Get to Know Calvert Impact Capital Staff: Anastasia Pechler
September 02, 2020
We're conducting a series of interviews with our staff, borrowers, and investors. We hope you'll follow along and get to know Calvert Impact Capital and our partners better. Our eleventh interview in this series is with Calvert Impact Capital staff member, Anastasia Pechler.
Name: Anastasia Pechler Title: Analyst, Investor Relations Tenure at Calvert Impact Capital: Two years Places you’ve called home: Florida; Jakarta, Indonesia; DC Metro area; Middlebury, VT; Irkutsk, Russia Languages: English, Indonesian
1. What do you do at Calvert Impact Capital?
I am the Analyst on the Investor Relations team, so I work on the front lines with our investors. Much of my work involves communicating with investors ranging from investor outreach to answering inquiries to fulfilling any reporting requirements. We work with a wide range of investors from retail investors who invest $20 to large institutional investors investing many millions of dollars. It’s really interesting to work with that wide spectrum of investors because everyone has vastly different needs and interests—from basic questions related to how the Community Investment Note® works to more complex questions related to the risk profile of our portfolio. My role requires a great amount of institutional knowledge, so I am able to answer investors’ questions or dig deeper on their behalf.
Sometimes we get an influx of questions related to our portfolio depending what’s on investors’ minds. Lately I’ve been able to discuss with interested investors how our portfolio addresses racial equity and justice.
I recently spoke with an investor who had just learned about microfinance, which led them to us, and was super excited to learn more about our portfolio and wider world of impact investing. It’s really special to work with investors who are at the beginning of their impact investing journeys. Many of our investors have had life-long passions for social justice and equity and want to know more about how they can align their values with their investments. Some have recently inherited money and want to steward the legacy of their parents or grandparents. And others want to create a positive future for their children or grandchildren. They’re looking to dip their toes in impact investing for the first time, and we’re often the starting point.
Another major part of my role involves managing our online investment platform and working to create the best-possible interface to make investing on our platform easier. On the investor facing side, I try to incorporate investor feedback to improve the user interface. Internally, I work to improve the ease of our business processes and reporting needs.
2. What excites you most about your work at Calvert Impact Capital?
I love working with passionate, determined people, both within Calvert Impact Capital and externally with investors. Given the diversity amongst staff at Calvert Impact Capital, it’s interesting to see what motivates people toward the ultimate mission of creating a better world through investment. Even within my own team, we have such a diversity of backgrounds, experiences, and interests—but we are all passionate about our work. Our investors are generally very passionate people who care about the work that we do and, like our team, they have a diverse set of reasons that fuel their passion for our work. Getting to work with them every day is a constant reminder of why I love what I do.
3. How did you get to Calvert Impact Capital, and more specifically, into impact investing?
My parents are first generation Indonesian immigrants in the US, and they've always been big on the American dream and being able to build a future here in the US. Growing up, I spent a lot of time with family in Indonesia and saw the deep disparities between wealthier Indonesians and lower income Indonesians as well as differences between the US and Asia in terms of development.
I've always had interest in international development because of my upbringing, and so I went to college at Middlebury and studied International Politics and Economics. I first learned of microfinance in one of my classes at Middlebury and then completed an internship with a microfinance organization that summer.
The following summer, I interned with the State Department at the Embassy in Jakarta. I worked in the economic section and got to learn about many aspects of economic policy. While I enjoyed working at the Embassy that summer, I realized that a lot of the public sector policies and approaches are driven by the private sector and wanted to explore different approaches to development
When I graduated from Middlebury, I didn't really know what I wanted to do, but I knew I wanted a socially impactful career. Interestingly, I had never considered a career in finance because I always thought of those jobs as more traditional Wall-Street roles. I didn’t know I could combine finance with social impact.
I started working for a trade association for emerging markets investments, which is where I learned about impact investing. I realized that it combined the freedom of the private sector with mission-oriented work I associated with the public sector. I soon saw that Calvert Impact Capital had a job opening, and after applying, I was hired soon after. This role combines all the elements I loved about my previous experiences into one.
4. If you could have a dinner party with any three guests, dead or alive, who would you invite?
I would use the dinner party to learn more about my family history. I would invite my mom's dad, who died before I was born, because I've never met him and think it would be really interesting to learn about him and his family. Most of my grandparents were from the island of Java, whereas one of his parents was from the island of Kalimantan, which is very different culturally.
I would also invite my great grandma from my dad's side. She died when I was four years old and was interesting because that side of my family is of mixed Indonesian-Dutch heritage. She lived through the Japanese occupation of Indonesia during World War II and Indonesia’s transition from a Dutch colony to an independent country. My great grandfather died on his way to a POW camp and she was left to raise my grandfather and his siblings on her own during a time of great upheaval. I want to learn more about this part of my family’s history, especially as I know much more about my Indonesian culture and less about my Dutch heritage.
Lastly, I’d invite an ancestor of mine from the 18th Century. I’d like to learn more about Indonesia in that era and how culture has shifted over centuries. I think a lot about how much families change through generations culturally, especially as I’m the child of immigrants, the culture that I grew up in is very different from the culture my parents grew up in. Using this dinner to see the evolution of generations would be really inspiring for me.
5. Do you have any reading or listening recommendations? (Books, podcasts, articles, etc.)
My all-time favorite podcast is Death, Sex and Money. The whole premise of the podcast is to talk about uncomfortable topics that people tend to shy away from. The host, Anna Sale, does a really good job of removing shame from those conversations and having real honest conversations about a lot of real-world issues people deal with.
In past episodes, she spoke with people grappling with student loans and chatted with people experiencing anxiety during the pandemic. She usually interviews a bunch of people, and so it provides different perspectives on how people are dealing with these issues.
Since graduating college, I've been trying to read more fiction. I really love character-driven novels with complex characters who aren't necessarily perfect. My recent favorite book is “Fates and Furies” by Lauren Groff.
I'm currently reading “An American Marriage” by Tayari Jones. I’m only half-way through though, but it’s been compelling so far.
6. If you had to describe Calvert Impact Capital in one word or term, what would it be?