Meet Sandra Odendahl (ChemE MASc 9T0)

Sandra OdendahlOn March 31, 2023, Sandra Odendahl (ChemE MASc 9T0) will be attending the 6th ChemE Exhibition & 37th Dinner to participate as a panelist for the event’s discussion on Envisioning the Future of Chemical Engineering Education.

Sandra’s career highlights how a degree in chemical engineering from the University of Toronto can lead to many different paths. After completing her MASc degree under the supervision of Professor Doug Reeve (founder of U of T’s Pulp and Paper Centre), Sandra began her career as a research scientist in the forest products technology group at Noranda Technology Centre in Pointe Clair, Quebec. Later on, she became an environmental advisor for BEAK Consultants in Toronto and Vancouver, where she worked on environmental and social impact assessments for natural resource development projects, such as mines, hydroelectric dams, and pulp mills. Sandra also had the opportunity to work in Indonesia and the Philippines, where she had the chance to witness international development work and became curious about finance.

After completing a few finance courses out of personal interest and being encouraged by a female banking executive to consider a substantial career shift, Sandra joined RBC as a resource sector analyst, working in the portfolio risk management unit of the bank. Sandra went on to complete the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) program, as well as championed sustainable finance and ESG (environmental and social governance) in the corporate world long before they became familiar buzzwords. She has held leadership roles in environmental and social risk management, corporate sustainability, social finance, social innovation, and philanthropy units at three different banks over the past 20 years.

In April 2022, Sandra joined the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) as Senior Vice-President in charge of sustainability, diversity, and partnerships. In this leadership position, Sandra is focused on serving Canada’s small and medium-sized businesses. Unlike the major charted banks, BDC’s focus is on entrepreneurs. Her path is an excellent example of the diverse and accomplished careers that our graduates can aspire to.

To hear Sandra’s thoughts on the future of chemical engineering education, join us for the 6th ChemE Exhibition & 37th Dinner on March 31. Register online while spots remain available.