ELITE 2022 Environmental Champion Jody Brandes of Genentech

Jody Brandes

Group Manager, Strategic Event Services


Giving the World a Greater Gift

Whether it’s joining Genentech’s internal Green Genes Club or staying active on a Buy Nothing Facebook group outside of work, Jody Brandes, HMCC, CMP, CMM is always thinking about what is best for the environment. That also extends to her day-to-day work within Strategic Event Services at Genentech. While the company was already doing things like eliminating plastic water bottles and paper agendas, Jody was interested in more ways to help both the environment and the community at large—at no cost to the company.

For instance, instead of paying for a bouquet centerpiece for its events, Jody put those funds to better use by purchasing schoolbooks, backpacks, hygiene products, sport equipment, etc. They arrange those products on the table with a note saying they will be donated to a local school, homeless shelter, or other community organization following the event. More recently, the team implemented a policy that all live events must now have a virtual component as the company works to help cut carbon emissions from travel.

And while Genentech has a sustainability team focused on larger initiatives, Jody joined the Green Genes Club, a small group of likeminded individuals from various departments who are dedicated to helping out by making smaller and more practical changes. For example, Genentech is known for giving away swag and gifts for attending internal events, but this can be wasteful. Jody helped to eliminate gift-giving for internal events and switched to a Commercial, Medical, and Government Affairs end-of-year gift for the whole organization of about 3,500 people. She also created an infographic that helps the gift purchaser make better decisions that are more environmentally and socio-economically sound, and encouraged purchases from companies that are women owned, people of color owned, and/or known for their give-back philosophy. Plus, she also gave people the option of opting out of receiving a gift—something 85 people decided to do.

Outside of Genentech, Jody is board member of the Society for Sustainable Events, has earned a Sustainable Event Professional Certificate, and speaks at events about her work and philosophy. In 2021, she received the PCMA Northern California Chapter BAMIES Sustainability Champion Award.


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