teaches.

“I’m always looking to develop relationships with local non-profits and charities to provide experiential learning opportunities,” says Green, who often brings community partners to campus.

“I want students to understand there is more to business than marketing big brands,” he says. “Even if it can be harder to sell a social issue than a soda, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.”

His students explore real world issues, and potential careers in non-profit marketing, by working with organizations to create marketing and communications plans.

Aware of what marketing can mean for the environment, Green was the first Goodman faculty member to join Brock’s Environmental Sustainability Research Centre (ESRC).

Through his supervision of Master of Sustainability students, Green is helping the ESRC expand offerings to business-minded students who are interested in sustainability.

These graduate students have gone on to work for companies that address climate change, minimize food waste, clean up oceans and shorelines and educate consumers on ways to make more sustainable purchasing choices.

Outside the classroom, Green seeks to support children and youth in the local community.

On his way to Brock’s campus one day, Green was thinking about the many different kinds of students who go through life without a voice.

That’s when it hit him, “kids should be heard.”

Children and adults stand on a porch cheering with their arms in the air.

Green (back row, third from the right) and Tomorrow’s Voices participants and volunteers celebrate the return in-person choir practice following the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions.

He founded Tomorrow’s Voices in 2017, bringing together his love of music and his interest in helping young people to thrive.

Green, who is also the Badgers Varsity Tennis coach, uses his knowledge of philanthropy literature — along with many of the social, ethical and environmental sustainability concepts he researches and teaches — to lead the after-school non-profit children’s choir program.

“As a non-profit director, I’m responsible for making the right decisions for the children, which means aligning with musicians and sponsors who believe in what we are doing,” says Green. “Similar to the marketing ethics assignments I give my students, our board has worked through some of the same issues such as how best to market our cause in an ethical manner.”

The choir welcomes children ages eight to 18 from all backgrounds. They do not need to audition, know how to read music or pay a fee to participate.

“I believe singing serves people,” says Green. “While the choir is comprised of children and youth who have experienced hardship, we don’t focus on their challenges. Instead, we create a safe, inclusive environment to allow them to be seen and heard for who they really are.”

Green says it’s wonderful to see Tomorrow’s Voices members grow their confidence as they take on new opportunities.

“I love being a mentor to these young people and was overwhelmed when I learned one of our choir graduates was accepted to Brock,” says Green. “I met this student in front of the bookstore last September on the first day of school and presented her with a Brock hoodie and a small bursary to help with fees.”

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