Webinar: Introduction to Proxy Voting

Proxy voting can be a powerful tool for improving corporate performance on social and environmental sustainability issues to enhance long-term value.  Increasingly, stakeholders are calling for endowments to be more active owners, and many argue that doing so is a responsibility of fiduciaries. 

This webinar (from July 13th, 2016) provides a basic overview of proxy voting, including: 

  • A recap of the 2016 proxy season (what were the big issues and results?) 
  • Mechanics of how to vote proxies (how do we do it?) 
  • Effectiveness of proxy voting (what impact does it have on companies and society?) 
  • Proxy voting by external managers (how can we have a say in proxy voting if we don’t own the shares directly?) 
  • Resources required for proxy voting (how much time and money will it require to do this?) 
  • Moderator: Sonal Mahida, Director, Intentional Endowments Network
  • Heidi Welsh, Executive Director, Sustainable Investments Institute 
  • Laura Campos, Director of Shareholder Activities, Nathan Cummings Foundation 



Heidi Welsh, Executive Director, Sustainable Investments Institute 

Heidi Welsh, Executive Director of the Sustainable Investments Institute, oversees Si2’s impartial, in-depth research about proxy season and corporate responsibility issues for institutional investors, including some of the largest North American pension funds and leading colleges and universities.  In addition, she was the lead author on two studies about the corporate governance of political spending in the S&P 500 published with the IRRC Institute.  Previously, Welsh worked at the Investor Responsibility Research Center and for 16 years ran a monitoring program on corporate fair employment practices in Northern Ireland, while also analyzing shareholder proposals.  She co-authored the 2007 Carbon Disclosure Project report on the S&P 500 and set up a global sustainability metrics project for RiskMetrics analyzing 1,800 of the world’s biggest companies.  She holds a B.A. from Carleton College, cum laude, and an M.S. from the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University.


Laura Campos, Director of Shareholder Activities, Nathan Cummings Foundation 

Ms. Campos has more than a decade of experience engaging public corporations on topics ranging from climate change to executive compensation.  As the director of shareholder activities for the Nathan Cummings Foundation, Laura is active in numerous outside groups and shareholder coalitions focusing on responsible investment practices, including the Investor Network on Climate Risk and the Principles for Responsible Investment. She serves on the Principles for Responsible Investment’s Small and Resource-Constrained Funds Steering Committee and is a member of the Advisory Board of ProxyDemocracy. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Chronicle of Philanthropy and The International Business Times, among others. 

Prior experience includes serving as a Financial Advisor Associate at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co.  Laura has also worked on projects for the Arcus Foundation, the Aga Khan Foundation and Christian Aid.

Laura holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations from the College of Wooster and an MSc, Economics from the London School of Economics and Political Science.


Sonal Mahida, Director, Intentional Endowments Network

Sonal Mahida comes to IEN with over 15 years of experience in the field. During her career Sonal has worked on ESG investing and sustainability issues at institutional investors, S&P 500, Fortune 500 companies, as well as non-profits.

As Head of North America for the UN Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), she developed and led initiatives to aid U.S. and Canadian investors in the practice and implementation of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) integration and risk management.  Prior to joining PRI, Sonal worked on corporate sustainability at Hess. Previously, she was Vice President of the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), where she managed the organization’s US activities and was a Senior Governance Analyst at TIAA-CREF, where she led ESG dialogues and engagements with portfolio companies, as well as proxy voting analysis.    Sonal is a frequent speaker at investment conferences.  She has been a guest on Bloomberg MarketMakers and her work has been covered in in Forbes, Greenbiz, and industry publications.

Sonal holds a B.A. from Barnard College, Columbia University and an M.B.A. in Finance from Boston University's School of Management






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