Since graduating in 1984, Anne Giardini has had a successful career as a lawyer, executive and writer. Throughout, she said the lessons she learned in law school have always stayed with her.
“I have an endless sense of gratitude towards (the Allard School of Law) for the way it has equipped me to be a person in the world, and I mean that far more broadly than being a lawyer—to be a person that can help people navigate life’s complexities. That is the greatest honour, to have the ability to do that and to be able to engage with the world in a problem-solving way,” she said. “That’s not something that I’ll ever forget.”
Having arrived at Allard at 21 years of age, Giardini said her time in law school was deeply formative.
“I felt that I was not yet fully baked, that I hadn’t finished the process of growing up. I’ve always said I grew up during law school, and that’s a good place to grow up because you’re surrounded by smart people,” she said.
As a law student, Giardini became heavily involved in the Allard community, taking part in the Law Review, the famous Tricycle Race and the Law Revue theatre production, which at that time was run by former Canadian prime minister Kim Campbell.
Giardini spent over 20 years with Weyerhaeuser Company Limited, first as the company’s general counsel and then as its president. She has been involved with the resource industry more broadly, holding board positions with Hydro One, mining companies, the Sustainable Forestry Initiative Inc. and other companies.
She served as Simon Fraser University’s 11th Chancellor until August of 2020. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics from SFU, and an LLM from Cambridge University.
She is a member of both the Order of Canada and the Order of British Columbia. Her accomplishments in the legal profession were also recognized with a Queen’s Counsel appointment in 2009.
Giardini said she attributes much of her success to having open-minded approach when it comes to new opportunities and challenges and encourages current students to do the same.
“My filter has always been: ‘Is it interesting? Can I make a difference?’ The third one should be ‘Do I have time?’ but I’ve never really paid too much attention to that,” she said. “If it’s interesting and you can make a difference, you should do it. You’ll figure out the time thing later.”