Profiles in Diversity Journal First Quarter 2021

Page 70

2021

Senior Research Associate

LATINO LEADERS Worth Watching

TM

INTERNATIONAL

AWARD

Marcela Mikkola

Education: BA, Syracuse University; MA & PhD, University of Denver Company Name: S&P Global Inc. Industry: Financial Services Company CEO: Douglas L. Peterson Company Headquarters Location: New York, New York Number of Employees: 22,500 globally Your Location (if different from above): Denver, Colorado Words you live by: “Árbol de la esperanza, mantente firme.” – Frida Kahlo Who is your personal hero? Jane Goodall, my mother, and all the strong women who have supported me throughout my life What book are you reading? Democracy in Black by Eddie S. Glaude; El Tiempo Entre Costuras by Maria Dueñas; and The Moor’s Account by Laila Lalami What was your first job? Cafeteria ID checker at Syracuse University, freshman year Favorite charity: The Humane Society, Friends of the Earth, and The MaxFund Inc. Interests: Read, travel and view wildlife in their natural habitats, and volunteer at the Denver Zoo Family: Mother, brother, cat (Mr. Pooh), and all my closest friends

The Change I Hope to See I hope that we can implement sustainable solutions that protect and preserve natural habitats, while supporting economic development of vulnerable communities. As an avid animal lover and conservationist, one of my biggest privileges has been to travel internationally to observe animals in their natural habitats. Although I enjoy seeing wildlife living freely in their natural ecosystems and appreciate the surrounding habitats, I have also seen firsthand the impact climate change has had on the environment and rural communities. Natural disasters, economic depression, poaching, and illegal wildlife trafficking are all consequences of climate change, which also disproportionally impact low-income communities and people of color. Developing regions in Africa, Asia, and Latin America often bear the brunt of climate and ecological catastrophes, despite having contributed the least to them. Additionally, economically stressed communities in wealthier countries face similar 68

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struggles related to environmental injustice. This was evident during the COVID pandemic of 2020— globally, people of color have limited access to health care, don’t receive the same quality treatment, and experience the greatest economic challenge. My hope is that we can come up with sustainable solutions that address racial injustice, reduce abject poverty, and move toward an approach that engages local communities. This shift will not only provide economic opportunities for vulnerable communities, but will also provide incentives and opportunities to protect wildlife and the environment. To protect wildlife in Africa, Latin America, and Asia, we must begin by engaging with the communities that are better positioned to help us, and we must address issues of climate change head on. We must meet their needs first; we must listen to them, and we must work with them, because in the end, fighting against poverty and fighting for the environment

are essentially the same fight. I am fortunate to work for a company that is actively accelerating and investing in environmental, social and governance (ESG) practices that promote sustainability and understands that racial justice, global markets, and sustainability are all interrelated. S&P Global’s data and analytics help companies and investors assess ESG-related risk, uncover opportunities and inform long term sustainable growth. Finally, by making environmentally conscious decisions in our daily lives and taking small steps in our own communities, we can have a far-reaching global impact. Support your national parks; do not buy plastic water bottles; buy recycled goods; eat locally; reduce your carbon footprint by driving less and walking, biking, or taking public transportation; do not buy ivory, coral, or other products from illegally trafficked wildlife. By becoming environmental advocates, we become humanitarian champions. www.diversityjournal.com