We are firm believers at Green.Org that the impact people can have on the planet are those that combine business and impact, and are able to drive revenue, create jobs, and build a successful business that also helps the planet. We sat down with Amy Rochlin, the founder of Rochlin Inc, to discuss experience working in climate change, and how the intersection of business and impact can have a profoundly positive effect on the world.
Who is Rocklin Inc?
Rochlin Leadership Consulting is a strategic advisory firm for social impact leaders and organizations. They specialize in working with visionary leaders during critical organizational growth periods to position social impact organizations for scalability, financial strength and external impact.
Amy, thank you for being here. Tell us a little bit about you and your background:
I’m a huge believer that the intersection of business and impact will be an important driver for our environmental and social futures. I began my career in financial services – working in Retirement Services at a major merchant bank, where I managed a number of Fortune 500 accounts and discovered my love of working with intellectually curious and fast-paced, corporate clients.
I also got a glimpse into how asset owners such as pension and 401(k) funds are major drivers of decision-making in the investment field – these asset owners now have a huge impact on Environmental, Social Governance (ESG) focus and investing. As my career moved forward, I volunteered with a number of nonprofits and served in my community and on our local Board of Education.
Bitten a bit by the impact bug, I moved into the non-profit sector about 10 years ago, where I was able to apply my business experience to exact positive change and progress for others. It was working in nonprofit that I had the unique opportunity to serve as a Senior Advisor to a highly-respected, visionary nonprofit founder who has accelerated remarkable advancements in cancer research. I developed a whole new understanding of how innovative, strategic business modeling accelerates progress for patients – and trust me, when patients are faced with the frightening news of a cancer diagnosis, you want to look them in the eye and assure them that you are doing everything you possibly can to urgently advance new treatments and research.
There is no time for wasteful, slow, methods – lives literally depend upon how well you, your organization and your partners perform and deliver impact. During that time, I also was fortunate to work on the Kraft Precision Medicine Accelerator at Harvard Business School, a $20M initiative to speed precision medicine across diseases. It became clear that visionary leaders, when matched with strategic, business-based approaches, could achieve extraordinary outcomes. With this unique combination of nonprofit and for-profit experience, I decided to start my own firm to advise leaders in the nonprofit and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)/ESG spaces.
I am committed to creating strong, mutually beneficial partnerships across sectors to advance lasting change and I’ve recently been speaking with investment advisors and portfolio managers to see how the financial world can be a positive driver of sustainable business models and impact drivers. I also sit on the Board of Directors of LiveGirl (golivegirl.org) a 21st-century girls leadership development organization that builds inclusive fierce female leaders and the Ehlers-Danlos Society (ehlers-danlos.org), an international nonprofit dedicated to advancing research progress for Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome.
I am hugely passionate about giving back – to others, to my community and to our world. I firmly believe we have a moral obligation to take care of one another and our world.
What is a fun fact about you?
I’m a swimmer and the ocean drives so much of my commitment to environmental sustainability – I think it comes from my days as a little girl at the Jersey Shore, where I had the freedom to swim in the ocean and wander the shores from morning until night.
I spent countless hours in the waves, on the beach, walking the jetties, looking for shells, digging for crabs – the ocean’s awesome beauty, its ecosystem, its power, never cease to remind me of the need to take care of our world.
Why do you think climate change and sustainability is such an important topic today?
There are countless reasons but my overarching belief is that the safety and financial well-being of future generations rely on actively addressing climate change and building sustainable, environmentally-sound business models. With rising sea levels, the warming of our planet, pressures on natural resources, the effects of pollution in our waters and on our land – and so much more – we can no longer turn away from the reality that we need to do better for our planet – and corporations and corporate leaders will play an enormous role in how committed we are and how quickly we do so.
What do you envision your industry looking like 10 years from now?
I believe collaborative leaders who are willing to work across sectors and utilize strategic approaches and innovative models to address our societal and environmental needs will be in great demand. I feel that corporations will be looked to by their key stakeholders (employees, customers, investors, lenders, etc.) to fully integrate ESG priorities into their business strategies.
What can the average person do to make a difference?
Educate yourself. Read trusted sources voraciously. If you’re not a scientist, find articles that speak in ways that you can fully understand the magnitude of the issues we currently face. Right now, I’m getting fully certified in ESG by the CFA – and it continues to educate me to the urgent need to drive environmental change. Be an active stakeholder with an integrated ESG focus – buy from, work for and invest in companies and models that are making a genuine commitment to advancing positive environmental change.
The strongest leaders in this space are setting goals and actively working toward incorporating sustainable best practices into their companies. And find and support organizations that are committed to building much-needed awareness in the environmental space.
Amy, thank you for taking time today to discuss your vision for how leaders can combine business and impact to have a positive impact on climate change.
Dylan Welch is the CEO and Host of Going Green, a podcast, website, and social media brand that highlights renewable energy, cleantech, and sustainable news.