Dr. Thomas S. Axworthy has had a distinguished career in government, academia, and philanthropy. Early in his career, he served as Senior Policy Advisor and Principal Secretary to Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, before leaving politics to teach. In 1984, Dr. Axworthy went to Harvard University as a Fellow of the Institute of Politics at the Kennedy School of Government. He was subsequently appointed visiting Mackenzie King Chair of Canadian Studies. In 1999, Dr. Axworthy helped to create the Historica Foundation to improve teaching and learning of Canadian history, becoming its Executive Director until 2005. To recognize his achievements in heritage education (he initiated the Heritage Minutes), civics, and citizenship, Dr. Axworthy was invested as an Officer of the Order of Canada (2002). In 2003, he became Chair of the Centre for the Study of Democracy, School of Policy Studies, Queen’s University, pursuing the themes of expanded human rights and responsibilities, democratic reform, Canadian-American relations, and modern liberalism that characterized his research, teaching and advocacy career. He is a distinguished senior fellow at the Munk School of Global Affairs and a senior fellow at Massey College. Dr. Axworthy was recently appointed Secretary General of the InterAction Council of Former Heads of State and Government.
Dr. Axworthy has had a long association with the Gordon family and the Walter & Duncan Gordon Foundation prior to becoming its CEO in 2009. He began his career as a Research Assistant to Walter L. Gordon, then President of the Privy Council Office in the government of Lester Pearson. In the 1980s, Dr. Axworthy helped the second generation of the Gordon family define their interests, which included, for the first time, Canada’s North. In 1976 he helped organize the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements, held in Vancouver, which initiated his interest in water and sanitation issues, a priority in his current work with the Gordon Foundation.
Dr. Axworthy has edited several publications, with the most recent being Bridging the Divide – papers for the Interaction Council (June 2008). He was awarded an honorary LLD from Wilfrid Laurier University (2003) and the Public Affairs Association Award of Distinction on November 26th, 2008 by the Public Affairs Association of Canada.
Shari Austin was appointed Vice President and Head, Corporate Citizenship, and Executive Director of the RBC Foundation in January, 2008. In this capacity, she is responsible for three areas: Corporate Social Responsibility strategy and communication; Corporate environmental affairs; and RBC's philanthropic activities. She has overall responsibility for RBC’s Blue Water Project and Social Finance Initiative.
Shari joined RBC in 1995 and has worked in a number of public policy, regulatory, compliance and risk roles. In 2000, she was appointed Vice President of Policy and Regulation for RBC Global Services (correspondent banking, trade payments and cash management). From 2003 to 2007, Shari served as Vice President, Risk Policy in RBC’s Group Risk Management area, and was responsible for enterprise risk policies, risk governance, and environmental risk management.
Shari is a lawyer by training. Before joining RBC in 1995, she was Legal Counsel to the Canadian Payments Association in Ottawa for six years. She holds a B.A. (Honours) from the University of Toronto in political philosophy and Canadian Studies, an LL.B (Bachelors of Law) from the University of Ottawa; and a Masters Degree in Practicing Management from McGill University in Montreal. She was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, and lives in Toronto with her husband and two children.
Bernadette joined the Canadian Water Network as Executive Director in April 2003, having assisted the network in other capacities on and off since its start-up in the summer of 2001.
Before joining CWN, Bernadette was involved in groundwater issues in both Canada and the US for over 17 years, including experience in research, jobs in the public and private sector, and management of university-based research programs funded by government and industry partners. Much of this experience was focused on the practical application of research findings to decision-making for site assessment and remediation at contaminated sites. Over the past few years, she has devoted increasing time and energy to the topic of improving communication of research findings and implications among the academic and various user communities. She is pleased to be able to continue to contribute to this area through her work with CWN.
Bernadette has a degree in earth sciences (BSc, 1986) and hydrogeology (MSc, 1991) from the University of Waterloo. She has made presentations on groundwater and remediation issues at a variety of venues, including invited talks at conferences in Canada, the U.S. and Japan, as well as presentations to both state and regulatory officials in the U.S. Bernadette has served as a guest lecturer in graduate courses and short courses. She is author of a number of publications, including refereed journals articles, a book chapter, a US EPA report, and conference abstracts and proceedings.
As the Director of Corporate Sustainability at RBC, Sandra leads a team responsible for global strategy and leadership in the areas of environmental and social credit risk management, environmental products and services, bank-wide environmental programs, and external relations related to corporate sustainability issues.
Sandra’s education and professional experience blends science, technology and finance to solve challenging environmental issues and provide opportunities for environmental sustainability for RBC and partner organizations.
Prior to entering the banking sector, Sandra was a research scientist with Noranda Inc. in Montreal, and then an environmental consultant in Toronto and Vancouver, specializing in Environmental Impact Assessments for resource sector development projects in Canada and Southeast Asia. She joined RBC in 1997 as a resource sector analyst, and then led the bank’s Environmental Risk Management department from March 2000 to August 2005. Having left in September 2005 to become the Director of Corporate Environmental Programs at another bank, she returned to RBC two years later as the Director of Corporate Environmental Affairs.
From 2005 to 2009, Sandra chaired the North American Task Force of the UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI). Sandra is presently on the advisory boards of Carbon Talks, Toronto Greenhouse, and the Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry at the University of Toronto. She was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Toronto Atmospheric Fund in 2011, where she also chairs its Grants Committee, and she was recently appointed to the Board of Pollution Probe.
Born in Ottawa, Sandra has an M.A.Sc. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Toronto. Sandra is a licensed professional engineer, and earned her CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) designation in 2007.
She lives with her husband and two children in Toronto.