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About Us


Management
Heidi Welsh,
Co-founder & Executive Director
Robin Young
,
Research Director

Editor
Carolyn Mathiasen,
Editor
Co-Founder
Peter DeSimone,


Board of Directors

Please click here for a full list of our board and biographies
Analysts
Sol Kwon | Jane Meacham | Sara Murphy | W. Trexler Proffitt Jr | Julia Beth Proffitt | Susan Williams |

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Heidi Welsh,
Executive Director

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Heidi Welsh, the founding executive director of the Sustainable Investments Institute (Si2), has analyzed and written about corporate responsibility issues for more than two decades. She oversees Si2's operations and research. Welsh was the lead author of Si2's two studies about the corporate governance of political spending in the S&P 500, published in 2010 and 2011 with the IRRC Institute. Previously, Welsh helped author seasonal and annual reports on proxy voting trends starting in 1987 at the Investor Responsibility Research Center (IRRC), closely followed social and environmental shareholders resolutions and their results, and for 16 years ran the monitoring program examining corporate compliance with the MacBride principles for fair employment in Northern Ireland. She co-authored the Carbon Disclosure Project's 2007 report on S&P 500 companies and also set up a global sustainability metrics project for RiskMetrics analyzing 1,800 of the world's biggest companies. Welsh also served on the Global Reporting Initiative's Electric Utility Sector Working Group in 2008-09 and participated in an Oxford University assessment of Northern Ireland's affirmative action legislation. Welsh received her bachelor's degree in political science, cum laude, with a concentration in science, technology and public policy, from Carleton College. She holds a master's degree from the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University.


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Robin Young,
Research Director


A contributing researcher and analyst since Si2's inception, Robin Young oversees Si2's research efforts in all areas of corporate political activity and related shareholder proposals and co-authored its two studies on corporate political spending. In addition, he covers all research for executive compensation, mortgage and banking issues as well as contributing to research and reporting on environmental and sustainability proposals. Previously, he was a senior analyst for IRRC, ISS and RiskMetrics from 2005 to 2009. There he covered a wide range of corporate governance issues, including evaluation of company specific compensation plans, management and shareholder sponsored corporate governance issues with special emphasis on mergers, acquisitions and recapitalizations, as well as management and shareholder proposals related to executive compensation. While at IRRC and ISS he also helped collect and verify evergreen and overall dilution data and was a contributing writer to several dilution studies. He helped manage overseas teams and perform quality control checks on data collected by these divisions, as well as helping to maintain and manage the organizations' databases of shareholder proposals. He also worked for RiskMetrics' ESG group, covering political contributions and predatory lending. In addition to writing background materials and company analyses on these topics, he contributed to custom consulting projects, providing research for several clients and helping to develop cases for them on corporate engagement. Before coming to IRRC, Young also worked as loan officer and team leader for several mortgage businesses. He holds B.A. in political science from Colorado College.


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W. Trexler Proffitt Jr.,
Analyst & Consultant


W. Trexler Proffitt Jr., Ph.D., is a professor of practice in organization and management at Emory University's Goizueta Business School. Prior to that, he spent 10 years teaching business at liberal arts colleges: first, as a professor of business, organizations, and society at Franklin and Marshall College; and more recently as chair of the entrepreneurial studies program at Muhlenberg College. His current teaching responsibilities emphasize competitive strategy and social responsibility. In addition, he has extensive experience teaching management topics ranging from introductory courses to electives in negotiation, business and society, social innovation, and entrepreneurship. His research examines corporate governance and accountability, looking specifically at shareholder activism from a social movement perspective. Proffitt worked for five years at IRRC before graduate school. He earned his Ph.D. and M.S. in organization behavior from Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management and his B.A. in American history from Yale University.


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Carolyn Mathiasen ,
Editor


Carolyn Mathiasen began her career at Congressional Quarterly, where she edited various sections of its Weekly Report and was the editor for the annual Almanac from 1974 through 1977. In 1978 she moved to the Investor Responsibility Research Center. She was its first editor, working on proxy reports analyzing issues raised in shareholder resolutions, the newsletter News for Investors (later the Social Issues Reporter) and the publications of the South Africa Review Service. In 1975 she became director of IRRC's Social Issues Service, managing the social issues staff and proxy season, and continued to put together the newsletter and an annual report summing up the proxy season and examining how institutional investors voted on shareholder resolutions. She left in 1995 to move temporarily to Paris with her husband, but returned to IRRC in 1997 to work as a half-time editor. When Institutional Shareholder Services acquired IRRC in 2006, she continued in that role until 2012 when she retired. Over her years in the proxy advisory world, her particular interest has been in analyzing the Securities and Exchange Commission staff's shifting interpretations of the rule that governs which shareholder proposals corporations must include in their proxy statements. She has a master's degree in History from Oberlin College.


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Peter DeSimone,
Co-Founder


Peter DeSimone was Si2's deputy director until his death in late November 2014. He helped cofound the organization in 2009. He had worked on investor responsibility issues since 1995, beginning at the Investor Responsibility Research Center (IRRC) with work on the challenges and opportunities posed by a post-apartheid South Africa. His work at Si2 and other organizations had a particular emphasis on international labor and human rights, diversity and equal employment opportunity. He investigated sweatshop abuses in corporate supply chains starting in 1996, conducted field research in more than 20 countries and coauthored the 1998 landmark study, The Sweatshop Quandary, Corporate Responsibility on the Global Frontier, supported by the Ford Foundation. DeSimone also led RiskMetrics Group's labor and human rights research, helped launch a corporate engagement service for investors and worked with Heidi Welsh on a global sustainability assessment project with research teams in Europe, the United States and the Philippines. In 2009-11, DeSimone was director of programs for what is now US SIF, developing policy, communications and programs on corporate sustainability disclosures and financial reform. DeSimone also participated as an Organizational Stakeholder in the Global Reporting Initiative. He was an honors graduate of The American University with dual majors in international development studies and economics. Peter will be keenly missed by a wide circle of clients, colleagues and friends.


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Sol Kwon,
Analyst


Sol Kwon has researched and written about corporate responsibility issues for more than eight years. Kwon started her career at a boutique financial services firm, Trans-National Research Corp., in New Jersey, where she helped conduct macroeconomic research on emerging market countries for institutional investors. She joined IRRC's Social Issues Service in 2002 and analyzed and wrote about sustainability reporting, global health pandemics, climate change, and defense contracting. Between 2006 and 2010, Kwon was the Lead Analyst for Corporate Governance at the Capital Stewardship Program of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, where she worked with labor pension fund trustees on responsible investing and corporate governance reform campaigns. Kwon worked in the Finance and Strategy Practice of the Corporate Executive Board from 2010 to 2011 as a Strategic Research Consultant, helping corporate executives solve critical management-related problems. In January 2012 she became Associate Director at the Center for Political Accountability, a non-partisan group that promotes greater disclosure of corporate political spending. Kwon earned her B.A. in International Studies at the Johns Hopkins University and holds an M.B.A. from the Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland.


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Jane Meacham,
Analyst


Jane Meacham has two decades of experience covering corporate disclosures and, more recently, corporate responsibility issues. Until February 2010 she worked on the Sustainability Solutions team at RiskMetrics, analyzing the insurance and communications equipment sectors for responsible investing, business and environmental practices. Meacham also served as editor for all RiskMetrics Sustainability Solutions client publications. She joined RiskMetrics in 2008 to monitor international labor and human rights standards and other sustainability risk factors at companies, to produce impartial research reports for institutional investors. Meacham has worked on the Global Reporting Initiative's Media Sector Supplement Working Group, developing sector-specific sustainability disclosure standards. Previously, Jane worked for nearly 20 years as an editor and manager for Dow Jones & Co., the international business information publishing company. Jane's assignments with Dow Jones included writing and editing in newsrooms in Hong Kong, Singapore and New York, in positions of increasing responsibility. In her last role at Dow Jones, Jane managed a wire-service newsroom in Washington, D.C., with a staff of up to 30 reporters and editors that offered real-time news from corporate disclosure documents for hedge fund managers and other sophisticated investment professionals.


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Sara Murphy,
Analyst


Sara Murphy is an independent consultant and freelance journalist. She writes articles and research reports on how social and environmental factors affect investment analysis and decision-making. Murphy began her career 15 years ago working for NGOs in the international development and disaster response fields. In 2001, she transitioned into SRI research for the Corporate Benchmarking Service of the Investor Responsibility Research Center (IRRC), where she specialized in bioengineering and defense contracting research. After leaving IRRC, Sara spent several years at The Cadmus Group, an environmental consultant whose primary client was the EPA. In 2005, Murphy moved to Europe to work as a senior sustainability analyst for a large SRI fund management team, where her primary role was to define the investable universe on the basis of sustainability criteria. Murphy launched her consultancy after she moved back to Washington, DC in 2011. She covers a broad range of topics, but has a particular focus on the social and environmental factors at play in extractive industries. Murphy holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Virginia in French and Spanish, and a Master of Arts degree from George Mason University in Economics. She currently serves on the Board of p.h. balanced films, a non-profit film and research organization that makes documentary films designed to educate consumers about social concerns in the global supply chains of common consumer goods.


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Julia Beth Proffitt,
Analyst


Julia Beth Proffitt has worked with Si2 since its founding in 2010. Proffitt is currently serving as associate dean and house prefect at Franklin & Marshall College, where she also has taught courses in organizational behavior and decision-making. In addition to her academic career doing research, writing, teaching, and administration, Proffitt has worked in market research, museum education, and as an analyst for IRRC in the early 1990s. She earned a doctorate from Northwestern University as well as a bachelor's degree from Yale University.


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Susan L. Williams,
Analyst


Susan Williams has more than 25 years of experience researching, writing and analyzing energy, environmental and corporate responsibility topics for institutional investors. Since 2009, Williams has been an independent consultant, focusing on sustainability and energy issues for Si2, the IRRC Institute, the Global Initiative for Sustainability Ratings (GISR) and People 4 Earth Foundation. She previously was a research manager at RiskMetrics Group. Williams began her career in corporate responsibility with the IRRC Social Issues Service in 1984 and continued to provide proxy analysis through IRRC's acquisition by Institutional Shareholder Services and RiskMetrics. From 1982 until 1984, she also worked with energy and environmental consulting firms in the Boston area. Williams is the lead author of more than a half-dozen books and publications, including a recent report on hydraulic fracturing of shale gas and a series spanning a decade of renewable energy development in the United States. Her findings have been reported in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Economist and other leading newspapers. She also has published work on environmental issues, including large-scale hydroelectric development in northern Quebec and recycling, and has contributed to various journals, including Issues in Science and Technology. Williams has produced in-depth reports and company-specific analyses for institutional investors on a variety of additional corporate responsibility issues, including fair employment domestically and in Northern Ireland, equal credit opportunity, economically targeted investments, and links between executive compensation and social performance. Williams graduated cum laude with a B.A. in American Studies from Williams College, where she also received highest honors from the Environmental Studies Program.




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