The Dwight Hall Socially Responsible Investment Fund Convenes an Alumni Panel on Environmental, Social, and Governance Investing

On February 7, 2024, the Dwight Hall Socially Responsible Investment Fund (DHSRI) hosted a panel discussion that brought together three Yale alumni leaders in the field of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investing. ESG refers to an investment framework that prioritizes ethical and socially responsible investing that considers the environmental and social effects of a company’s investment policies.

DHSRI was founded in 2008 and is the nation’s oldest and largest undergraduate-run SRI fund. The organization helps manage more than $200,000 of Dwight Hall’s endowment, ensuring funds are invested thoughtfully and sustainably and leveraging its power as an investor to influence the decisions of major corporations.

February’s event, moderated by DHSRI Professional Development Vice President Jayanti Gupta ’26, introduced current Yale students to potential careers in ESG investing and provided an accessible way for them to hear from experts in the field. The panel included three accomplished Yale alumni: Georgia Levenson Keohane ’94, the CEO of Soros Economic Development Fund–the impact investing arm of the Open Society Foundations–and an adjunct professor at Columbia Business School; Anna Blanding ’03, ’09 M.B.A., Dwight Hall Board member and Chief Investment Officer at ConnCORP, a Connecticut-based impact enterprise that uses investment to support business owners of color and drive economic development in impoverished communities; and Drew D’Alelio ’22 M.A., ’22 M.B.A., Senior Associate at Connecticut Innovations, Connecticut’s strategic venture capital arm focused on sustainable and resilient investment.

“Our original goal when discussing this event with the Dwight Hall Investment Committee was about promoting awareness about finance career paths outside of the traditional investment banking or consulting pathways and giving people an opportunity to see how impact investing works in the real world,” reflected Abhinav Karthikeyan ’25 and Cindy Li ’25, Co-Presidents of DHSRI. “We were pleased with the turnout at the event, and the speakers represented a wide variety of backgrounds that deeply intersected with DHSRI’s mission. The alumni were very excited to share their expertise and be on the panel, and there was also significant engagement in the Q&A and post-panel networking.”

Throughout the event, the panelists emphasized that ESG careers represent a feasible and ethical alternative to traditional investment banking, even if they are less well-known. In fact, none of the panelists immediately pursued careers in ESG investing after college, emphasizing the benefits of non-linear career paths. Drew started out in politics and Anna came to Yale with very little knowledge about the world of investment banking that so many of her wealthy classmates came from. Similarly, Georgia majored in History and noted that at the time, “pursuing a career in public service. . . and investing did not seem like a viable career path” and the two often seemed “at odds.”  

However, Drew emphasized that the skills needed for ESG investing are very similar to and transferable from other careers typically pursued by Yale students. “Going from policy and economics work to capital investing obviously sounds very different. Yet at the same time, I found it very easy to adjust my theories as I moved from policy to investing,” he explained. “[I thought], these are my experiences, where I was going, what skills I’m seeing [are relevant], and how to apply them. There’s a lot of just building good skills, trying new things, and rounding out your experience that’s gonna set you up for [any career].”

Each of the panelists highlighted how the growth of organizations like DHSRI has created new and exciting opportunities for undergraduate students interested in ESG careers. As Anna concluded, “At the undergraduate level now, there are many more organizations, networks, and groups than there were when I was a student. A lot of major foundations have added internship programs in their investment offices, making this career path more accessible.”

After the panel discussion, the panelists networked with interested undergraduates, having one-on-one discussions about future careers and opportunities. Abhinav and Cindy emphasized the high levels of engagement among both students and panelists in the networking section of the event and hope the event will foster long-term connections between the panelists and student attendees. 

DHSRI’s work is connected to the Grow pillar of Dwight Hall’s Engage, Grow, and Advance program delivery model, which aims to develop students’ intellectual, moral, civic, and creative capacities to the fullest with experiential learning, internships, fellowships, mentorships, and trainings.

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