Tanya dos Santos
Global Head of Sustainability and Investec Rhino Lifeline
My role has evolved over the 19 years that I have been at Investec. It started as a group strategy role supporting the group executive - and the CEO in particular - in setting, monitoring and communicating their strategic objectives for the group. In 2011, I assumed the Sustainability role which involves consolidating and reporting the non-financial position of the group. We are responsible for compiling and communicating the corporate sustainability information including the impact Investec has on the economy, our people, society and the environment. Part of our Sustainability focus includes our conservation efforts of which Investec Rhino Lifeline is the most prominent and active. We work with carefully selected partners and leverage the strong Investec brand to raise awareness and much needed funds for rhino education, rescue and demand reduction.
My first full time role was at Commercial Union in the middle office of the money markets division. I then moved to the Swiss investment bank, UBS where I worked in the research division in South Africa for 2 years before moving to the London office doing strategy in the EMEA division. I returned to South Africa in 2001 where I joined Investec to do the Strategy role and over the years this evolved to include Sustainability and Investec Rhino Lifeline.
I have a Masters in Economics Cum Laude and have alumni status from Harvard Business school after completing several leadership courses at Harvard through the Investec leadership programme. I am most fulfilled when I am making a difference to the lives of those around me. Every day at Investec is different and brings with it new challenges. From a strategy perspective, I loved knowing that I could add value to the executive and assist in reducing their workload. The reporting side of Sustainability can sometimes be tedious but it’s so rewarding to be communicating and sharing the wonderful things Investec does for our people and our communities. Representing Investec Rhino Lifeline has become my true passion. I’m so honoured to have the support and freedom to drive this special project as long as you keep perspective and show the social and environmental impact.
I come from a very close Portuguese family and we love spending time together. My son of 14 and daughter of 11 are both very active (and social) so most weekends are spent at school sporting events or with the rest of the family enjoying braai’s and appreciating my father’s extensive wine collection. My passion for African wildlife (and hence protecting rhino) stems from childhood holidays spent in the Kruger National Park. I am fortunate that my family has an interest in a commercial lodge in the Sabi Sands private reserve and we spend many family holidays there searching for elusive black rhino or the rare pack of wild dog. My other passion is snow skiing which we have been doing since I was 10-years old and both of my children are now adept skiers. I love the thrill of going off-piste and the challenge of navigating unchartered territory through variable conditions to reach the bottom of a mountain. Only to head back up and do it all over again in less time or with better technique. Overall, I love being in nature because it gives me perspective on life and I have a policy to travel to a new country every year. I believe that travelling is the best education as it not only teaches us history but also helps to open our minds to different cultures and the diversity of the world around us.