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Forty under 40 Award winner profile: Sabrina Spencer

Vice-president, environment and regulatory, BC Council of Forest Industries

BIV is proud to recognize Sabrina Spencer, vice-president, environment and regulatory, at the BC Council of Forest Industries, and 39 exceptional business leaders with 2022 Forty under 40 Awards.

Each recipient is featured in BIV's annual Forty under 40 Magazine, and will be celebrated at an awards gala Feb. 22. Profiles of each award recipient – originally published in the magazine – will be available at in the days ahead.

Who or what is responsible for your work ethic?

I come from a southern Alberta farming family so I grew up around hard work. My grandpa is in his 90s and he is still at the farm every day to putter around. He also still manages to out-drive me on the golf course.

What drives you?

I want to make the world a little better. There are so many challenges right now – climate change, reconciliation, poverty, inequality, conflicts. I don’t think there is a single answer to any of these issues but we need to create the space for the necessary conversations to happen.

A favourite book you would recommend?

The Sushi Economy by Sasha Issenberg. It’s absolutely fascinating – a case study in the mechanics of globalization. Anna Karenina by Tolstoy is another favourite.

Now that you are (or are close to) entering your 40s, what goals have you set for yourself?

I want to spend more time volunteering my time and professional skills to support organizations and initiatives that are working to make our communities better. I have benefitted from many mentors so it’s also time to start paying that forward.

What was your toughest business or professional decision?

Every career move I have ever made has been a tough decision because I have always been blessed to work with the best colleagues. It’s always tough to leave a team you love working with, but now I’m lucky to call many of those ex-colleagues friends.

What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?

Chill out. Life happens the way it’s supposed to. We can control our knowledge about our values and goals but we need to be flexible enough to let the universe do it’s thing, and be ready to recognize opportunities when they come.

What is your best habit?

I am a faithful user of a paper agenda. Even when my schedule is jammed, I find it very calming to be able to look at everything in one place.

Tell us one improbable fact about yourself.

I really love going to the dentist and getting my teeth cleaned.

Best piece of advice ever received?

The best way to navigate life is to be unabashedly and authentically you. People might not always like that approach but they’ll almost always respect it. It’s much easier to live with challenges when you act in a way that is true to you.

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned in business?

If someone says they have never had imposter syndrome, they’re lying. Everyone has had to learn what they know and I guarantee we’ve all made missteps along the way. Own your mistakes. Ask for help when you need it. We’ve all been there.

What’s left to accomplish?

I feel like I’m just getting started! I am passionate about climate change and reconciliation. I hope to continue to be part of those conversations, and maybe get a PhD.

Read the profiles of all 40 award recipients in BIV's annual Forty under 40 Magazine. Register to recognize this year's winner at the Forty under 40 Awards gala on Feb. 22.