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SRI Scholarship Winners Embrace the Full Immersion into SRI
By Guest Contributor

SRI Scholarship Winners being recognized at the 2016 SRI Conference

Compiled by Robin Miller, 2016 SRI Conference Scholar

Those who attended the 27th Conference on Sustainable, Responsible, Impact (SRI) Investing in Denver may have noticed a slight change in demographics, with more faces of Millennials and Gen Z'ers gracing the crowd. For twelve of these younger faces, attendance was made possible through the SRI Scholarship program.  Two years ago, a group of long-time SRI industry professionals led by emeriti members of the First Affirmative Financial Network felt it important to increase the number of aspiring young professionals attending the SRI Conference. These members raised money to award scholarships to exceptional students and young professionals interested in careers in sustainable, responsible and impact investing from across the country. The scholarships cover the full cost of registration, lodging and transportation to the conference.

This year, the twelve scholarships were given in memory of Laurie McClain who passed away last Spring. Laurie was a financial planner and First Affirmative Financial Network advisor who was highly respected by her colleagues and peers.

Three of this year's scholars hailed from the Boston SRI community and are working on a collaborative blog post with BASIC-Boston. Here are a few of their key conference takeaways:

Robin Miller, a recent MBA/M.S. graduate from Clark University, said "One of my favorite parts of the conference was the action strategy circles. These sessions were designed to provide a space for a facilitated discussion where participants learn from and interact with one another on focused topics including genderfluenced investing and better banking practices." Robin recently accepted a position to become a licensed banker and will be putting lessons from the action strategy circles she attended directly to work.

Rafael de la Puente, an undergraduate student at Tufts University, noted hearing from Rebecca Adamson, President and Founder of First People's Worldwide, as his key takeaway. Adamson gave a speech on the impact of the North Dakota Access Pipeline on the environment and on the lives of indigenous peoples. Rafael said, "It was truly inspiring to see so many people from so many different backgrounds come together so easily, and it was truly gratifying to see that, despite setbacks, they will never stop working in the name of the values they all passionately believe in." Rafael is a current intern with Green Century.

Anton Malin, an undergraduate student at Brown University who hails from the Boston area, said, "As I immersed myself into the conference coming from a state of despair and uncertainty caused by the election the day before, I quickly realized the SRI community was exactly the antidote of inspiration I needed." Anton noted that the session on agriculture and climate change offered compelling cases on the necessity and feasibility of regenerative agriculture and what impact investors can to do provide new leadership in the area.

To learn more about the scholarship program and contribute to next year's scholarship class, visit the SRI Scholarship Program page.

Posted: March 20, 2017