Lily Scott graduated from Bates with a B.A. in Anthropology and now works as the Head of Research at Veris Wealth Partners, a wealth management firm based in New York specializing in sustainable and impact investing. The Bates Student caught up with Scott to learn about her journey after Bates.

Bates Student: Tell us about the industry and the workplace that you are working in.

Lily Scott: Over the last three decades, a small and growing group of leaders have built the sustainable investing movement.  This movement will be the biggest evolution to investing in our lifetime.  Sustainable investing incorporates environmental, social and governance factors into the investment selection process to achieve a dual purpose: financial returns and positive environmental and social outcomes.  There is a spectrum of investment practices and tools in this field including impact investing, responsible investing, program and mission-related investing and more.  As calculated by US SIF – the sustainable investing industry association – the amount of money invested through these strategies amounts to 11.2% (or more than one out of every nine dollars) under professional management in the United States alone.  This represents a 22% growth from year-end 2009.

I believe that sustainable investing will be carried from a niche practice into the mainstream by our generation.

BS: How did your time at Bates influence your career decision?

LS: I first witnessed the power of capital markets to solve global social and environmental challenges during my junior year abroad.  While studying in Ft. Dauphin, Madagascar I met and befriended many women entrepreneurs. One example was Judine, who started and ran a guest house for tourists.  The income from her small business empowered Judine in a variety of ways – from providing better education to her children by enrolling them in French correspondence courses to becoming a leader in her local government.  During this transformative year abroad I observed the capacity of a woman entrepreneur to lift her family out of poverty while creating positive environmental and social outcomes in her larger community.

BS: What led you to your current position at Veris Wealth Partners?

LS: After graduating from Bates, I accepted an associate position at Cambridge Associates to gain traditional training and experience in finance and investment consulting.  This work led me to a sustainable wealth management firm with offices in New York, San Francisco and Portsmouth.  I joined Veris in 2008 to apply my newly found traditional investing skills to build investment portfolios for our wealth management clients that seek to achieve their financial objectives as well as create demonstrable positive social and environmental outcomes.  At Veris I have fulfilled many roles over the past 6 years, including my recent promotion to Head of Research.  In this role I carry out the firm’s investment research and due diligence – from evaluating private debt funds lending capital to small- and medium-sized entrepreneurs in emerging economies to equity funds investing in large public domestic companies.  I also work directly alongside Veris’ Chief Investment Officer to develop our firm’s strategy and philosophy. We are fortunate to be in an industry that is constantly evolving in part due to the shifting demographics of investors and the globalization of information and ideas.  I am also responsible for writing thought pieces such as one recently published on emerging research around fossil fuel divestment and incorporating climate change risk into an investment portfolio.

BS: Outside of work, what are some other initiatives you are involved in?

LS: As part of my work in sustainable investing I co-founded “Women Investing for a Sustainable Economy” along with two friends and colleagues.  “WISE” empowers mid-career women who are at the crux of the sustainable investing industry who seek connections with other industry leaders and work to bring sustainable investing into the mainstream.

The Bates alumni spotlight will be a bi-weekly portion done in conjunction with the Bates Business Networks. We are looking to feature the paths and journeys of those in our alumni community. If you have any recommendations or nominations, please email mpham@bates.edu.