JUMP/SCALE: Episode 4 of the New Normal: Activist Investor Natasha Lamb of Arjuna Capital

Watch Episode 4 of The New Normal here.

On Tuesday, April 14 our guest was Natasha Lamb, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Arjuna Capital. Here are five key takeaways and adaptation strategies from the conversation:

  1. Now is “The Great Pause.” First responders and essential workers are the heroes of the coronavirus pandemic. For those of us with the safety, security and privilege in this moment to be able to reflect, it is our responsibility to do so and ask ourselves: what works and doesn’t work about our economy? How can we get over the disease of busyness and give the planet a break? How can we be more humane and create an empathetic economy?
  2. It’s time to reframe what the purpose of the economy is. Caring for people and communities is the point. Socially responsible investing and shareholder activism are not nice-to-haves or separate buckets “over there,” these movements and others are the essential work. With this in mind, let us invite everyone to take personal responsibility for their assets—financial, intellectual, human—and shine a light on money and its influence, channeling it not only for financial security but also for the betterment of all.
  3. What can you do as a leader to be more resilient? Natasha shared that meditation is a core self-care strategy. She meditates twice a day. It’s her way of slowing down and reminding herself to neither hold herself to undoable standards nor try to change things that are out of her control. It’s the quality of our reaction/response that counts.
  4. “Move from a place of faith and not fear.” For Natasha, a lot of her work is speaking truth to power and disrupting patterns. This can produce fear, anxiety, and financial insecurity. Natasha’s personal practice helps her to be courageous in challenging situations, and to acknowledge difficult emotions while remaining grounded in her faith in the power of kindness, community, and justice. Importantly, Natasha offers that rocking the boat doesn’t have to be combative. Oftentimes what works best is an aikido move, which entails appealing to the other person’s enlightened self-interest. 
  5. Good leaders sometimes need an excuse to take action from employees or activist investors. Therefore, be the person who sparks change. Natasha is encouraged by what she is seeing, like workers rising up and demanding more from employers (e.g., paid sick/family leave, fair wages). She is not letting up on her shareholder activism work (e.g., pressuring Google, Facebook, and Twitter to put a human and civil rights expert on their boards). In fact, now is precisely the time when leaders have more flexibility to navigate and enact new policies.

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