Or, how going from business consulting to political impact investing actually makes sense.
Up until 3 weeks ago, I had focused my career on finding ways for business to do well by doing good. I got an MBA, trained with the best strategy consultants at the Boston Consulting Group and applied that learning to making companies more sustainable at Blu Skye Sustainability Consulting. While at Blu Skye, I pioneered the development of sustainable agriculture goals for a large retailer, I shepherded a group of for-profit and non-profit leaders in the apparel world working together to reduce the impact of their supply chain and convinced a climate-skeptic oil company to embrace a bold sustainability strategy.
As exciting as this work was, I found that what companies could do was inherently limited. This limit is created by government decisions (e.g. without a price on carbon, many investments just don’t make sense for businesses), as well as by consumer behavior (e.g. most people say they want green products but then don’t actually buy them). Searching for how to have more impact, I started to wonder how government policy is created and how to mobilize people to make better decisions.
Years ago, I had met New Media Ventures’ Director Christie George at the GreenerMind Summit, a gathering of Bay Area change makers I organize every year, and had been admiring NMV’s work from afar. When the Investor Relations Manager position opened, I seized the opportunity to seek answers to my questions and was excited to be offered the job.
The past 3 weeks have been a whirlwind as I come up to speed on the key players and the alphabet soup of acronyms in the progressive landscape. It has also been incredibly satisfying to wrestle with new, more specific questions such as: what are the points of leverage to increase the number and quality of progressive start-ups in our field? How can we find new ways of making the Innovation Fund diligence process more efficient? How can we better articulate the value we do create for the progressive movement, beyond the capital we invest? I look forward to working with our network of friends and allies to answer these questions and in turn start tackling the bigger questions that brought me to New Media Ventures.