Mayor of Vancouver since 2008, Robertson said his social awareness came into play at his previous role as an organic farmer and founder of Happy Planet, a successful organic prepackaged juice and soup company based in the city.
Robertson said when he and his business partner made more juice than needed to fill the company's orders, Happy Planet would deliver the excess to Vancouver's impoverished downtown eastside, giving it away to the homeless. This was at a time in the '90s when the government was cracking down on welfare and cutting services to the poor, leaving many on the street, said Robertson.
After meeting area residents through this initiative, Robertson began asking himself questions about how to bring about social change. Eventually he started "asking questions out loud," as he put it. Friends urged him to find the answers through involvement in politics. Robertson decided to give it a go, feeling that he could "embrace the creativity of politics rather than seeing the blocks," he said.