Karen Clarke-Whistler ICD.D
Karen is a Principal at ESG Global Advisors. She is a leading business voice in environmental and related social aspects of ESG. Karen has in-depth knowledge of current environmental risks and opportunities, ratings, best practice in environmental disclosures and reporting. She has advised Boards and Senior Management and engaged with investors, environmental and community stakeholders.
Trained as an environmental scientist, Karen has spent the past 10 years as Chief Environment Officer at TD Bank Group where she developed an industry-leading environmental business strategy that achieved business transformation bringing new products to market, growing the investor base, and enhancing brand value. Prior to joining TD she had a distinguished career as an environmental consultant, providing strategic advice to global companies and governments in the Americas, Europe and Africa. Karen currently sits on the Boards of Enerplus, a leading North American oil and gas company based in Calgary; Evergreen Brickworks, and Plug N’Drive. She is an Advisor to Canada’s Ecofiscal Commission. Karen has twice been awarded the Clean 16 for her leadership in clean capitalism in the financial sector.
Judy Cotte LL.M.
Judy is the CEO of ESG Global Advisors, a firm that bridges the gap between companies and investors on environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors. With over 20 years’ legal experience, the last twelve of which has been exclusively focused on ESG, Judy is a globally recognized expert on ESG and responsible investment.
Prior to forming ESG Global Advisors, Judy was V.P. & Head of Corporate Governance & Responsible Investment for RBC Global Asset Management (“RBC GAM”) and was a member of the firm’s Executive Committee. Judy launched the Corporate Governance & Responsible Investment group at RBC GAM in 2012 and was responsible for developing the firm’s overall ESG strategy, working with the investment teams to integrate ESG into the investment process, overseeing all proxy voting globally and engaging with investee companies, both individually and collaboratively with other investors.
Previously, Judy was the Director of Policy Development & Chief Operating Officer for the Canadian Coalition for Good Governance (“CCGG”), a coalition of most of Canada’s largest institutional investors. Judy has a Master's degree in securities law and practiced law in various capacities, including as enforcement counsel with the OSC, litigation counsel with a large broker/dealer and as a partner in a Bay Street law firm.
Judy is a Board Advisor to Connor, Clark & Lunn Financial Group and a Director of Gibson Energy, a leading, oil-focused infrastructure company. She is a current member of the TSX Listings Advisory Committee, the CCGG Public Policy Committee and the UN PRI’s Global Policy Reference Group. She was previously the Canada Correspondent for the International Corporate Governance Network. In 2020, Judy received a Clean50 award for her leadership in advancing sustainability and clean capitalism in Canada.
Michelle de Cordova MSc
Michelle has played a prominent role in Canadian responsible investment for over ten years and has more than twenty years’ experience in sustainability. As a Principal at ESG Global Advisors, she works to bridge the gap between companies and investors on environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) factors: assisting companies and boards of directors to develop ESG strategies that generate long-term value and respond to emerging capital markets expectations, and assisting investors to integrate ESG to their investment processes.
Prior to joining ESG Global in 2019, for eight years she was Director of Corporate Engagement at NEI Investments, leading the firm’s well-regarded program of dialogue with portfolio companies, engaged proxy voting, and public policy work on corporate regulations and standards. Before moving to Canada, she worked for ten years as a staff member and consultant for environment and social development non-profits in Europe, Asia, and Africa, including Oxfam and WWF, and earlier she served for six years in the U.K. Diplomatic Service. She holds a Master of Science degree in the management of integrated conservation and social development.
Michelle is Vice-Chair of the Canadian Coalition for Good Governance Environmental and Social Committee and has played a leading role in numerous industry-leading ESG collaborations at the Canadian Responsible Investment Association, the U.S. Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility, and globally through the Principles for Responsible Investment and the Investor Alliance for Human Rights. She is also a member of the British Columbia Securities Commission's Corporate Finance Stakeholder Forum advisory group. In 2020, Michelle received a Clean50 award for her leadership in advancing sustainability and clean capitalism in Canada.
Sarah Keyes CPA, CA
Sarah is a Chartered Accountant (CPA, CA) with over a decade of work experience as a thought leader, consultant and auditor. Sarah is a Principal at ESG Global Advisors, an advisory firm that helps bridge the gap between companies and investors on Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) issues.
Prior to joining ESG Global Advisors, Sarah was a Principal at CPA Canada where she produced research, thought leadership and guidance for companies to integrate climate change considerations into business strategy, risk management, governance, and reporting. Prior to CPA Canada, Sarah held senior roles at PwC and MNP working with the energy and mining sectors.
Sarah has a Bachelor of Commerce from McGill University, ISO 14064-3 Certification for Greenhouse Gas Verifications, and received the 2018 Emerging Leader Award from CPA Ontario. She is a member of the Institute for Corporate Directors Climate Strategy Advisory Board for the Canadian Chapter of the WEF Climate Governance Initiative. Sarah sits on the Board of Directors of Leading Change and Sustainable Buildings Canada.
Jason Milne CFA
Jason has more than 20 years’ experience in the investment industry in Canada. Having specialized in Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) and responsible investment for over 15 years, Jason is a frequent speaker and well-regarded authority on all matters relating to ESG.
Before joining ESG Global Advisors, Jason was V.P. and a member of RBC Global Asset Management’s (“RBC GAM”) Corporate Governance and Responsible Investment Group, the team responsible for promoting the integration of ESG into the investment process, proxy voting and engagement with investee companies. He joined Phillips, Hager & North Investment Management in 2000, became the Corporate Governance Analyst soon after, and moved into the responsible investment role in 2008 when PH&N was acquired by RBC GAM. Prior to this, Jason had worked in the corporate finance department of a national brokerage firm and as a mutual fund accountant.
Jason was the Chair of the board of the Responsible Investment Association (RIA) for four years and a board member since 2011, prior to stepping down in 2019. Jason is a CFA® charterholder, holds a CPA, CGA designation, has a BComm (Economics) from the University of Otago in New Zealand, and is a SASB, FSA Credential Holder.
Benson Ompoc is an Associate at ESG Global Advisors. Prior to joining, Benson was an Associate on MaRS Discovery District's Partner Solutions Team, the team responsible for executing sustainability- and innovation-focused projects for network partners. In this role, he developed Canada-wide innovation engagements, and designed and facilitated climate risk-related workshops. He was also an external consultant for the Ontario Ministry of Energy, Northern Development and Mines ("ENDM") where he worked to gain an understanding of the risks and opportunities of sustainable finance developments on Ontario's energy sector.
Benson holds a Master of Global Affairs (MGA), with a focus on sustainability and global markets from the University of Toronto's Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy. He holds a Bachelor of Science from Western University and is currently working to complete his SASB FSA Credential.
Rebecca Zentner-Barrett is a Senior Associate at ESG Global Advisors. Previously, she was a Proxy Voting Analyst with RBC Global Asset Management’s (“RBC GAM”) Corporate Governance and Responsible Investment group where she was responsible for making proxy voting recommendations for all of the firm’s global funds. She also did extensive research and writing on ESG-related issues, in general and in advance of company-specific engagements.
Prior to joining RBC GAM, Rebecca also worked as a project manager at a social impact research centre. Rebecca is a member of Dress for Success Ottawa’s All Women Empowered and Client Relations volunteer committees. She is also a member of St. Brigid’s Summer Camp Advisory Board. Rebecca has a Bachelor of Commerce from the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University.