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Sanjay Khanna

Strategic advisor. Foresight expert. Risk thinker. Creative educator. Empathic coach. Advises on futures thinking, the era of converging crises, environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, and human welfare.

Throughout his career, Sanjay has been a prescient advisor to private, public, and social sectors on risks and opportunities associated with converging crises that encompass geopolitical fragmentation, socioeconomic reordering, population health issues, technological acceleration, and climate change. A highly regarded educator and keynote speaker, he believes that leadership and learning are keys to unlocking an organization’s value. Sanjay has specialized training in scenario planning and is a skilled facilitator and empathic coach. His evidence-informed opinion is that growing economic and environmental uncertainty makes it essential to build social capital. Using this lens, he has enabled numerous organizations to strengthen strategy and build resilience.

Sanjay has more than 25 years’ experience working with a diverse group of organizations. Starting his career as a writer and researcher for technology companies in Silicon Valley, Sanjay advised numerous clients including Accenture, Advanced Micro Devices, Hewlett-Packard, Nokia Ventures Organization, Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), and Yamaha Motor Corp., USA (New Business Creation). Through these experiences and engagements, he recognized the importance of converging crises on mental health and decision making, and he founded the Resilient People and Climate Change Conference, a seminal meeting on the psychosocial and sociocultural impacts of climate change. Subsequently, as Resident Futurist and Saul Rae Fellow at Massey College in the University of Toronto, he conducted research, taught, and wrote about these issues. During this time, he was futurist-in-residence at the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, a consultant to Public Health Ontario, and co-curated Open Minds: Adapting to the Future, a unique public engagement program funded by Goethe-Institut Toronto that showcased the role of artists, designers, and musicians in providing early warnings of the need to adapt to the future.

For the last five years, Sanjay has been focused on innovation at the intersection of the private, public, social and academic sectors. In his consulting practice, he has recently co-authored thought leadership on converging crises with Baker McKenzie and on cybersecurity scenarios with Boston Consulting Group, BCG Platinion, and The Decision Lab. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Sanjay has facilitated numerous foresight workshops and presented keynote sessions on converging crises for clients including Baker McKenzie, BC Lottery Corporation, Competent Boards, Deloitte Canada, Family Enterprise Foundation, FMO—Dutch entrepreneurial development bank, Global Alliance for Banking on Values, Thomson Reuters Foundation, and the World Congress on Justice with Children.

Sanjay served as futurist at global law firm Baker McKenzie, working with lawyers, clients, board directors, and the C-suite to advance a holistic understanding of global risk and change. At Baker McKenzie, Sanjay played a key role in developing the world’s first multidisciplinary collaboration lab in global law, defining its ethos, and building strategic partnerships in business, technology, and higher education. In doing so, he was named a Technology Pioneer by The Lawyer, the premier legal industry publication, and was a joint winner of an FT Innovative Lawyers North America Award in the category “Innovation in the Business of Law: Strategy and Changing Behaviours.” As a member of the firm’s global ESG and climate risk committee, he was tasked with co-creating new advisory services in these domains and facilitating the international expansion of the firm’s relationship with the World Economic Forum’s Climate Governance Initiative. Prior to this, Sanjay was a senior consultant on natural catastrophe and flood risk at Insurance Bureau of Canada, the industry association for property and casualty insurance, where he advocated for “whole-of-society” approaches to addressing climate impacts. In addition, he was a senior analyst at International Data Corporation, a premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets.

At McMaster University, Sanjay is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Political Science. In addition, he is Professor of Practice in—and a member of the Advisory Board of—the pioneering Master of Public Policy in Digital Society Program based in the Faculty of Social Sciences. Sanjay has co-designed and taught undergraduate and graduate courses on strategic foresight, design thinking, and innovation within the university’s Health Leadership Academy, Michael G. DeGroote School of Business. Sanjay is on the Program Faculty of the Law of Emergencies Certificate Program at Osgoode Professional Development, York University.

Sanjay is a Visiting Lecturer at the Royal College of Art (RCA), ranked the number 1 university for art & design internationally. Affiliated with the RCA Service Design MA programme, Sanjay is an Associate of the new Liveable Planet Challenge Lab, whose inaugural partners are Adidas, Bulb, NOW Partners, PA Consulting, and UK Department for Transport. Sanjay’s role is to introduce new knowledge and insights from environmental and climate sciences, aimed at bringing the right mindsets, methods, knowledge, experience, and expertise to RCA Service Design’s world-class faculty, staff, and students, thereby raising the standards for excellence in academic-industry collaborations.

Sanjay advises Médicins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders Canada, Humanitarian Action on Climate and Environment (HACE) and The Decision Lab, a socially conscious applied research firm. He was on the Advisory Board of RiskThinking.ai, a leading climate risk data and software provider. An active member of the American Society of Adaptation Professionals, Sanjay is an Expert Reviewer of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in Working Group II (Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability), commenting on several iterations of the First Order Drafts since 2012. He has a rich understanding of the challenges and opportunities related to the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).

Sanjay’s work has been published in academic journals and textbooks. He has also been featured and quoted by media outlets including the Financial Times, CBC, The Globe and Mail, Les Affaires, and Nature. Sanjay holds an MFA in Creative Writing, a BFA in Creative Writing, and a B.Ed. from the University of British Columbia. In 2018, he completed the Oxford Scenarios Programme, Säid School of Business, University of Oxford, the world’s leading executive education program in scenario planning. In 2002, he was trained by pioneering Royal Dutch Shell scenario planners at the Global Business Network. Sanjay received a Global Competent Boards Designation (GCB.D) from Competent Boards in 2020 and is currently a contributing leader to that organization’s ESG certification program for board directors and business professionals.