Get to Know Calvert Impact Capital Staff: Caitlin Rosser
March 04, 2020
We're conducting a series of interviews with our staff, borrowers, and investors. We hope you'll follow along and get to know Calvert Impact Capital and our partners better. Our sixth interview in this series is with Calvert Impact Capital staff member, Caitlin Rosser.
Name: Caitlin Rosser Title: Senior Officer, Impact and Communications Tenure at Calvert Impact Capital: Four years Places you’ve called home: London, England; Irvine, CA; Amityville, NY; Washington, DC; Ollantaytambo, Peru Languages: English and Spanish
1. What do you do at Calvert Impact Capital?
I lead Calvert Impact Capital’s Impact Measurement and Management (IMM) practice within our Strategy, Impact, and Communications team. In a nutshell, I work with our investment officers to understand the unique impact of the deals in our portfolio and manage relationships with our borrowers to collect impact data and help evaluate the impact they're having in communities and on the environment. I also work to codify and communicate the impact that Calvert Impact Capital is having on our investors, borrowers, global communities, and the broader markets in which we operate.
On a day to day basis, I could be working to ensure our alignment to the Operating Principles for Impact Management, discussing impact data reporting with borrowers, or putting together impact communications like our annual Impact Report to report our impact to our investors and other key stakeholders.
Calvert Impact Capital has collected and reported on borrower impact data since its inception, and in the past few years we have made our IMM practice even more robust. I have worked to build out our institutionalized impact due diligence framework over the past few years and am always seeking to innovate and improve upon our work. To that end I participate in a number of working groups that are seeking to establish and improve industry best practices, including those led by the Impact Management Project, GIIN Investor’s Council, and the IFC and Signatories to the Principles for Impact Management.
2. What excites you most about your work at Calvert Impact Capital?
The collaborative culture of the organization, both internally and externally. At Calvert Impact Capital, you're always welcome to jump in on any meeting, whether it’s with your team or another. This culture helps create deep bonds within the organization, which informs our team’s ability to push the industry forward. All the Staff members at Calvert Impact Capital have a genuine passion for each other’s work and our mission overall.
3. How did you get to Calvert Impact Capital, and more specifically, into impact investing?
My interest in impact has always stemmed from my passion for social justice.
As an undergrad student at American University, I realized that I wanted to pursue a career at the intersection of justice and data, business, and finance. My junior and senior years, I interned at the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence and the Justice Department, respectively, which led to a full-time position at the Justice Department Civil Division’s Office of Planning, Budget, and Evaluation under the Obama Administration. I've always been a jack of all trades, so I served in a variety of roles including budgeting, debt accounting, communications, and performance management. I was intrigued by and learned so much about the performance management piece, but ultimately decided my passion was outside the government sector. At the time, the Justice Department was doing incredible work, but I wanted to be closer to the impact.
I then went back to American University to get my Masters in Social Enterprise. The Social Enterprise program was the only one I found that matched my passion for social justice and business, and it was through this program that I learned many of the skills I use in my work now—including impact measurement.
After I finished grad school, I came across the Compliance Analyst position at Calvert Impact Capital. The role required someone who was operationally minded, incredibly organized, and able to understand legal documents. My experience at the Justice Department supported my transition from a government institution to an impact investing institution.
In my compliance role, I spent about sixty percent of my time working on compliance around the Community Investment Note® and the other forty percent of my time was spent working on impact measurement and management. As our impact framework continued to evolve, I fully transitioned to my current role in Impact Measurement and Management.
4. If you could have a dinner party with any three guests, dead or alive, who would you invite?
This one is tough to choose, but my three guests would be Malcolm X, Louisa May Alcott, and Douglas Adams.
Throughout my undergraduate career, I studied the speeches and writings of Malcolm X. While Malcolm X wasn’t perfect, he was a truly insightful and inspirational leader fighting for justice in the best way he knew. I find his writings on oppression and resistance to be incredibly inspirational, and know he would have been even more impactful in the future if he hadn’t been assassinated.
I don't know much about Louisa May Alcott, but “Little Women” was a transformational story for me when I was younger. It’s impressive to think about what she must have gone through to write a book about domestic women who have their own lives, personalities, complexities, and desires-- both romantic and professional. It's a radical narrative within the context of that time in history.
Douglas Adams is the author of “The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy,” as well as many other quirky books about mystery and space. His books are clever and engaging; he tackles existential questions, but through hilarious themes. When he died at a young age, I felt like we had lost one of the world’s greatest authors. It would be amazing to have him at my party. He would probably make everyone laugh.
5. Do you have any reading or listening recommendations? (Books, podcasts, articles, etc.)
I have tons of recommendations. I’m just going to list them: You absolutely need to listen to “The Daily” podcast from the New York Times (it’s basically a requirement to work on our team). I would also recommend reading the seminal works of my party guests (Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, Malcolm X’s speeches particularly in his later years, and Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy). The Dark Tower series by Stephen King is one of the most amazing book series I've ever read. "Hidden Brain", which is NPR's psychology focused podcast, is another one of my favorites. The People's History of United States by Howard Zinn, which is a history book written from the perspective of the oppressed, is also a terrific read. Finally, for the impact investing wonks, I would recommend reading “Toward the Efficient Impact Frontier” in the Stanford Social Innovation Review as it was the inspiration we used – to assess both financial and impact performance of investments – when we started developing Calvert Impact Capital’s impact scorecard.
6. If you had to describe Calvert Impact Capital in one word or term, what would it be?