Renegade Capital

How the NFL’s Washington Football Team got its new name: Geeta Aiyer, President, Boston Common Asset Management

November 29, 2021 Andrea Longton, Ebony Perkins, & Leah Fremouw Season 1 Episode 5
Renegade Capital
How the NFL’s Washington Football Team got its new name: Geeta Aiyer, President, Boston Common Asset Management
Show Notes

In a broken financial system that frequently rewards short-term profit over sustainability, the idea of investments as leverage for positive change can seem like a pipedream. We know, however, that money does talk. Key corporate walk-backs like confederate flag prohibitions at sports events and the retiring of Washington Football Team’s former, racist name were prompted by threats to returns from sponsors and other capital heavyweights. So why can’t shareholders do the same? Many of our listeners probably receive, and then toss out, those mailed notices of impending fund votes, but are there more ways for us to make a difference in the places we park our money as investors? On this episode of Renegade Capital we turn to Geeta Aiyer, President of Boston Common Asset Management and pioneer shareholder activist, to answer the question: do investors have a voice?

About Geeta.

Geeta Aiyer is a pioneer in impact investing and shareholder activism. She combines training and experience in finance with passion for the environment and social justice. The President of Boston Common Asset Management, Geeta’s leadership saw the organization build a strong investment record and substantially improve the policies and practices of portfolio companies through shareowner engagement. Geeta previously served as the President of Walden Asset Management, and has worked at both the United States Trust Company of Boston and Cambridge Associates, Inc. In addition, Geeta has founded two previous companies, Walden Capital Management, and East India Spice, as well as an NGO, Direct Action for Women Now (DAWN). She has an MBA from Harvard Business School, and BA (Hons) and MA degrees from Delhi University, India. On top of being a professional powerhouse, Geeta is an activist. She attended the Keystone Pipeline Rally in 2013; regularly engages for peace, immigration reform, and chemical safety; and was instrumental in pressuring the Washington Football Team into changing its name.

A renegade not only listens but acts. We've consolidated a few tips from this episode to help you invest in local communities.

  1. Consult your personal financial advisor: Ask your fund managers what you own, how those companies are engaged, and if they have an overall strategy regarding shareholder advocacy. 
  2. Inquire about your employer's investments: Organizations usually have more resources than the average person that can be used to advocate for impact. Encourage your employer to work with their fund manager to participate in shareholder advocacy.

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