Story and photo by Callie Broaddus
Terra Alpha Investments has grown in staff, portfolio, and star power since I last wrote about their story in the October 2016 issue of Middleburg Life. This December, along with celebrating their three-year anniversary, Terra Alpha welcomed author Margot Lee Shetterly to its already illustrious Advisory Board, joining the likes of former NASA Chief Scientist Ellen Stofan, Harvard Business School Professor George Serafeim and Frank Loy, the former Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs under President Clinton, among others.
Shetterly joins the team fresh off the wildly successful release of her 2016 book, “Hidden Figures: The Story of the African American Women Who Helped Win the Space Race,” as well as the Hidden Figures film, on which she worked as executive producer. But before her foray into media, Shetterly cut her teeth in the investment banking world, working for J.P. Morgan and later Merrill Lynch after graduating from the University of Virginia McIntire School of Commerce.
“It’s exciting to be doing finance-related work after so many years, particularly with Terra Alpha, a firm committed to sustainable investment practices and environmental advocacy,” says Shetterly. “Working with smart people is always enjoyable, even more so when the goal is to come up with solutions to one of the most pressing issues facing our world today.
“I hope that I can bring my experience in finance as an investment banker and also as a writer to help [Terra Alpha] execute on its mission,” she continues, “but I’m also excited to learn from the many talented people that Tim has brought together.”
Tim Dunn and Andrew Geller co-founded the groundbreaking “advocacy investment firm” in November 2014, in what could be considered a paradigm shift in the world of traditional investment management. Terra Alpha’s strategy is predicated on the idea that companies that use natural resources efficiently will produce a greater long-term return than their industry peers. They call this metric “Environmental Productivity.”
“Margot’s experience in the finance world and with start-ups will be of enormous help to the Terra Alpha management team as we grow,” says Dunn. “And her success as a reporter and writer will enhance our ability to communicate our advocacy message that all businesses’ and investors’ returns would be improved by incorporating Environmental Productivity into their decision-making. “
In early January, Terra Alpha held their first Advisory Board Meeting with Shetterly in attendance, at their second office in Washington, D.C. “The whole team found her questions and insights exceptionally valuable,” says Dunn. “She also brings a very contagious level of optimism and enthusiasm.”
Terra Alpha now employs 10 full-time employees and manages $32 million in assets in their fund. For more information on their advocacy, assets, and advisory board, visit their website at