Also names Senior Science Advisor and Chair of Designated Equity Committee
Cornerstone Capital Group is pleased to announce three new appointments to its Global Advisory Council. We welcome Laura Berry, Bennett Freeman and Vivienne Ming to the group. Further, we announce that Ming has agreed to serve as Senior Science Advisor and Berry will take on the role of Chair of the Designated Equity Committee of the Council.
“We are thrilled to engage the breadth and depth of the collective experience of these three exceptional professionals on behalf of our mission said Erika Karp, CEO and Founder of Cornerstone, regarding the appointments. “Further, our having Vivienne and Laura contribute their extraordinary expertise to Cornerstone will allow us to enhance our understanding of how technological transformation will be pivotal to sustainable economic growth and prosperity; and how the alignment of corporate and NGO perspectives can create extraordinary shared value.”
Ming currently serves as co-founder and executive chair at Socos, a San Francisco-based technology startup that applies cognitive modeling to create adaptive, personalized educational technology. Her specialties include theoretical neuroscience and psychology, particularly the neuroscience of perception and semantic cognition.
“I believe deeply in the power of science and technology to change the world for the better, but sustainable change comes from a deep understanding of both its true potential and true costs,” said Ming. “I am excited to support a leader in the world of sustainable finance with insight into how we will continue to transform our world.”
Berry is Executive Director of the Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility, which she joined in 2007, and is responsible for the organization’s strategic leadership as its lead external representative. ICCR’s emphasis on community, social justice and responsible investing are themes with deep roots in her life.
Cornerstone’s Global Advisory Council, now numbering more than 100 executives, creates a unique ecosystem from across the capital markets for the firm to draw upon for development, research and consultative services.
The Council’s “Designated Equity” initiative represents a re-imagination of the work of corporate philanthropy. “The ownership of the portion of Cornerstone Capital Inc. which will be granted to a group of mission-aligned NGOs as recommended by our Council and approved by our Board of Directors, is intended to optimally drive collaboration across the capital markets,” noted Karp. “This appointment will allow us to begin rolling out the Designated Equity program to maximum impact.”
“As global investment management practices continue to evolve in response to the technologically-driven inflection point in today’s world, investors are crying out for a firm with the vision and expertise that Cornerstone Capital represents,” said Berry. “Cornerstone is harnessing the experience and creativity of its founders with discipline and precision, while incorporating modes of value creation with the agility of a groundbreaking start up. It is a privilege to serve this firm as it develops its model and expands its impact.”
In a three decade-plus career, Bennett Freeman has worked at the intersection of governments, international institutions, multinational companies, investors and NGOs to improve corporate conduct and to promote human rights and sustainable development. He most recently served as senior vice president for Sustainability Research and Policy at Calvert Investments, where he led the sustainability research department with responsibility for conducting company/industry research and shareholder advocacy/public policy initiatives. Freeman is Chair of the Advisory Board of Global Witness and continues to represent Calvert as Board Secretary of the Global Network Initiative (GNI) and Board member at USSIF; he is also a member of the Governing Board of the Natural Resources Governance Institute. He served as a Clinton presidential appointee in three positions at the U.S. Department of State, including as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor.
“I’m delighted to join the Global Advisory Council of Cornerstone Capital and to contribute to its innovative leadership in the sustainable investment arena. Cornerstone has already established itself as a prism through which investors can see around corners and over horizons to spot critical new risks and opportunities,” said Freeman.
“We are delighted to add leaders to our Global Advisory Council who bring both depth and experience in sustainable investing,” said John Wilson, Head of Corporate Governance, Engagement and Research at Cornerstone Capital. “Laura brings the wisdom of the religious communities, who are so often on the forefront of social and environmental change. Over his long career, Bennett has led the push for corporate respect for human rights from the investment, NGO and governmental perspectives.”
Cornerstone Capital’s timely and motivating philosophy is to drive a positive societal impact by leveraging the various functions of the capital markets. In offering investment management, advisory and strategic consulting services, Cornerstone works with both corporations and financial institutions, promoting new research in the field of ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) analysis, and facilitating capital introductions for companies around the world engaged in sustainable business practices.
About Vivienne Ming:
Named one of 10 Women to Watch in Tech in 2013 by Inc. Magazine, Vivienne Ming is a theoretical neuroscientist, technologist and entrepreneur. She co-founded Socos, where machine learning and cognitive neuroscience combine to maximize students’ life outcomes. Vivienne is also a visiting scholar at UC Berkeley’s Redwood Center for Theoretical Neuroscience, where she pursues her research in neuroprosthetics. In her free time, Vivienne has developed a predictive model of diabetes to better manage glucose levels. She sits on the boards of StartOut.org, The Palm Center, Emozia, and the Bay Area Rainbow Daycamp, and is and advisor to Credit Suisse and Bayes Impact. Dr. Ming also speaks frequently on issues of LGBT inclusion and gender in technology. She lives in Berkeley, CA, with her wife (and co-founder) and their two children.
About Bennett Freeman
An innovative leader in business and human rights, natural resource governance and responsible investment, Bennett Freeman has played key roles in developing several major multi-stakeholder initiatives and global standards. He has worked as a consultant, board member and speaker on business and human rights, sustainability, and responsible investment.
As Senior Vice President for Sustainability Research and Policy at Calvert Investments from April 2006-April 2015, Freeman led the environmental, social and governance research, analysis, public policy and shareholder advocacy work of the largest set of sustainable and responsible (SRI) mutual funds in the U.S with nearly $13-16 billion AUM, based in Bethesda, MD. Freeman represented Calvert with current and prospective clients, at industry and issue-specific conferences, in the media, and before U.S. Government regulators and policy-makers.
He developed the investment themes of innovative new funds and contributed to Calvert’s leadership on Sudan divestment and human rights in Burma; extractive revenue transparency and conflict minerals; Internet freedom of expression and privacy; climate policy and water sustainability; corporate governance and gender equity.
About Laura Berry
Laura Berry is noted as a coalition leader and strategic change agent with interest in applying both hard and soft technologies to build a more just and sustainable world. Previously, she worked for nearly 20 years as a portfolio manager on Wall Street and in the non-profit sector, with stints at the New London Development Corporation’s Community Development Initiative and the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, where she was responsible for a $15 million grant making portfolio from The Foundation’s nearly $300 million endowment.
Laura holds a B.S. from Michigan Technology University and an M.S. from the University of Michigan; she obtained a Certified Financial Planner designation from Quinnipiac University.
About Cornerstone Capital Group
Founded in 2013, Cornerstone Capital Inc. is a woman-owned financial services firm based in New York offering investment banking and strategic consulting and, in the near future, investment management capabilities. The mission of the firm is to bring the discipline of sustainable finance to the mainstream of the capital markets. With the systematic analysis of environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors in the investment process, the Cornerstone Capital Group advises both investors and corporations on how to optimize their financial and business decision-making processes. Cornerstone’s Board of Directors, Global Advisory Council and Staff partner with organizations including the World Economic Forum, the Clinton Global Initiative, the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board, and the Principles for Responsible Investment to work towards collaboration and transparency in the global capital markets.