JUST Capital is very excited to announce that Tolu Lawrence will lead as the nonprofit’s inaugural Chief Impact Officer.
As Chief Impact Officer, Tolu will lead JUST’s Corporate Impact team, connecting America’s largest corporations with data insights and cross-sector partners to explore consequential issues, develop innovative solutions, and share and explore leading practices that advance a stakeholder economy that works for all Americans. Tolu, previously Managing Director and Head of Corporate Impact has over a decade of experience bringing together leading brands, nonprofits, foundations, and social enterprises to improve corporate performance on stakeholder issues, shape narratives, and develop mission-driven initiatives that further social good. Reporting to President Alison Omens and CEO Martin Whittaker, Tolu will guide JUST Capital through the next phase of the organization’s work to help companies create value for all
Prior to joining JUST Capital, Tolu served on the Steering Group of the Parental Leave Corporate Task Force and on Spotify’s inaugural Culture Change Collective. She also led social impact partnerships with Cummins, Kering, L’Oreal, Lucasfilm, P&G, Unilever, etc. Tolu holds a JD degree from American University Washington College of Law and is a member of the California Bar.
In a brief Q+A with JUST Capital, Tolu shared her vision for the nonprofit in her new role.
1. Impact is a large word. As Chief Impact Officer, what does that word actually look and feel like for JUST Capital?
My work is not only about making sure JUST Capital has a clear pathway to advance our mission so that we can realize our vision of a world where business and markets are a force for the greater good, driving competition to build a better future for all, but it’s also about being able to demonstrate that our efforts are actually resulting in tangible steps forward towards that big audacious goal. The market operates as a massive system, and like all systems, there are drivers that influence the direction in which they move and how they operate. We truly believe that as we merge into the natural flow of the system – instead of fighting the current – while partnering with market leaders to introduce factors and incentives that shift the targets, we can ultimately and incrementally reorient the flow of that system to deliver the kind of positive outcomes we know are possible.
2. How does your background and vision uniquely position you to achieve impact?
I bring a number of perspectives to this role. Both my personal background as a Nigerian-American lawyer and mother as well as my professional experience with strategic cross-sector partnerships, corporate social impact strategy, and intersectional gender equity inform my work with JUST. My identity and life experiences ground my commitment and passion for this work, while my multidisciplinary background enables me to bring a creative, pragmatic, and results-driven approach to how we collaborate with cross-sector partners to help companies create value for all of their stakeholders. I’m able to build with an awareness of the challenges corporate leaders face as they navigate the complexity of making business decisions and implementing action plans directly tied to advancing JUST’s mission – there is a lot involved in demonstrating how certain investments can create long-term value for business and society while mitigating potential risks and negative consequences.
3. What are your next steps?
We can’t wait to share what JUST has in store for next year and beyond. Next year will mark our 10th anniversary, so fittingly, we took a moment to reflect on where we’ve been in order to get even sharper as we plan for the future. That reflection, ongoing insights from the public, and conversations with many of our key stakeholders – including over 100 corporate leaders – have enabled us to double down on our strengths and challenge ourselves to think even bigger about how we deliver on our mission: to demonstrate that just business – informed by the priorities of the public – is better business. Moving forward, with support from our funders and our expansive partner and advisor networks, you can expect to see the results of that work with some big announcements coming in the new year.