Yep, this line (title) makes for a nice ice breaker when I’m on stage speaking. And I have to admit that I appreciate the alliteration with the “p’s.”
But it also summarizes how I try and contribute to the world -- Environmentally motivated, backed by research and data, with finance and entrepreneurship as powerful tools, a hint of levity, and refusal to accept normal definitions of what’s normal.
“Wait, wait...he has a ponytail and works in finance? Is he financing marijuana farms?”
Let me step back for a second…
If you are looking for a change, a business pivot, a personal rebranding, then maybe my path can be one example showing that it can be done. (Or, as you’ll see in future blogs, how to avoid the giant cow patties I have stepped in along the way.)
About 25 years ago, I was purely focused on environmental science, studying in the rainforests of Costa Rica and Panama. Avoiding malaria, dengue fever, and spider monkey urine were exciting, but...
After a detour teaching in Japan and traveling 80,000 miles in Asia for a few years, I dug deep into green real estate for my master’s and PhD degrees, happened upon private equity, and joined a firm managing billions of dollars, with a focus on environmental strategies.
Later, I went on to start some small companies, built a career in finance, and became a professor at Duke University and UNC Chapel Hill, teaching MBA, Masters of Environmental Management, and executive education students about changing the world for the better using business and finance. Here’s a summary of my work today.
That transition -- from "jungle boy" to "finance guy" -- is something I wouldn’t have believed if you’d told me about it 25 years ago.
Want a change? Take steps in the next 24 hours to make it happen. (Go on, the clock is ticking...)
Entrepreneurs for Impact are about action, not just analysis, right? (OK, OK, I know. I should close those 10 Excel files on my laptop and get back to action.)