Updates on the Heartland Georgetown Labor-Capital Summer Fellowship

The Heartland Network (HCS) and the Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor & the Working Poor (KI) at Georgetown University recently began Year Three of the Labor-Capital Strategies Fellowship. We’re happy to say that our program is growing with 2019 bringing us eleven remarkable new fellows are joining ten placement hosts for the summer.

Fellows from the past two summers reported the program helped them develop their own view of the challenges facing working families in the modern economy and the roles of responsible investing and good corporate governance in solving these challenges.

In this article, we're providing an update on how the Summer ’19 is starting out thus far.

Orientation was held June 5th and 6th at Georgetown's beautiful Mortara Center with an opening session for introductions and time for the fellows to get to know each other. Dawn Carpenter, a faculty fellow at KI, and Debbie Nisson, Heartland Network’s Co-Chair, organized the two day session with the help of Juan Belman-Guerrero (KI). It was clear from the state we had an outstanding group of fellows who were engaged and ready to learn!

The first day featured sessions on building professional careers, the history of labor, and a primer on the responsible investing movement. Speakers included Dr. Leon Fink and Bev Ortiz from KI on labor history, along with Dawn, Debbie and Tom Croft, Managing Director for the Network, who spoke to the evolution of RI and ESG.

The second day focused on how pension funds work and how responsible investment and good corporate governance can re-shape the economy and make the “bosses” more accountable.

  • Steve Sleigh, Co-Chair of HCS, joined Debbie to provide an overview of pension fund governance

  • Lesyllee White, AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust (HIT) and Debbie provided real world examples of how to put money to work responsibly, describing projects from both HIT and ULLICO

  • Meghan Milne of Hamilton Lane and Seth Almaliah of Segal Marco discussed how pension consultants assess RI

  • Jennifer O’Dell of LIUNA and Carin Zelenko of the Teamsters talked about corporate governance and recounted successful shareholder campaigns

On various Fridays throughout the summer, Sleigh Strategies and the G Street Collaborative provide an opportunity for the Fellows to participate in Brown Bag Lunches with leaders from different parts of the capital stewardship world. The focus is primarily on the career paths of these diverse leaders.

Lori Wood, Executive Director of the Sheet Metal Workers’ National Pension Fund inspired the fellows with her story of determination to continually learn and improve and to also provide opportunities for new employees. Lori started her career as an intern at SEIU, and, after a stint at the service workers benefits fund, became the head of the Sheet Metals plan in 2015.

Ray Whiteman, Managing Partner of Stellex Capital Management explained to the students his humble upbringing in Brooklyn and how he always kept his eye on learning and working hard. He told some incredible stories about how he and his colleagues worked to turn around critical manufacturing firms--employing thousands of union workers--during the downturn.

Thea Mei Lee, President, Economic Policy Institute (EPI) encouraged the students to do what they are passionate about, allowing their career to unfold over time. Ms. Lee started her career at EPI as a research analyst before moving on to several senior positions at the AFL-CIO.

Thanks again to the Fellowship hosts and sponsors for the tremendous support in growing this cool program. With the Class of 2019, the Fellowship continues to educate new generations of capital stewards and responsible investors to create a diverse pipeline for investors and the corporate governance community.

If you or your organization are interested in becoming a host or sponsor for 2020, drop us a line today.

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