and social impacts of shareholders’ investments
to maximize return. And she’ll be the first to hold
their “feet to the fire” when businesses’ practices
are less than socially responsible. She says it’s all
part of her fiduciary responsibility to protect her
During a recent interview with DiversityInc
CEO Luke Visconti, Goodridge details some of
the challenges she has faced in protecting her
clients’ portfolios when corporations act in ways
that are not considered socially responsible. She
discusses how her firm has taken the initiative to
uphold equitable business practices and inspire
LUKE VISCONTI Tell us about NorthStar and
what you do.
JULIE GOODRIDGE I started the company about
20 years ago. I work primarily with people with
inherited wealth. We only have about 65 clients
and manage $160 million, so it’s a small firm
and, by Wall Street standards, a good setting.
We initially set out to create portfolios for
our clients that we felt would match their values. That was easier a long time ago; now things
are much more complicated.
We started filing shareholder resolutions
on behalf of the shares held in our clients’
accounts. We didn’t believe that there was really any company that’s 100 percent socially
We wanted to engage with companies on behalf of our clients,
to show them that we really do care about the companies that are
in the portfolio and that we do think about their values when we
choose those companies.
VISCONTI You were doing this in an effort to help the companies
make sound decisions for the benefit of your investors?
GOODRIDGE I have a fiduciary obligation to my clients to have things
in their portfolio that actually reflect what they need and want. I am
looking at their financial returns, and I am looking at the social return.
If I have a company in the portfolio that is really fantastic but has
a few things that make me nervous, I feel like I need to engage with
the company to help them think it through.
This engagement is a tricky thing. We’re a very small firm, an all-women firm. We are just now eight in total. Last year, we were four.
It was hard to get a call from a company. They’d say, “Julie, we’d really like to come and meet with your crew and get to know you a little bit.” I feel like what they didn’t understand was that we had five
chairs in the office. We have everybody in the company sit down
and think it out—what is going on in the news right now and in what
ways might those issues affect the companies and our portfolios.
VISCONTI Tell me about some of your favorite shareholders.
GOODRIDGE Our clients have inherited wealth. A lot of times they
have stock in the portfolio that we wouldn’t necessarily want them to
have. We started crafting shareholder resolutions at those companies.
the companies Goodridge
cited in this interview for
response. Target and Procter
& Gamble, Nos. 44 and 25
in the DiversityInc Top
50, respectively, responded
to DiversityInc, and their
statements appear here. The
Home Depot, ExxonMobil and
PepsiCo declined to comment.
Following the 2010 election, Target
conducted a thorough evaluation
of our processes and established
a Policy Committee to review and
provide greater oversight to future
corporate political giving. Moving
forward, we will evaluate our giving
based on business, team member
and stakeholder objectives.
Target believes that engaging in
civic activities is an important
part of operating a national retail
business and believes we operate
best when working with policy
makers on both sides of the aisle.
PROCTER & GAMBLE
P&G’s commitment to diversity
and inclusion is unwavering.
Our aim is to provide a work
environment, which fosters a
culture of inclusion for all, so that
everyone is valued and included.
Our Company Purpose is to touch
and improve lives, beginning with
our employees. Without exception,
we value all of our employees and
respect their right to be who they
need to be.
Guided by our Purpose, Values
and Principles, P&G participates
in the political process to help
shape public policy and legislation that has a direct impact on
the Company. Engagement on