Brendan N. LeBlanc
AMHERST – Brendan N. LeBlanc, 48, died on December 12, 2020 after a sudden illness.
He was born on August 10, 1972 in Boston, MA a son of the late James and Jayne (Murray) LeBlanc.
Brendan was raised and educated in South Hamilton, MA. He graduated from Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School in 1990 where he played golf, hockey and tennis, sang in the Concert and Acapella
Acapella Choirs, and performed in Musicals. Brendan got his comedic start in high school calling Community Bingo and was well known by all who knew him as a gifted joke and storyteller.
Brendan graduated from Gordon College in 1994 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting. On August 15, 1998 he married Stephanie (Sawyer) LeBlanc of Boxford, MA. He began his professional career as an Auditor in Public Accounting. In 1999 he lived and worked in Luxembourg and traveled Europe with Steph. Most recently, his professional career was focused on sustainability.
Brendan lived and breathed sustainability and cared deeply about making the world a better place. His dedication, passion and love for his work and colleagues inspired the next generation of sustainability leaders. He paired his accounting background with his dedication and unique sense of humor to change the minds of conservative business leaders all over the US, arguably the planet, to see that sustainability has more value than almost anything else they do: “the economy is a wholly-owned subsidiary of society,” he would remind us all regularly.
Brendan was a trailblazer, applying the rigger of traditional accounting standards to corporate sustainability reporting. He founded LeBlanc & Associates, LLC and worked with some of the early leaders in corporate sustainability. In 2008, he worked with Ben & Jerry’s to provide a first-of-its-kind independent accounting assurance for their Social and Environmental Assessment Report.
His entrepreneurial mindset and inherent competitiveness always kept him a few steps ahead of the field – or the “Sustainarati” as he called them. Brendan joined Ernst & Young (EY) in 2011, helping establish the foundations of its global sustainability practice and rising to Partner. He served on various boards, spoke at universities and conferences, and participated in a number of international sustainability-related standards developments – from measurement and reporting, to sustainability risk management to human rights. Within the companies he worked with, he drove change that flowed on to impact the health and well-being of thousands: helping a major fast-food chain be more open and transparent about their ingredients and eliminating trans-fats from their menu; and a construction equipment company reduce the potential for human rights violations in their value chain. He would share with anyone who would listen: “the only thing more dangerous than no progress is the illusion of progress.”
His impact did not stop there. Brendan was truly one of a kind - no matter how long your life crossed paths with him, he would always make you feel like you were part of his friends and family circle. He guided countless people both personally and professionally. By always staying true to himself and keeping his energy and (sometimes questionable) sense of humor, he would push all of us to be better and do more. He taught us that progress and impact are best achieved alongside a laugh. His love of work, life, family, friends and colleagues was infectious and for him those things were inseparable. It’s no surprise that he dedicated his career to inspiring anyone who would listen, or even those who wouldn’t, to value the intangible. For Brendan, it was the intangibles that mattered most – how we treat people, our planet, ourselves.
In short, Brendan’s legacy of making the world a much better place for all of us will live on far into the future. Gary Hirshberg, the co-founder and chairman of Stonyfield Farm, said of his friend Brendan, “He was one of the most effervescent, positive, enthusiastic and inspiring sustainability entrepreneurs I have had the privilege of knowing. As I told the Stonyfield team when I heard the news, a very bright light has now gone dark.”
The simplest pleasures in life brought great joy to Brendan. He loved playing hockey, golf, tennis and card games with his vast network of friends. He loved to watch sports, meet new people, tell jokes and stories, and spend time with his family.
Brendan was predeceased by his Mother and Father, Jayne (Murray) LeBlanc and James LeBlanc and his two sisters Danielle LeBlanc and Jessica LeBlanc.
In addition to his wife, Stephanie LeBlanc, survivors include two children, Anabel LeBlanc and Samuel LeBlanc, companion dogs Frankie and Gert, Mother-in-Law Carolyn Sawyer of Gouldsboro, ME, Father-in-Law Stephen Sawyer of Boxford, MA, Step-Mother Sharon LeBlanc of Ipswich, MA, Brother-in-Law Garrett Sawyer, wife Lori (McCann) Sawyer, and nieces Faith Sawyer and Rachel Sawyer of Northbridge, MA, Sister-In-Law France Mahan of Denver, CO, Aunt Jane Hughes of Holbrook, MA, Cousin Joel Hughes, wife Elizabeth Hughes and children Makayla Hughes, Alyssa Hughes and Dylan Hughes of Tyngsboro, MA and Cousin Debra Hughes of Rockland, MA.
SERVICES: A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date and time to be announced.
DONATIONS can be made in Brendan’s honor to Personal Responsibility Organization, 7 Meadowcrest Road, Hooksett, NH 03106 and Change is Simple, 100 Cummings Ctr. Suite 227Q, Beverly, MA, , two Non-Profit Organizations that were dear to Brendan’s heart and representative of his life’s work of impacting people and the planet.
To share a memory or offer a condolence please visit www.smith-heald.com. Arrangements are in the care of the Smith & Heald Funeral Home, 63 Elm Street, Milford, NH 03055.