Q: When you were a child, what was your response to this question: “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
A: I have always felt great peace and joy when in quiet, natural settings. As a young child, I imagined myself growing up to be a forest ranger, helping the plants and animals to flourish, while enjoying the peace and solitude of the wilderness. To this day, I find that hiking on forest trails helps me reconnect to that sense of inner peace.
Q: Share the pivotal moment in your life that helped you choose your field of study.
A: Early in my career I worked on environmental policy. Then, I decided to pursue an MBA, thinking I could have a greater impact if I could also speak the language of business. But all this changed when I took my first finance class. I fell in love with the topic and wanted to learn more. It is such a fascinating area, and given the importance of finance in the world, understanding how finance interplays with other broad societal issues can have a significant impact.
Q: Tell us about a time you encountered a tricky problem. How did you handle it and what did you learn from it?
A: A chronically difficult problem, in my experience, is how to balance child-rearing with a research career. Something I didn’t realize as a PhD student was that some of the most demanding years professionally (working toward a tenured position) often coincide with some of the most demanding years of parenting (when your children are young). I have mostly learned to let go of the things I can’t do and make the best of the time I have for my kids and the time I have for work. And hopefully, when my kids are older, they will be proud of the accomplishments I have achieved.
Q: Describe your research in 5 words.
A: Where business and society intersect.
Q: What are your passions outside of research?
A: A great outlet for me has been my hobby of collecting Legos. My kids and I regularly have “build-off” competitions in which we each build creations based on a particular theme, which is one of our favorite family activities. But I must admit that walking through my house barefoot is dangerous.