CMCRI announces incoming president

Sandra Odendahl, incoming CMCRI President and CEO

Sandra Odendahl, incoming President and CEO

CMCRI is pleased to announce Sandra Odendahl will begin as President and CEO of CMC Research Institutes effective Sept. 1.

Sandra is a Canadian corporate sustainability pioneer with a passion for using the power of business to drive positive social and environmental change.

Sandra started her career in Montreal in the 1990s as an environmental scientist for Noranda Inc, one of Canada’s great, diversified resource companies of the time. She then worked in Toronto and Vancouver as an environmental engineering consultant, specializing in Environmental and Social Impact Assessments for large mining, energy, and pulp and paper developments in Canada and Southeast Asia.

Her work on large international projects piqued her interest in finance, and Sandra joined the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) in 1997 as a resource sector analyst in the enterprise-wide risk management unit. At RBC, she led one of Bay Street’s earliest environmental risk management groups from 2000-2005 and then, between 2007 and 2016, Sandra headed RBC’s Corporate Sustainability, Social Finance and Social Innovation teams.

At RBC, she oversaw the development and implementation of the RBC Environmental Blueprint, a multiyear strategy to mitigate environmental risks and act on opportunities associated with RBC’s business activities. She helped design and launch the $50 million, 10-year RBC Bluewater Project that funded innovative programs and initiatives to improve freshwater quality and availability in North America, the UK and Europe. In 2012, Sandra led the development and roll-out of RBC’s Social Finance Initiative, a $20 million program to catalyse the use of private money and financial markets to solve environmental and social issues. The Social Finance Initiative includes the RBC Generator, a $10 million pool of RBC capital for investing in for-profit companies that are delivering social impact along with financial returns. She also designed a framework for partnering with start-up accelerators that nurture early stage companies with a social or environmental purpose.

Sandra volunteers on a number of non-profit boards and advisory groups that reflect her interests in environmental sustainability, finance, and innovation. She is Chair of the Board of The (Toronto) Atmospheric Fund (TAF), which uses its $43 million endowment to develop innovative solutions and finance organisations that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area. Sandra has been a Board member and Finance Committee member at Pollution Probe since 2012. From 2013 to 2015 she served on the federal government’s Ministerial Advisory Council on Social Innovation. In 2014, she was one of two Canadian members appointed to the Asset Allocation Working Group of the G8 Social Investment Task force. And she recently joined the Board of Advisors of the University of Toronto’s Institute for Leadership Education in Engineering (ILead).

Born in Ottawa, Sandra is bilingual and has an M.A.Sc. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Toronto. She is a licensed professional engineer and a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA).

Sandra lives with her husband and two children in Toronto, Canada.

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