This week we are singing the praises of Amanda Richman, an ethics analyst (with a wry and fabulous sense of humour) at Australian Ethical Investment, who worked as a commercial lawyer before deciding she needed to be in a role where she could have the most impact on addressing issues of injustice and climate change. We hear from her colleagues on what makes her approach so special, and Amanda on why she hasn't looked back.
"[We] use our position of influence as a business and as an investor to help create essential systemic change"
What her colleagues have to say...
David Macri, Chief Investment Officer
Amanda is a member of our in-house ethics research team that enables us to invest according to our Ethical Charter. She is a diligent, experienced professional whose valuable insights help us navigate the ethical complexities of our investment decisions to deliver both competitive returns and positive change for society and the environment. And while she is very detailed and considerate, she is also tenacious and passionate and doesn’t back down when she has a strong argument to make!
Bethany Noble, Social Media Manager
Amanda helps to respond to difficult ethical issues our customers and social media fans often ask. She’s great at unpacking complex questions and providing responses that resonate with our customers.
Stuart Palmer, Head of Ethics Research
Amanda brings great analytical skill, judgement and passion to use the power of responsible investment to help protect the most vulnerable.
"While she is very detailed and considerate, she is also tenacious and passionate and doesn’t back down when she has a strong argument to make!"
David Macri, Chief Investment Officer, Australian Ethical
Q&A with Amanda Richman
What do you enjoy most about your role?
One of the things Australian Ethical does, and it’s the best part of my job, is use our position of influence as a business and as an investor to help create essential systemic change, whether that be with respect to climate change, human rights or animal protection. We do this through every avenue at our disposal, including shareholder advocacy, company engagement, advocacy to government and public awareness campaigns. Even though I’ve been working at Australian Ethical for over a year now, I still cannot believe that this is my job. And there are great snacks!
"Even though I’ve been working at Australian Ethical for over a year now, I still cannot believe that this is my job."
What drew you to this line of work?
In 2017 I was six years into a career in commercial law and in my spare time reading a lot about the climate emergency, the newly coined 'extinction crisis', and other things like animal cruelty inherent in our food production systems and human rights abuse in supply chains. I wanted to make a positive difference on these issues and I reached the conclusion that the financial sector can be a large part of the solution to all of these problems. In part it was a recognition that money could be used as a tool for good (for example, it can help finance the decarbonisation of economies which is urgently needed).
What was your very first job?
Working at the local cinema, collecting tickets, making choc top ice creams and rocking a metallic red vest.
Who do you most admire?
Lyn White. She is the Director of Strategy at Animals Australia and what I think is amazing about her is that she combines incredible strategy, sheer determination and force of will with genuine kindness and empathy. Through that unique combination of strengths she has achieved so much. Together with all the other hard working people at Animals Australia, she has exposed systemic cruelty in industry (including live export and greyhound racing), and convinced thousands of people to make kinder choices.
"It was a recognition that money could be used as a tool for good"
What makes your heart sing?
Swimming in the ocean; people working together to address a social injustice, particularly one that doesn't necessarily impact them directly; and free snacks.
With the benefit of hindsight, what would you tell your younger self?
I’d probably tell my younger self to listen more. But she probably wouldn’t have listened so…
What is something most people wouldn’t know about you?
I was in Israel during the gulf war when Saddam Hussein fired Scud missiles into the country. I was only a toddler at the time, but I have vague memories of wearing a gas mask and of my parents, who have a wicked sense of humour, listening to Don McLean’s ‘American Pie’.
(For anyone who, like me, doesn't always get cultural references, the chorus features the line 'this will be the day that I die'. Twice.)
Amanda volunteering with Green Connect in Warrawong, NSW
Is there someone in your organisation that deserves recognition for going above and beyond? Contact email@example.com to nominate your Unsung Hero!