Getting to know Persefoni: Meet Kristina Wyatt
1. And you may ask yourself, "Well... how did I get here?" (Tell us your journey?)
The stork accidentally dropped me in NYC on his way to the Rocky Mountains. I was born and raised in NYC and spent as much time as possible escaping to the wildest places I could find. In college, I worked on a Wild and Scenic River, rafting and kayaking every weekend. I graduated early to chase my friends out to Crested Butte, Colorado, and stayed for law school and became a corporate and securities lawyer but never let go of my original passions.
Eventually, my law firm allowed me to start a sustainability program and build an ESG practice. My decision calculus has since been focused on where I can have the greatest impact. After President Biden was elected, the acting Chair of the SEC asked me to join her for a year to help with the forthcoming climate disclosure rules. I said yes in about three seconds. When I had the opportunity to join Persefoni, it took me about three seconds again to decide that this was where I need to be. I would be missing the biggest thing if I didn't mention my kids, John (18) and Lily (17) who are amazing people and constantly inspire me.
2. And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile. (What do you do at Persefoni?)
I am Deputy GC and SVP of global regulatory climate reporting. If you ask me in six months or a year, I will probably have a somewhat different explanation of what I do as I expect my role will evolve, as many people's seem to at Persefoni. That is one of the many things I love about this company and its people. My role essentially falls in three buckets. One is to help Peter Bartolino address the legal issues the company faces. The second is to support the company's own sustainability reporting efforts. The third is to help raise awareness of the Persefoni platform so companies and investors can measure their GHG footprints and take the action necessary to save our fragile planet. In practice, this entails speaking with companies, law firms and other professional services firms, and investors to engage in discussions about how they calculate their GHG footprints and how that data feeds into their strategic planning as we move to a lower carbon economy. It also involves having discussions with government officials to help them to understand what is feasible with regard to GHG reporting, and to help bring back information about regulatory developments that might impact corporate reporting requirements.
3. And you may ask yourself, "Where does that highway go to?" (What are your hopes for your time at Persefoni?
I believe Persefoni will have a huge impact in addressing the climate crisis. When I first started working in the sustainability field, the greatest challenge was to convince people that climate change was a real issue that warranted attention. The next challenge was to convince people that climate change represented a mainstream business concern rather than a fringe special interest. After that, the issue was that there was a proliferation of different reporting frameworks and a great deal of confusion as to what to report and how. Just in the last year, we have seen a sea change in the regulatory and standard setting environments around the world and a convergence on certain baseline reporting frameworks (principally the GHG Protocol and the TCFD).
We have also seen a huge wave of net zero commitments, particularly by financial institutions. While the details about the reporting requirements are still yet to be worked out and, in some cases there likely will be battles and litigation, the overall direction of travel is clear. Companies and investors understand that they need to measure and report on their GHG emissions, develop reduction plans, and track their progress toward their goals. The big issue today is how to do that.
As everyone at Persefoni knows, carbon accounting is very complicated. The need for software that can make that process easier, more transparent, and more reliable is critical. My hope is that Persefoni will solve the reporting problem for thousands of companies and financial institutions and put actionable data in the hands of corporate decisionmakers so they can make thoughtful choices about how to transition to a lower carbon economy. Because of companies' interconnectedness, as more companies report their Scopes 1 and 2 emissions, it should at some point become easier for their business partners to report their Scope 3 emissions based on actual company data. My hope is to see Persefoni drive an engine that leads to large scale transparency, significant reductions in emissions, and actual measurable progress toward the Paris goals.
4. And you may say to yourself, "My God! What have I done?" (Why is Persefoni a great home for you?)
I knew that Persefoni would be my home immediately upon meeting the team. I believe in the company's mission and product. The question of how to calculate and report on GHG emissions is the number one climate pain point for companies right now. It makes no sense for thousands of companies to independently try to figure out how to calculate and report on their emissions using spreadsheets and lists of activities and emissions factors. It is just too complicated and difficult. When I learned about the platform, I just thought it was brilliant. This is a perfect use case for a SAAS service.
Coming from a law firm where individuals' time is sold to one client at a time, the business model is extremely appealing. Taking the very best people who can focus on creating the best reporting tool and making that available to potentially thousands of clients at minimal marginal cost makes so much sense. Since I've joined, I am still incredibly excited about the potential of the product but I am even more blown away by the people. This is such a nice, smart, passionate team led by truly brilliant innovators. I feel incredibly fortunate to be here and to be part of this team.
5. And you may find yourself in another part of the world... (Tell us about your life/hobbies away from work?)
I love to take our dog for runs on the trails outside DC overlooking the Potomac River. We also have a little place deep in the mountains of Colorado which is essentially heaven. There is nothing quite like mountain biking through fields of wildflowers over your head. Beyond that, I love hanging out with my friends when I have time (it's been a while), reading, traveling, listening to music (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5IsSpAOD6K8), learning new things, and most of all spending time with my kids.
Meet other Persefonites!
“Once in a Lifetime" is a series of articles designed to help our customers and partners learn more about Persefoni's truly passionate team. We're not just building award-winning software ... together, we're helping to decarbonize our planet.