Maya Mehta

Legal purpose: how a lawyer made sustainability her career

Meet Maya Mehta, an intrapreneur who is utilizing her legal training to support the development of sustainable finance at a financial investment bank

3 days before Maya Mehta was due to begin her dream task, she tipped over in a parking area and was concussed. “I wished to strike the ground running, but not literally,” she chuckles. In fact, Mehta is grateful to have had a little enforced downtime to set her intentions for her new function. After all, it is what she has been working towards her whole profession.

The response I got was overwhelming. All these legal representatives were working on solar tasks, wind projects and other favorable ecological and social services

Mehta was reinforced by the action, seeing that these associates were cut from the same cloth as her; simply put, they were sustainable intrapreneurs. Back in 2001, when she began training as a lawyer, the expression had yet to make its way into business lexicon, and now she saw that her associates worldwide were also doing what she had actually been doing for years: making positive change occur from within the heart of the business world.

Having actually worked as a legal representative at the investment bank BNP Paribas for the past nine years, an internal secondment will now see her leading on sustainable finance from a legal perspective, which is “extremely exciting”, she states.

Her day task and purpose pile started to combine, thanks to a minute of “lovely synergy”, as she puts it. One night in 2016 she went to a speak about green bonds, part of the fast-emerging set of new monetary instruments that put a value on environmental security and sustainability. Fired up by its capacity, she began using her legal know-how to offer coworkers guidance on the topic, and became convinced that it was a real location of opportunity.

In 2018, she chose to approach a senior supervisor about this growing field, with a view to uniting legal associates who were dealing with sustainable investment projects throughout the bank. “He said OK, lets collect the proof. I sent out an email to every lawyer in the bank which stated: Have you worked on a sustainable finance deal?. And the response I got was frustrating. All these lawyers throughout the globe, from Brazil to India to Hong Kong, were working on solar projects, wind tasks, ecological shipping and other favorable environmental and social options.”

Born and growing up in London, with Indian moms and dads who were raised in Kenya, Mehta always knew she wished to work to end oppression. “I wished to attend to social concerns on the cutting edge”, she says. She felt that comprehending the law would give her the edge.

” I desired to attend to social issues on the front line,” states Mehta.

For much of her profession to date, however, her dedication to the causes she appreciated had to be slotted in together with her day task as a capital markets attorney, initially at Clifford Chance, and then BNP Paribas. Mehta talks of “my function pile” of pro bono work “that I would reach for in fragments of extra time, whenever I could.” Initially, it was concentrated on helping those caught in cycles of domestic abuse; later on it was microfinance, and then, about 4 years earlier, a new world opened for her.

Naturally, she brought her intrapreneurship with her, co-founding a social impact hub in the UK to help coworkers develop the skills and resources they need to support social business and microfinance organisations. Came her enthusiasm for green bonds and sustainable financial instruments more generally, which, thanks to her secondment, she can now do full-time.

But it became tiring. “I ended up being a victim of my own success”, she admits, “due to the fact that the microfinance group was growing and growing and I was working up until one in the morning.”

Her brand-new obligations include growing the worldwide community of lawyers throughout BNP Paribas who are integrating sustainability into their skillset, and training them to “navigate the labyrinth of sustainable financing regulation on the horizon”.

That changemaking has been a golden thread running through Mehtas career to date. As a student with Clifford Chance in Hong Kong, she had provided pro bono support to Filipino domestic helpers who were being abused by their companies. Later, her attention relied on the battles of Asian ladies in London subjected to required marital relationships and domestic violence. She started a suggestions center in the east London district of Newham, where she and fellow associates would provide lunchtime sessions. She turned her attention to microfinance, setting up a worldwide group to help fellow attorneys at Clifford Chance supply pro bono guidance in this area.

I leap out of bed in the morning and I have this cravings to discover

With so numerous causes and just so lots of hours in a day, where does she start? “When I looked up and saw the jagged peak through the cloud, that was daunting to me.

This post is the 6th in a series taking a look at accountable management in action.

Monetary instruments are increasingly seen as having a crucial function to play in tackling urgent social issues of our time. “One Friday afternoon when we were deep in lockdown, I got an email from my business colleagues saying that we need to deal with a brand-new type of bond, a Covid-19 action bond, to help channel funds into healthcare and social concerns.”.

In the procedure of deciding to take this profession pivot, she did a great deal of soul browsing, and had conversations with some of the members of the BMW Foundations Responsible Leaders Network, of which she is a part. These conversations inspired her to take a leap of faith and go for the secondment. Now, she states,

“I jump out of bed in the early morning and I have this hunger to find out.”

That consists of delving into all the legal and regulatory great print in this fast-emerging field. It is an enthusiasm that surprises the friends she has actually made amongst the Responsible Leaders Network, who had been impressed by her passion for social change, however, she states, “joke that Maya, we had no idea you were a regulation geek!”.

3 days before Maya Mehta was due to begin her dream job, she fell over in a car park and was concussed. Born and growing up in London, with Indian moms and dads who were raised in Kenya, Mehta constantly understood she wanted to work to end injustice. In 2018, she decided to approach a senior manager about this growing field, with a view to bringing together legal coworkers who were working on sustainable investment projects throughout the bank. I sent out an email to every lawyer in the bank which said: Have you worked on a sustainable finance transaction?. All these attorneys across the globe, from Brazil to India to Hong Kong, were working on solar jobs, wind tasks, ecological shipping and other favorable ecological and social options.”

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