S&P GLOBAL: ‘Running a Marathon at a Sprint Pace’: Sustainability Expert Talks Parenting Through the Pandemic

Natasha Lamb is Managing Partner and Director of Equity Research & Shareholder Engagement at Arjuna Capital, a sustainable investment firm she co-owns. She is also mother to two young sons.

The following interview has been edited for length and clarity.

S&P Global: So Natasha, S&P Global has been doing research into how parental care responsibilities and family care responsibilities impact women’s career trajectories. I always enjoy talking to you about environmental, social, and governance topics and the work Arjuna is doing. But I thought of you in particular for this project because of our last conversation, which, as you might recall, took place a few months into the pandemic. When I called you, you were juggling questions from your kids while also doing an interview with me, and I just so strongly related to that balancing act between family and career responsibilities.

So I wanted to start just asking about your personal experience. How are you juggling this high-power career with also family responsibilities? What does that look like?

Natasha Lamb: So first and foremost, I feel incredibly lucky and privileged because I own my own business along with two partners, I have full flexibility in terms of the timing of my work, my office is in the same town that I live in. I designed that intentionally because of having children after having a three-hour commute into the city in the early days [of my career]. For so many people, this has been incredibly difficult. And then I look at my own situation and I think: I’m so lucky—and, this is incredibly difficult.

So I think everything is relative. I had the benefit of really thinking about work-life balance going into the pandemic and having laid the groundwork for that after having really experienced what it’s like not to have flexibility over your schedule and where you physically are. It was the motivator for starting my own company.

And right now, even with support and flexibility, the situation for working parents is incredibly difficult. My husband also works in investing and has flexibility, we’re able to split our day. He goes into the office in the morning and I’m with the kids. And in the afternoon, I go into the office and he’s with the kids. So we’re working these compressed hours, which kind of feel like a sprint. I had a call from a client where I was at home and locked myself in the bathroom so I could talk with them so as not to be interrupted.

I have calls that I can’t control what the timing is. And I have to make space for that. But what I really tried to do during this time is not apologize for the fact that I’m a mother. I think we’re all benefiting from a greater amount of empathy. And just understanding that we’re all humans, that it’s not just women who have babies and children.

When people are like, oh, well, I can only meet in the morning…I’ll go back and say: ‘Well, I’m with my boys in the morning, so can we find another time?’

Read the full interview here.

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