Position: Vice president and chief social investment strategist, Calvert Group, a Bethesda firm that manages 32 mutual funds with more than $10 billion in assets under management, including "socially responsible" funds.
Career highlights: Director, social research department, Calvert; senior policy analyst, Northeast-Midwest Institute; program manager for technology analysis, climate policies and programs, Environmental Protection Agency; vice president, ecological and economics research, Wilderness Society; and senior associate and project director, Congressional Office of Technology Assessment.
Education: BS, forest management, Northern Arizona University; MS and PhD, resource economics, Michigan State University.
Personal: Lives in Arlington with husband, Ross, and their daughters, Amber, 14, and Tessa, 11.
How did you get to where you are?
My life is about saving the world: protecting the natural environment, and creating ways for people to lead more rewarding and enriching lives. No matter what issue I've worked on -- from natural resource policy to science and technology policy, from manufacturing competitiveness to defense conversion, from climate change to reemploying displaced workers -- my aim is always to use the tools in my tool kit to improve the situation at hand.
I'm a baby boomer, and my first real involvement with policy and civic life came in the 1960s, with Earth Day, the peace protests, and civil rights. I chose to study forest management and science when I first went to college because I grew up as a skier and a rock climber in Colorado, and the ability to go out my front door and be climbing in Eldorado Canyon in less than an hour was a precious opportunity I didn't ever want to lose.
While there has been this strong save-the-world theme running through my career, it has assuredly not been a career that was carefully planned and built with the goal of getting where I am today as chief social investment strategist at Calvert. I had a very wise professor who, when I was finishing my doctorate and agonizing over two very different job offers, counseled me with words I've never forgotten: "You don't need to decide what to do with the rest of your life, Julie. Just decide what to do next, and do it well."
When I was first approached by a headhunter about my interest in Calvert . . . I looked at the job description and discovered that I could do something I never thought anyone could do -- save the world using the power of money. Up until then, I thought the major way to effect change was using the power of law, working in or influencing public policy. What I love at Calvert is that business investors have at least as much power as governments, and often without the gridlock.
It's enormously satisfying to be able to point to places where I know my work has improved lives. Here at Calvert, I've helped to convince Dell to establish a computer take-back and recycling campaign that helps keep electronic waste -- the fastest-growing waste stream in America -- out of landfills. Many companies have made board diversity a part of their corporate charters as a result of the work Calvert has done.
I know what that success looks like. It feels like a success when my younger daughter, when she was 5, made a book in kindergarten entitled, "My Mom," and one of its pages was a picture of me typing away at my computer, with the caption "My mom works to make nature better. So does my dad."
-- Judith Mbuya