Geeta combines training and over 25 years of experience in finance with passion for the environment and social justice. Under Geeta's leadership, Boston Common has built a strong investment record and substantially improved the policies and practices of portfolio companies through shareowner engagement since the firm's inception in 2003. Geeta’s prior work experience includes positions at United States Trust Company (Boston), Cambridge Associates, Inc., and in rural development/public administration in India. She has founded Walden Capital Management (1994), as well as a non-profit, Direct Action for Women Now (DAWN) Worldwide.
Geeta was honored with the Joan Bavaria Award (2015) for Building Sustainability into the Capital Markets and the SRI Service Award (2013), recognizing leadership and innovation in SRI (Sustainable, Responsible, Impact) investing. Geeta serves on the UN-supported PRI Association Board and the Board of Directors of the Sierra Club Foundation, Earthworks, and YW Boston. She received her MBA from Harvard University and her BA (Hons) and MA degrees from the University of Delhi, India.
Jen Astone, Executive Director, Swift Foundation
Jen Astone joined the Swift Foundation in 2011. Swift provides grants and investment capital to promote cultural and biological diversity with a focus on land stewardship and agroecology. Swift funds organizations focused on Indigenous and local communities involved in advocating for land and resource rights, traditional knowledge systems, and alternative economic models. Jen leads Swift’s work with two donor collaboratives: the AgroEcology Fund and the Global Alliance for the Future of Food. She also supports Swift’s initiatives in Northwest British Columbia and in the Andes-Amazon regions of Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. Prior to Swift, Jen served as Executive Director of the Firelight Foundation and as Africa Program Officer, Global Fund for Women. She has advocated for international grassroots funding and earned her Ph.D. in cultural anthropology with fieldwork on women’s home gardens in Guinea, West Africa.
George Bachrach, President, The Environmental League of Massachusetts
George is an attorney and former state senator. He served three terms in the Massachusetts state senate in the 1980s and has run for U.S. Congress with the endorsement ofThe Boston Globe, organized labor, and civic groups. After leaving the state senate, George practiced law for nearly a decade as a partner with the Boston law firm Brown, Rudnick, Freed and Gesmer. George regularly provides political commentary for Boston area TV and radio, including New England Cable News (NECN), WGBH-TV,The Boston Globe, and other media outlets. He has taught journalism at Boston University. George is a graduate of Trinity College and Boston University School of Law. He lives in Watertown with his wife and two sons.
Donnel Baird, Founder, BlocPower
Donnel Baird is the founder of BlocPower, a startup that markets, finances and installs solar and energy efficiency technology to help houses of worship, non-profits, small businesses and multifamily projects to slash their energy costs. Donnel spent three years as a community organizer in Brooklyn and one year as a voter contact director for Obama For America. He managed a national Change to Win/LIUNA campaign to leverage Dept. of Energy energy efficiency financing to create green construction jobs for out of work populations. He partnered with the Washington Interfaith Network to generate a $100m government investment in underserved communities in the District of Columbia. Donnel graduated with High Distinction from Duke University and received an M.B.A from Columbia Business School, where he was a Board of Overseers Fellow. Donnel is a recipient of Echoing Green, Poptech, and Bluhm Helfand fellowships. BlocPower is backed by Andreessen Horowitz and Kapor Capital, and has a contract with the US Dept. of Energy to connect investors to portfolios of energy efficiency and clean energy projects in American cities.
Michael Bartner, Vice President, Slow Money
Michael Bartner is the Vice President of Slow Money. Since 2010, dozens of local Slow Money networks and investment clubs have catalyzed the flow of $45 million into 450 local and/or organic food enterprises in the U.S., Canada and France. Michael is former Associate Director of Investor’s Circle (IC), one of the oldest angel networks in the country and the only one dedicated to sustainability; since 1992, IC members have invested more than $200 million in early stage ventures. Michael previously worked with the Carter Center's Global Development Initiative, SustainAbility in London, and Park Pride in Atlanta where he taught urban gardening to underprivileged children. Michael has a B.A. in Environmental Science and Political Science from Emory University and the London School of Economics. He has an M.B.A. from Northeastern University. He lives here in York, Maine with his wife and two daughters, Scarlet (3) and Opal (1).
Andrew Behar, CEO, As You Sow
Andrew Behar, As You Sow CEO, has 30 years of experience as a Senior Executive and strategist in the clean-tech, communications, and life science sectors. Prior to joining As You Sow, Andrew founded and was CEO of a clean-tech start-up developing innovative fuel cell technologies. He served as COO for a social media agency focused in the sustainability space and has been a strategic consultant in the nonprofit sector. He has founded and run start-ups in the medical device and communications areas and serves on the boards of several high-tech innovation companies. Andrew is also an elected board member of US-SIF, the Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment.
Molly Betournay, ESG Research Analyst, Federal Street Advisors
Molly joined Federal Street in 2014 with over 10 years of experience working in the sustainable investing arena. Prior to joining Federal Street, Molly was Head of U.S. Research for EIRIS, responsible for managing a team of seven research analysts specializing in ESG analytics for asset managers. She also served as Lead Sustainability Analyst for Pax World Funds, where she oversaw proxy voting and researched companies’ ESG profiles using quantitative and qualitative indicators to identify investment risk and opportunity.
Suzanne Biegel, Catalyst at Large, Women Effect and Confluence Board Member
Suzanne is an individual donor/impact investor and is the founder of Catalyst at Large and the Founder/Chief Catalyst of Women Effect, a global community of investors and philanthropists investing with a gender lens. She has served on the Board of Directors of Confluence Philanthropy for 6 years. She was previously Vice Chair of the Board of Liberty Hill Foundation. She is a long time member of Women Donors Network and Social Venture Network. She serves as an advisory council member on the Wharton Social Investment Investing in Women initiative, amongst a number of other advisory positions. Suzanne has more than 25 years of experience as an entrepreneur, angel investor, philanthropist, board member, and hands-on operational manager. She is a fellow at the Aspen Institute. Suzanne received the Beacon Award in the UK in 2015. In the 1990s, she was the CEO of IEC, an e-learning and communications firm, which she and her partner sold in 1998. Suzanne holds degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and the Wharton Business School.
Mara Bolis, Senior Advisor, Private Sector Department, Oxfam America
Mara has over 15 years of experience working in the fields of international development, emerging markets finance and business. Mara is the global lead on the Women in Small Enterprise initiative, which includes Oxfam America's first impact investing fund that focuses on women entrepreneurs in Latin America. Prior to Oxfam, Mara consulted with the Middle East Investment Initiative, a public-private partnership of the Aspen Institute, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, and the Palestinian Investment Fund, to develop a new form of small business insurance to help Palestinian exporters hindered by travel restrictions. Prior to that she worked at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York as an emerging markets financial sector analyst. She has worked with various international finance and development organizations, including US Export-Import Bank, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation and the World Bank. She has an MBA from Johns Hopkins University and a Masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown University. Mara speaks fluent Latvian and basic Russian.
Margaret Bowman, Consultant, Walton Family Foundation & Water Funder Initiative
Margaret Bowman is a consultant working to promote sustainable water solutions in the American West, including development of impact-focused private investments. Margaret has over 25 years of conservation expertise, focused primarily on freshwater systems but also including experience on marine and other domestic and international environmental issues. Previously, Margaret was Deputy Environment Program Director at the Walton Family Foundation, where she led the Foundation’s work to ensure healthy river flows in the Colorado River. Margaret has also directed the Lenfest Ocean Program at The Pew Charitable Trusts where she supported policy-relevant scientific research related to sustainable fisheries. For over a decade, Margaret provided leadership at American Rivers, a group dedicated to protecting and restoring healthy, natural rivers. Margaret held various titles while at American Rivers, including Vice President for Conservation, Director of the Dam Removal Program, and Chair of the national Hydropower Reform Coalition. Margaret has also directed the Environmental Program for Central and Eastern Europe for the Environmental Law Institute, served as an environmental consultant to the Czecho-Slovak government, and worked as an environmental attorney in private practice. She received a B.A. from Wesleyan University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.
Angel Braestrup, Executive Director, Munson Foundation
Angel is celebrating her 27th year with the Munson Foundation, having spent the last 22 years as executive director. The Munson Foundation has invested in diverse strategies to align grantmaking with the needs of the community and with the funding gaps where solutions have been identified. She has overseen the development of funder collaborative projects in south Florida, Alabama, and the Chesapeake Bay region among others. Her passions lie in connecting people, projects, and place—and in recognizing the extraordinary expertise of those who work on the myriad elements of what makes up a healthy, sustainable community. She serves on the board of The Ocean Foundation and the Norcross Wildlife Foundation, which she chairs. She is a past member of the governing bodies of the Consultative Group on Biological Diversity, the Marine Funders Working Group, the Center for Agricultural Partnerships, and the Chesapeake Bay Funders Network.
Tom Cain, CEO, GSV Sustainability Partners
Mr. Cain is CEO of GSV Sustainability Partners Inc. (www.gsvsp.com). Launched out of GSV Capital, (NASDAQ: GSVC), GSV SP is a high yield, real asset infrastructure fund of highly diversified, non-correlated investments.
For the past decade, Cain has been managing partner of venture capitalist funds focused on sustainability technologies. He is currently a Managing Partner of EFW Partners, a multi-strategy investment fund focused on energy, food and water.
Prior to this, Cain was an founder, CEO and Chairman of public companies in supply chain software and traditional down stream energy. Perhaps most notably he founded and led Distribution Architects from garage to a public global supply chain software company with 2,500 employees and $120M in revenue. With over 30 roles as a corporate director and private companies he is well versed in corporate governance.
Cain co-authored Energy Venture Capital Best Practices and is a frequent keynote speaker. Cain’s post-graduate education was with HBS and Sloan/MIT through YPO and ASU for abstract mathematics.
Daniel Cantor, National Director, Working Families
Dan was the founding Executive Director of the New York Working Families Party, shifting to National Director in recent years as the Party has expanded to 11 states. Before co-launching the WFP, he was a union organizer in New Orleans and Detroit; a community organizer in Arkansas, Texas, and Missouri; and a foundation program officer in New York. Dan also worked as Labor Coordinator for Rev. Jesse Jackson’s 1998 presidential campaign. He is a graduate of Wesleyan University and somehow received a Master’s Degree from Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs. Dan was raised in Levittown, New York, the site of his first political campaign: his mother’s election to the town’s Library Board in 1964.
Catherine has significant corporate finance and institutional advisory experience and has been in the investment field since 1993. Before joining RBC Wealth Management, she was part of the SRI Wealth Management Group at Piper Jaffray where she advised foundation, non-profit organizations and high net worth individuals on socially responsible investments. Prior to Piper Jaffray, Catherine worked with J.P. Morgan as an investment banker covering the healthcare, natural resources and technology sectors. During her tenure at J.P. Morgan, Catherine advised clients on over $5 billion of M&A, project finance and equity and fixed income underwriting transactions. She was based in the New York, San Francisco, and Hong Kong offices, and has expertise in advising multi-national companies. Prior to that, she was an analyst in the International Banking Department of Chinatrust Commercial Bank in Taiwan, part of one of the largest conglomerates in Taiwan. She performed investment analysis for a variety of project finance transactions and assisted in the establishment of the firm's Hong Kong office.
Catherine is a former Board member of the Children's Council of San Francisco, a non-profit childcare referral and resource center, and Advisory Board member for the Women's Funding Network. She is a graduate of U.C. Berkeley and has a BA in both Economics and History where she is a Cal Alumni Scholar. She is also a Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA®), a designation she earned from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. She is Series 7 and 66 registered.
Leslie Christian, Investment Advisor, Integrated Capital
Leslie Christian, a leader and innovator in social and environmental investing, is focused on the development of Integrated Capital, a framework for investing that accounts for the global risks of our time as well as the vision, values and aspirations of each client.
Through Leslie E. Christian, LLC, Leslie offers consulting and advisory services to individuals and institutions seeking an integrated capital approach. She also serves as Integrated Capital Specialist at NorthStar Asset Management in Boston. She is a past Board member and treasurer for the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE).
Leslie joined Portfolio 21 Investments in 1995 and served as its President and CEO until 2012. She co-founded Portfolio 21, one of the first public-equity mutual funds focused on long-term ecological risks and opportunities, as well as Upstream 21, a uniquely-chartered regional holding company for socially and environmentally responsible businesses. Leslie also co-founded Women’s Equity Mutual Fund, which is now a part of Pax World.
Leslie is a graduate of the University of Washington and holds an MBA in Finance from the University of California at Berkeley. She lives in Seattle, WA with her spouse Heather Andersen.
Peter Coffin, President, Breckinridge Capital Advisors
Peter Coffin is the founder and President of Breckinridge Capital Advisors, Inc., a Boston based investment advisor managing over $21 billion in fixed income portfolios. Prior to founding Breckinridge, Peter was a Senior Vice President with Massachusetts Financial Services (MFS). At MFS, he managed municipal bond portfolios totaling over $2 billion and supervised the management of another $3 billion of investment-grade and high-yield municipal bond strategies. In addition, as a member of the MFS’s Fixed Income Policy Committee, Peter shared responsibility for the oversight of a range of taxable fixed income strategies for mutual fund and institutional client portfolios. Peter began his career as an analyst in the Bond and Money Market Group of the Connecticut National Bank. He then worked in Aetna’s Bond Investment Division as an investment analyst in both the Financial Guarantee and Corporate Public Bond Departments. Peter received a BA with honors in Classical Studies from Hamilton College in 1982 and is currently serving on the College’s Board of Trustees. He is also on the Board of The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment (US SIF) and served a term on the Municipal Securities Rule Making Board (MSRB). Peter speaks regularly at conferences on topics related to the management of fixed income portfolios and his comments on the developments in the fixed income markets are regularly reported in numerous publications.
Stephanie Cohn Rupp, Managing Director of Impact Investing, Threshold Group
Stephanie Cohn Rupp brings more than 15 years of experience in global impact investing, impact fund design and implementation, and microfinance, as well as crowd funding.
Stephanie works closely with Chief Investment Officer, Ron Albahary, CFA, in developing creative goals-based solutions for clients who desire portfolios aligned with what matters most to them. Stephanie’s extensive experience spanning the global ecosystem of impact brings with it a multifaceted toolkit of skills in sourcing, evaluating and measuring opportunities from both investment and impact perspectives.
Most recently, Cohn Rupp served as CEO of Toniic, a global action community of impact investors, a member-informed global financial ecosystem which operates to create positive social and environmental impact. She led all aspects of strategy, growth and operations for the San Francisco-based organization.
Stephanie holds a B.Sc. in Politics and Philosophy from Bristol University, a M.Sc. in Comparative Government from the London School of Economics and an MPA from Harvard’s Kennedy School with a focus on Trade and Finance. She has served on the boards of international nonprofits including Women Thrive Worldwide, and Latet USA, and two global investment funds.
Catherine Covington, Client Development Manager, RSF Social Finance
Catherine has worked at RSF Social Finance for almost 5 years, first managing the operations of RSF’s donor advised fund program and now as Client Development Manager, where she is responsible for creating and implementing fundraising strategies for RSF's philanthropic and investment funds, managing RSF’s PRI Fund, engaging with current and prospective clients on a regular basis and actively participating in RSF’s field building work.
Aside from a brief stint in public accounting, Catherine has spent her entire career in the philanthropic and financial services sector with the Woodruff & Whitehead Foundations and SunTrust Bank in Atlanta as well as the Tides Foundation in San Francisco.
Outside of work, Catherine serves as the board chair of At The Crossroads, an organization serving homeless street youth in San Francisco. Originally from Georgia, she graduated from Georgia Tech with an undergraduate degree in business and currently lives with her husband Paul and cat in San Francisco.
Peter W. Culp, Partner, Squire Patton Boggs
Peter Culp is a partner in the Phoenix office of Squire Patton Boggs LLP, where he manages the firm’s Western water law and policy practice. Among other work, Peter has been closely involved in the development of policy solutions for the management of the Colorado River, including a series of domestic and international agreements over the past decade between and among the U.S. federal government, the Colorado River Basin states, major water users, and the government of Mexico. In connection with those efforts, Peter has been twice awarded the Partners in Conservation Award by the U.S. Department of Interior, as well as The Nature Conservancy of Arizona’s 2013 Outstanding Conservation Achievement Award and the Arizona Capitol Times’ Leader of the Year Award in Public Policy. Peter is the author of many published articles and reports on water and other natural resource issues, including a recently-released report with Encourage Capital on water-related impact investment strategies, Liquid Assets: Investing for Impact in the Colorado River Basin.
Carol Dahl, Executive Director, The Lemelson Foundation
Carol Dahl is the Executive Director of the Lemelson Foundation and leads the Foundation’s work to use the power of invention to improve lives. The Foundation inspires and enables the next generation of inventors and invention-based enterprises to promote economic growth and address critical challenges in the U.S., and to help solve social and economic problems for the poorest populations in developing countries. The Foundation focuses on supporting Impact Inventing, targeting social impact, environmental responsibility and creation of products and businesses that are financially self-sustaining.
Prior to joining the Foundation in July 2011, Carol worked for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in various roles, including founding Director of the Global Health Discovery. During her tenure at the Gates Foundation, Carol built the platform discovery innovation programs Grand Challenges in Global Health and Grand Challenges Explorations.
Dahl received a bachelor's degree from the University of Iowa, master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and served on the faculty of the University of Pittsburgh.
Betsy Dietel, Senior Partner, Dietel Partners
Betsy is a Senior Partner with Dietel Partners, a family-owned philanthropic advisory firm that creates relationships of trust with and between donors, grantees, and fellow funders to empower people to advance justice in the world. Betsy has a combined career in nonprofit management, community organizing and fundraising, much of it focused on launching organizations that build community. She was the founding executive director of Lake County Community Foundation, The Chicago Community Trust’s first affiliate, and Conserve Lake County, an environmental advocacy organization. She and her husband were part of the senior management team that helped build Prairie Crossing in Grayslake, Illinois, the nation’s first conservation community. Her international experience includes living and working in rural Kenya and Panama. She is a trustee of the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, and is the Board Chair of the Child Care and Learning Center and Lyon Family Deer Island, LLC.
Allison Duncan (CEO, Amplifier Strategies) Allison created Amplifier Strategies to help philanthropists become more strategic and impactful. The firm offers a full range of philanthropic services, including program strategy and management along with impact investing. Allison is responsible for the firm's overall strategic direction. She also provides account management services for some of the firm’s leading clients, including (past and present) the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Arcus Foundation, Barefoot College, Environmental Defense Fund, Erol Foundation, Libra Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, Swift Foundation, and many others. Allison began her philanthropic career at the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation as Director of Program Finance, creating the practice to perform due diligence, measure progress towards initiative outcomes, and structure grants and program-related investments to strengthen the capacity of grantee organizations. Prior to joining the Moore Foundation, Allison was a manager at Deloitte, where she worked in the Carolinas, Russia, New York and Silicon Valley.
Patricia Farrar-Rivas, Founding Principal and CEO, Veris Wealth Partners
Patricia Farrar-Rivas is a founding principal and CEO of Veris Wealth Partners, a wealth management firm committed to aligning wealth with values. She has been providing investment advisory and wealth management services since 1992. Prior to Veris, Patricia led the effort by Silicon Valley-based public accounting firm, Frank, Rimerman + Co. to launch its new investment advisory subsidiary. She also co-founded the New York office of Progressive Asset Management in 1994.
Earlier in her career, Patricia worked on economic development, local empowerment, and social justice. She realized the degree to which economic factors were embedded in those challenges, and, as the responsible investing industry was emerging in the U.S., turned her attention to advising asset owners on the potential impact of their investment policies and decisions.
Patricia served on the board of As You Sow, a nonprofit organization promoting corporate responsibility through shareholder advocacy and innovative legal strategies. Patricia is a principal consultant to the Envestnet Sustainability Platform and a member of the Envestnet Advisory Board. She is also a member of the Standards Council for the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB), a nonprofit that works on developing and disseminating industry-specific sustainability accounting standards for material, nonfinancial (ESG) information. Patricia is based in San Francisco, where she lives with her family.
Lauren Ferstanding, Director of Product Development, NatureVest
Lauren Ferstandig is the Director of Product Development for The Nature Conservancy’s impact capital team, NatureVest. NatureVest was launched in 2014 to capitalize on the growing impact investment sector, where it seeks to build an investment pipeline across the agricultural, water, fisheries and environmental markets. Lauren is developing the Conservancy’s freshwater impact investment strategy. Key freshwater strategies include: the development of funds that invest in water rights with the dual purpose of generating financial and environmental returns. The Conservancy’s first impact capital fund in the water rights space was launched in Australia in December 2015. Prior to her time at the Conservancy, Lauren spent 11 years working in the corporate credit and equity markets.
Temple has more than 20 years of operating experience, direct investing, corporate finance and project finance for early-stage and growth companies. Temple is on the board of the Single Family Office, Keller Enterprises LLC, an active investor in the clean energy and sustainable agriculture/food sectors.
He is a Strategic Advisor for Flagship Ventures and advises members of the Venture Capital and VentureLabs management teams with a particular focus on the Sustainability portfolio including sustainable food/ag, animal/human nutrition, renewable fuels and water.
Through MIT and Harvard, Temple helps Next Gens of multi-generational family offices to develop domain expertise, investment knowledge and financial skills to be more effective sustainability focused investors. He co-founded the Harvard Kennedy School Program in collaboration with the World Economic Forum titled "Impact Investing Strategy for the Next Generation" under the Initiative for Responsible Investing. Temple is a MIT Sloan Fellow and helps organize the MIT “Visionary Investing” workshops for family offices.
Charles Fields, Chair, Edward Hazen Foundation
Charles Fields currently serves as a Senior Program Officer for Los Angeles for The California Endowment. Under the Endowment’s 2010-2020 strategic plan, Fields is responsible for strategy development, grant making and leadership activities in Los Angeles County. Fields co-developed and manages The Endowment’s $50 million grantmaking and leadership program focused on improving the health, wellness and opportunity structures of boys and young men of color—Sons & Brothers program. During his tenure at the Endowment, Fields also co-developed a $260 million public private loan fund, the FreshWorks Fund, to increase access to healthy foods and spur economic development in underserved communities in California. As a grant maker at the Marguerite Casey Foundation, Fields managed a $29 million portfolio of grants focused on community economic development, civic engagement, educational equity, violence prevention and family support.
Fields has his Master’s in Education and Bachelors in Organizational Communications and American History from Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Deborah Frieze, Founding Partner, Boston Impact Initiative
Deborah Frieze is an author, entrepreneur and social activist. Her award-winning book (co-authored with Meg Wheatley), Walk Out Walk On: A Learning Journey into Communities Daring to Live the Future Now, profiles pioneering leaders who walked out of organizations failing to contribute to the common good—and walked on to build resilient communities. She is is Founding Partner of the Boston Impact Initiative, aplace-based impact investing fund that uses equity, debt and grantmaking to support enterprises that address the growing wealth gap and ecological challenges of our times.The fund takes an integrated capital approach, combining investing, lending and giving to help build resilient local economies. Deborah is also founder of the Old Oak Dojo, an urban learning center where neighbors gather to rediscover how to create healthy and inclusive communities.