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Getting to know Persefoni: Meet Natalia Baer

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1. And you may ask yourself, "Well... how did I get here?" (Tell us your journey?)

When I was a toddler, my parents and I moved to the United States as first generation immigrants. I happen to be a funny combination of half Russian/half Polish, half Jewish/half Catholic. Like many others in post-communist Eastern European countries, my parents had suffered different degrees of oppression, and sought "greener pastures". After being stationed in a political refugee camp in Austria, we were lucky to be sponsored by an organization in Brooklyn who helped with our move to the states. In my formative years, I fell in love with America despite our modest means, because there was always infinite opportunity here. To this day, I have a deep reverence for this country's mission to welcome, embrace, and uplift the world's most vulnerable populations.

So what does any of that have to do with working at Persefoni? The course of my life was drastically altered by the goodwill and humanity of people that I have never met. As global citizens, I believe we all hold a shared responsibility to find the solutions to protect all global citizens. The people that are most vulnerable to the effects of flooding, hurricanes and droughts are generally the ones least responsible for climate change. I think about that a lot, and sometimes it keeps me up at night.

I ended up pursuing a career in finance, which most recently led to roles in business development at private equity and private credit managers. It was about five years ago when I started to hear the word "ESG" consistently in remote corners of the investment management community. Most asset managers were incorporating ESG into their investment process but struggled with the lack of data uniformity in the space. I was eager and fascinated by the evolution of the market, so I pivoted my role to focus on how to better incorporate risks, like those posed by climate change, into an investment manager's process. Now that I am at Persefoni, I feel a direct link between my work and my responsibility in the fight against climate change.

2. And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile. (What do you do at Persefoni?)

I joined Persefoni in November of 2021 as the second member of the private markets team. There is incredible interest from private markets participants (managers and investors alike) in the Persefoni platform. In particular, investment managers are feeling two forms of pressure to disclose their carbon footprint: existing/proposed regulation and investors demanding action. It's imperative for them to quantitatively measure their carbon footprint and have credible decarbonization plans in order compete for important mandates. We specifically cater to the private markets' needs and have the tools to address issues such as data availability and non-uniformity. We engage with the entire private markets community, and my job is to understand their needs and pain points on their disclosure and decarbonization journey.

Colorado in summertime with my family
Colorado in summertime with my family

3. And you may ask yourself, "Where does that highway go to?" (What are your hopes for your time at Persefoni?

It's human nature to question how impactful any individual action can be in the fight against climate change. I've certainly been guilty of thinking that someone else (someone smarter, someone more connected, someone more powerful) will figure it out. There is not a day that goes by that I don't worry about the future of our planet.

I'm equally aware of how powerful the capital markets can be as channels for economic progress and change. The private markets are a crucial element of the economy, as most companies are financed through private channels. Private equity, private credit, venture capital and real estate are vitally important, control trillions of institutional and retail assets and are growing in breadth and access daily. Having spent close to a decade in the private markets, I know this is an area I can make the most tangible impact. My primary goal is arm as many private markets participants with the knowledge and tools to set and achieve credible net zero targets.

4. And you may say to yourself, "My God! What have I done?" (Why is Persefoni a great home for you?)

I'm blown away by the diverse set of talent that Persefoni's leadership team has assembled. We all have very different backgrounds, each bringing a unique perspective and voice to the organization. Despite those differences, we share a common fierce desire to save the future of our planet. I am humbled and inspired by the people that work here. It is a very motivating environment.

Taking a break with friend at Bonnie’s on Aspen Mountain
Taking a break with friend at Bonnie’s on Aspen Mountain

5. And you may find yourself in another part of the world... (Tell us about your life/hobbies away from work?)

I've lived in many different places over the course of my life and have developed an appreciation for travel and cultural awareness. I love music, the culinary arts and connecting with fellow introverts out there. I'm a die hard lover of New York City, where I spent the bulk of my career. However, I've always had the itch to live out west. Over the past 10 years, my husband and I have been coming out to Colorado to ski in the Vail valley, and I fell in love with the mountains and abundant sunshine. I'm a very active person and need to be outdoors. I've always been a long distance runner and picked up skiing in 2009, so now that we live in Denver I am in heaven (though I've been sidelined with a nasty ACL tear this year!) It has forced me to pick up cycling and manage a balance that my type A personality resists.

My two daughters, who despite being a handful (they are 2.5 and 4 years old), are a constant source of joy and playfulness. They sort of bring this whole concept of trying to save the world full circle. They deserve to have their fair share of "no friends on powder days" :) So for me, they are the ultimate raison d'être.

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