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In an interview with Ainslie Chandler for Bloomberg Brief, Ken Mehlman explains KKR’s commitment to ESG and how it builds these considerations into its investment process by identifying new opportunities to invest, achieving double bottom-line benefits and de-risking companies. Mehlman discusses the process KKR uses to evaluate investments from an ESG perspective and the impact some of those investments have made in the lives of many people. Mehlman also shares insights about what the future holds for KKR and what could be their next big ESG investment.

Mehlman describes the process of KKR’s engagement on ESG issues as “very rigorous.” He explains that the potential company’s “protocol, their processes, their culture, their commitment—[are] examined both in terms of ‘where is the problem?’ but also ‘what can we do to make it better during the course of our ownership?’” The purpose of KKR’s ESG investment is not only to make a smart deal that will yield profit, but also to identify investments with an opportunity to improve the world.

KKR has already invested $5 billion globally for companies committed to ESG missions, Mehlman said. Those investments all have different faces: “We have done a fair bit of investing in food safety in China—starting in dairy and now in chicken and pork,” he said. “We have also invested a lot in water and renewable energy…We’ve done an investment in China in water cleanliness.”

“We expect to invest more in challenges or solutions related to water scarcity,” he added.

When asked about what issues today affect global companies, Mehlman answered that the firm is interested in how companies handle the privacy and protection of their customers. This issue has been highlighted by recent data breaches, he said.

In his opinion, Ken Mehlman does not feel that companies should ever have to choose between ESG best practices and profit. Mehlman explains that “returns are in ESG.” Speaking of an investment by KKR that allowed millions of people to receive adequate retirement pensions, Mehlman said, “The world will only be saved at a profit and the only way you are going to make a profit today is to understand the world. ESG can help you do both.”

In an interview with Toby Stock for the American Enterprise Institute, Ken Mehlman offered students three lessons on how to have rewarding, successful careers.

According to Kenneth Mehlman, Lesson 1 is to find something you’re passionate about and try to get paid to do it. As he said in the video, “I don’t believe that success makes happiness; I believe that happiness makes success.”

Lesson 2 is to “monetize what you know”—that is, have a unique body of knowledge that you can offer to an organization. Don’t go where everyone is like you; go where you are different, so you bring a different perspective and add a different value. As he argued, that way you won’t be monetized “based on how cheap you are and how long you can work; you can instead price yourself based on what you know and what you know that’s different.”

For Lesson 3, he suggested that “life is best lived in chapters.” He used the example of a potted plant that reaches the edge of its pot and then gets transplanted to a larger pot. Its roots still stay the same. As he put it, “a good career is one in which there is a fair amount of repotting.” Ken Mehlman referenced his own 12 years in politics, followed by his 7 years in private equity.

For a fruitful career in public policy, take these lessons and be what Ken Mehlman called a white blood cell, since “white blood cells kill disease; they solve problems. They don’t worry about who gets credit…If you don’t worry about who gets credit, you can accomplish unbelievable amounts of things.” The people who have the biggest impact are the ones who help the people below them as much as they help the people above them—and helping someone above you means telling them what they need to hear, not necessarily what they want to hear.

The Robin Hood Foundation announced Leader Link, its initiative to connect experienced financial professionals with nonprofits. The organization is known for its high profile philanthropic activities in New York City to alleviate poverty, hunger, and homelessness. The foundation opened the application period on July 2nd.

The purpose of the program is to funnel financial talent into nonprofit positions where their skills are in high demand. “The last few years, the high-profile financial problems of some high-profile nonprofits have highlighted the need for a competent financial person in these positions,” senior management consultant Deborah Miller said.

Robin Hood seeks to lure experienced professionals in finance to the nonprofit sector to fulfill the more difficult requirements of nonprofit leadership positions, such as reporting, organizational complexity, and the responsibilities that come with high visibility. As government and public scrutiny increases, attracting necessary talent has become a necessity for many nonprofit organizations.

Beginning September 15th, Leader Link will consist of five sessions meant to familiarize participants with the context of nonprofits over the course of a month and a half. Each session will have a different focus, from skill-building to touring local nonprofits. Sessions four and five consist of advice on effective job searches and interviewing, including a one on one practice interview with detailed feedback. Participants will also be paired with a leader of a nonprofit to serve as a mentor throughout and after the program.

The Robin Hood Foundation differentiates itself from other nonprofits by using a system of metrics, called “Relentless Monetization,” which convert different outcomes into monetary worth. These monetary values are used to compare Robin Hood intervention outcomes with what would have otherwise would have happened to the targeted demographic.

Ken Mehlman chairs an advisory board for Robin Hood, joining Jon Stewart, Diane Sawyer, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Eric Schmidt in the organization’s governance. Last year Robin Hood invested $132 million dollars towards fighting poverty.

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