Vanessa Flores Andersen

Strategic Advisory Council Member

Vanessa Flores Andersen is an environmental scientist with a background in environmental education, green construction and corporate sustainability. She attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Universidad San Francisco de Quito in Ecuador. While working on her undergraduate degree, Vanessa spent three months in the Galapagos Archipelago, where she observed the Galapagos tortoises that led to Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, the dynamic volcanic activity throughout the islands, and their pertinent flora and fauna. She had the opportunity to work with Hacienda Tranquila, a nonprofit organization, and assist in educating the local population of San Cristobal Island regarding the importance of environmental stewardship. Their collaborative effort encouraged the community to prevent the spread of invasive species, protect their wildlife, and evaluate the efficacy of local policies.

In her current role as the Sustainability and Property Operations Manager for Ace Hardware Corporation, Vanessa is responsible for developing and implementing a long-term sustainability strategy across the organization. She works with internal and external business partners to enhance approaches and processes and provide effective guidance to foster change and innovation. Vanessa also manages the built environment at Ace Hardware’s corporate campus and provides support to the facilities management teams at each of the fifteen retail support centers. Key areas within her 2022 strategy are to grow the employee-led sustainability council, provide access to environmental education for employees, conserve natural resources throughout the Ace supply chain, generate renewable energy at the retail support centers, and support our local communities through partnerships and volunteerism.

Vanessa was born and raised in the West Lawn neighborhood on Chicago’s southwest side. She played volleyball and soccer throughout the neighborhood schools and learned to drive at Midway Airport. She knew at a young age that she wanted to have a meaningful career, travel, learn about other cultures and customs and most importantly, make her immigrant parents proud. Vanessa firmly believes in the power of education to advance sustainability and have a more equitable and just world.