Published: Oct. 5, 2023 By


Tonie Hansen is an ESG leader and started building the ESG department at NVIDIA in 2006. She built their corporate responsibility functions from the ground up and worked on their strategic relationships and brand reputation. She originally went to NVIDIA to build its charitable foundation, and also spent 15 years before that in several different marketing roles. She currently serves as an advisor on the CESR Advisory Board, and is spearheading the ESG Bootcamp on October 12th. Tonie spoke with CESR recently about her many roles and the upcoming ESG Bootcamp that she has been working on planning. 

Hear from Tonie and other experts at CESR's ESG and Sustainability Bootcamp

When: Thursday, Oct. 12th from 11-2 p.m.

Where: C4C Flatirons Room

Who: Seats are still available for degree-seeking Leeds students. Unfortunately, no more seats are available for community members or non-Leeds students.

Sign up and learn more here

Tonie Hansen

On her career path and experience in ESG and Sustainability.

Tonie switched her career path three times during the course of her entire career. She started by studying Business Management at the University of New Haven. After working in Marketing for several years, she decided to get her MBA and later became interested in strategic corporate giving. Hansen began working as a Senior Manager of CSR at the NVIDIA Foundation, which she grew into a role building the ESG department at NVIDIA. 

On getting involved with CESR and serving as a CESR Advisory Board member

After mentioning to her friend Diane Solinger, current chair of the CESR Advisory Board, that she is interested in learning about and interacting with the next cohort of sustainability professionals, Tonie was introduced to CESR. She decided to join the board in order to work with youth who are passionate about making an impact. Looking toward the future, she is excited to work on the next step beyond cutting carbon emissions, which is replenishing the ecosystem and focusing on biodiversity. 

On the ESG & Sustainability Bootcamp, what students will get out of attending and why the topics we’re covering are important

“The purpose of the ESG & Sustainability Bootcamp is to help students understand what their career options are if they are passionate about sustainable business and to connect them with some of the people doing the work,” Tonie says. “For example, students should understand that the ‘Head of ESG’ role is an amazing one, but not the only way to make an impact.” 

She also hopes to teach students how to apply the skills that they have developed over their education or work careers to change the culture at the organizations they will work for.

The bootcamp will begin with an introduction to ESG values and why they are important by Mike Leeds, and then Tonie will go into what ESG (focusing on the E and the S for the sake of time) careers exist in each area. See the full agenda here.

On the key challenges and opportunities in the ESG & Sustainability space

Tonie breaks her response to this question down into two parts, the macro and the micro sides. On a bigger picture scale, biodiversity is a huge opportunity for students interested in ESG and Sustainability. Today, companies are doing only what they need to do by government standards. How do we incentivize and encourage them to go above and beyond to do the ecosystem repair work that is required? The main challenge with this is that it is very expensive. On a micro level, regulations are becoming a way of life for many companies. These companies will need to pay people to do the work necessary to gather data and ensure regulations are met. 

Advice for students seeking careers in ESG

"The opportunity that presents itself now is to figure out how you want to make your impact in ESG," Tonie says. "How do you want to spend your time? There are a lot of different ways to make change, and students should explore and figure out which one is right for them. Some of the most important skills students will need include change management, program management, and strong communication skills with executives."

Discover sustainability and ESG careers, build your network, and develop career-relevant skills through CESR events. Learn more about the ESG Bootcamp and all we have to offer on the CESR Events Page.