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SFU Alumni

Championing SFU and serving as a role model to many: Meet 2024 Outstanding Alumni Award winner Anne Giardini

April 02, 2024

Renowned for her warmth, enthusiasm, enduring authenticity and commitment to the SFU community, Anne Giardini, OC, OBC, KC, is being recognized with an Outstanding Alumni Award in the Service to the University category.

Anne is a celebrated corporate director, lawyer, community advocate and author who has demonstrated groundbreaking leadership in the resource industry, including strengthening sustainability and ethical practices as the Canadian subsidiary president of the Weyerhaeuser Company.

Anne has shown a profound dedication to her alma mater, having served on the Board of Governors from 2010 to 2014 and as Chancellor from 2014 to 2020.

She has also held numerous community and nonprofit board positions, and has proven to be a tireless supporter of the advancement of women, Indigenous rights and title, the environment, education and the arts.

For her many contributions to the university and beyond, SFU bestowed Anne with an honorary Doctor of Laws degree in 2022.

What is a major highlight of your career?

I have a strong sense of professional achievement from working on a case on indigenous rights and title that went to the Supreme Court of Canada, Canada’s highest court, in 2004. Although the Haida were on one side and the company I worked for was on the other, we all wanted a shared blueprint and a better understanding of how we would work together going forward.  I came to court in a spirit of openness and inquiry and, in fact, sat alongside Haida leaders during the court hearings.

One of the most interesting roles in my career after the decision was operationalizing it to ensure forestry was carried on with full accommodation of Indigenous rights and title.

This work has continued throughout my career, including, when I was Chair of BC Achievement Foundation, launching the BC Reconciliation Award in recognition of individuals, groups and organizations who have demonstrated exceptional leadership, integrity, respect, and commitment to furthering reconciliation or inspired others to continue reconciliation efforts. In fact, SFU’s Dr. Eldon Yellowhorn is a recent recipient of this award.

What are some skills that have helped you throughout your career?

When I started working, I had two characteristics that I think set me somewhat apart: One was curiosity, and the other was endless energy. I don't think I had any other particular skills, but I arrived early, stayed late and got the work done. I realized that if I could improve the lives of the people I worked for, it was very likely to make my work life more interesting and more rewarding.

I like to quote Einstein, ‘I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.’

What is a piece of advice you'd like to pass along to current students?

If you compare yourself to others, you will always fall short. We live in an era of social media where you are invited to compare yourself to others 24 hours a day – that is not going to lead you to happiness.

If you can muster your own abilities, talents and initiative consistently over time, the odds of succeeding are very much in your favour.

We are thrilled to present the 2024 Outstanding Alumni Awards at an in-person event on Burnaby Campus April 24, 2024.

Save the date and join the excitement—all alumni and community members are welcome! Tickets are available through the Outstanding Alumni Awards website.