Q&A

In 10 words or less what do you do?

I help solve complex issues that matter to society.

What inspired the name Treetop Strategy?

One summer in university I operated a gondola at a local ski hill. Gliding up over the treetops, I saw and felt how everything is connected. The forest oozed into neighbourhoods, which melted away into a large industrial port. Across the inlet, city towers stretched up into big open sky. That sense of connection and ability to see the big picture inspired the name.

You were a corporate executive, then you worked with a major philanthropic organization, now you’ve started a consultancy. That’s a unique career path. What connects the dots?

The common thread is working at the nexus of environment, economy and society. And on hotly debated, complex issues, with no easy answers. That’s the challenging but fun part.

Having worked in different sectors, which one do you think will drive the solutions economy?

No one sector has all the answers. To have a strong economy that can foster social progress and environmental sustainability, we need to get out of our silos, create cross-sector collaborations and harness market forces for good.

Is there a widely held view about sustainability that you want to challenge?

Sustainability is often seen as a cost of doing business, rather than as a business opportunity. In a solutions economy, companies are built to solve social and environmental challenges. They make money by doing good. I want to help accelerate that mindshift from cost to opportunity.

BIO

Before starting Treetop Strategy, Sarah was the Senior Vice President at Tides Canada. There she worked on issues ranging from environmental sustainability to fostering reconciliation between Aboriginal peoples and all Canadians. She also advanced new approaches to mission-based investing.

Sarah joined Tides Canada from Teck Resources, where she was Director of Corporate Affairs, managing the company’s government affairs, marketing and communications activities globally.

Before joining Teck, Sarah spent eight years with Weyerhaeuser. As Vice President of Government and Public Affairs, Sarah worked with governments, First Nations, unions, community leaders and environmental groups to reposition Weyerhaeuser’s operations to reflect changing societal values and economic realities. Then, as Vice President of Transactions in the United States, she honed her financial and negotiating skills working on a $6 billion divestiture.

She is the founding chair of New Market Funds, an impact investment firm. She is also a founding board member of Reconciliation Canada and is on the Vancouver Affordable Housing Agency board. Previous board roles include Translink, Iisaak Forest Resources and the Coast Mental Health Foundation. Sarah helped green the 2010 Winter Olympics as a member of a sustainability advisory committee to the board.

She has an MBA from the University of Warwick and a Bachelor of Journalism from Carleton University.