Elsa Palanza is the Managing Director, Global Head of Sustainability and Citizenship for Barclays. In this role, Elsa drives the creation, implementation, and reporting of the bank’s policies and practices regarding environmental stewardship, social impact, ‘intrapraneurship’ and social innovation.
Elsa assumed this role with over 15 years of experience as a strategic advisor for companies, foundations and non-profits. Most recently, she was enlisted by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to create and launch a platform designed to advance progress on the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Prior to that, she served as Director of Commitments for the Clinton Global Initiative, a role that afforded her broad insight into best practices in sustainability, cross-sector partnership, and next generation philanthropy. She worked for several years in Washington, D.C., delivering geopolitical and industry risk analysis to large international energy companies, and also lived in Istanbul, Turkey, leading strategy and business operations for an education company’s pilot program.
Elsa has a BA from Middlebury College and attended the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, where she concentrated on international security studies and Southwest Asia & Islamic civilization. She speaks moderate Italian, Spanish, and elementary Turkish, and has travelled extensively in Latin America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East—hiking, skiing, and enjoying local food every step of the way.