Sharon Watkins - CEO and Chief Investment Strategist
Highly respected in the investment community, Sharon was immersed in the financial services industries from her early years in Toronto. She worked for McLeod Young Weir before re-locating to Calgary to join Merrill Lynch Asset Management.
At Merrill Lynch, Sharon enjoyed tremendous exposure to an international culture which greatly shaped her own investment philosophy and practice. She was mentored by global industry leaders and recognized for her accomplishments by induction into Merrill’s prestigious Falcon’s Club.
Sharon subsequently became one of the founders and Managing Director of McLean and Partners. In 2004, she partnered with Brent Pickerl to create Sandstone Asset Management, in the process becoming the first female CEO of a securities listed (IIROC) firm in Canada.
Since its inception, Sandstone Asset Management has thrived. The company has amassed an impressive track record for its return on investment for all of its stakeholders – clients, associates, and the community at large. Known for their annual “Outlook" forecasting event, Sharon and colleagues present and track an ambitious ten-year forecast, boasting an extraordinary record for accuracy and prescience. A testament to the success of the firm is the fact that many clients are now into the second and third generation of family members looking to Sandstone Asset Management for guidance in managing their financial and personal affairs.
The company has achieved a number of ‘firsts’, among them being a certified B-Corporation. Sandstone Asset Management has met the exacting standards with respect to transparency, accountability, and social and environmental performance in each of the past five years, and has scored in the top ten percent in the “Best for Workers” category in the past three years – one of only two companies to achieve this in Canada.
In 2006, Sandstone was also designated as an Imagine Canada ‘Caring Company’, recognizing excellence in community investment and social responsibility. Sandstone supports numerous charitable initiatives, leveraging the time and talents of its employees as well as providing financial assistance. The company annually presents “Connects”, an evening of inspirational speakers intended to promote awareness of global issues and inspire Calgarians to become engaged in the world around them.
Sharon is in frequent demand to bring her energetic and inspired leadership to local and national initiatives, from co-sponsoring the establishment of the Rozsa Award for Excellence in Arts Management, to acting as a mentor and sponsor for Intergen in Calgary; from serving as director on the National Board of IIROC, to sitting for many years on the Advisory Board of the Global Business Forum held annually in Banff. Her vision, compassion, and the high esteem in which she is held confirms her reputation as one of Alberta’s foremost business leaders and exceptional citizens.