If you had to pick one word to describe Hal Brill's life path, then "trailblazing" would be a good choice. Hiking with him in his beloved Rocky Mountains, he is likely to lead you up a steep ridge to catch a view, or into a side canyon just to find out what's around the next bend.
This adventurous spirit carries through to his work life. Majoring in Cultural Geography at the University of California, Berkeley, he explored the interrelationships between human societies and the environment. Even before graduating he started working in the field of environmental education, guiding children through transformative outdoor experiences that instilled a love of the earth.
In 1984, he felt a need to be involved in the public sphere. He joined a group called Walk for the Earth that was making a pilgrimage from California to Washington D.C. Although he originally only planned to walk a few weeks with the group, he was among those that strode into Washington D.C. and a smaller group that walked across Europe the following year. He also explored the Middle East before returning to the U.S. This long journey gave him firsthand experience of both domestic and international issues, group leadership skills, and an even deeper commitment to working for positive change.
Hal settled in Santa Fe, New Mexico because it offered the opportunity to work for progressive change in a beautiful natural setting and a multi-cultural context. He poured his energy into a variety of nonprofit organizations that were all working towards what in the mid-80's was starting to be called "sustainability".
It was at this point that Hal's path took an unexpected turn. Having experienced the difficulties that nonprofit organizations face in obtaining capital, he saw that the fledgling field of SRI offered an entirely different way to work for positive change. Rather than trying to extract charitable money from people, why not simply redirect money that was already invested into enterprises that could build a better world? Hal's father, Jack Brill, had recently started working in SRI in California, and had been offered a book contract by Crown Publishers. Hal offered to do the research for Investing from the Heart, a book that helped advance the field of SRI and brought the Brills national attention.
Hal never intended to work in the financial field, but with people calling from all over the country both he and his father found themselves in demand. He discovered a talent for writing and started a regular column with In Business magazine. Another opportunity for writing a book came along when the Brills teamed up with Cliff Feigenbaum of the GreenMoney Journal to write Investing with Your Values: Making Money and Making a Difference. The plan was to self-publish the book, but they were contacted by Bloomberg Press and decided that having a Wall Street publisher would be helpful to advance the field of SRI. Hal dedicated a year of focused effort to the book, which was published in 1999. That same year the Brills founded Natural Investment Services, Inc., the predecessor to Natural Investments LLC.
Among his SRI peers, Hal is known for his integrity and articulate expression of high ideals. His framework for the future of SRI was cited by Patricia Auburdene in Megatrends 2010. He is among a handful of pioneers to attend every SRI Conference, the major annual event for the industry that started in 1989. He has given dozens of interviews and lectures and continues to write.
Hal now lives in Paonia, a small town on the Western Slope of Colorado, with his wife Allison. Their region is known for organic agriculture and has attracted people who share a passion for rural sustainable living. Still blazing trails, they designed and developed Hawks Haven, a 60-acre green development project that combines land conservation with sustainable living. In 2012 they completed building their beautiful passive solar, straw-clay home. They are partners in High Wire hops, an organic hops farm in Paonia, www.highwirehops.com. Hal is on the board of Solar Energy International, www.solarenergy.org, a leader in renewable energy education.
Christopher has long history with natural investing, beginning as an investor in Working Assets mutual funds in 1987 while still in college. In 1998 he became an investment advisor, opening his own firm, Holistic Solutions, to teach classes in holistic financial planning and advise clients on all areas of sustainable personal finance. He joined Natural Investment Services in 2004 and in 2007, he, Hal and Michael joined forces as equal owners and managing directors in the re-named Natural Investments LLC.
Michael has demonstrated a lifelong commitment to personal and global sustainability. His efforts in the fields of social services,education, environment, economics, and planning reflect his holistic and creative capacity and his passion for creating positive change in the world.
Scott Secrest was born and raised in beautiful Colorado, which instilled in him a love for the fresh air and great outdoors. In 1987 Scott earned a bachelor's degree at the University of Colorado. It was here, educated by the progressive-minded, corduroy-clad professors of CU, that he became exposed to broader perspectives and the importance of considering the environmental and social results of our decisions and our ways of living.
In the wild and abundant lands around the Pacific Ocean, James Frazier has always felt a strong sense of belonging. Born in California, he now lives with his family in Hawaii and the Pacific Northwest. The majestic landscapes and progressive cultures of the Pacific have made it easy for James to love nature and the sustainable lifestyles that help preserve it. With a degree in finance and over 18 years of experience in the investment industry, he is passionate about putting his unique skills and insights to work for clients.
Malaika Maphalala is passionate about effecting positive change for the earth and its human and natural communities. Joining Natural Investments LLC is the current culmination of her life-long journey of contributing to the creation of a sustainable future. For the past ten years, Malaika has shared her talents in non-profit administration and within community arts organizations in Hawaii.
Do you want to see your money invested in socially valuable ways that reflect what’s important to you? Greg loves helping people connect their values to their money life. He’s a problem solver and a good listener, who can help you clarify your life, social, and financial goals and create a comprehensive fiscal plan that lets you gain control over your future.
Jack Brill left behind a thirty-year engineering career to enter SRI as a way to combine his passion for peace with investing. The last 17 years were as Director of Quality Assurance for the U.S. Navy's San Diego contracting office. Frustrated with daily moral compromises and excessive military buildup, he resigned that position in 1985.
Andy R. Loving is widely recognized among his fellow financial advisors as one of the nation’s leading experts in community investing. He has won multiple awards for the many ways he helps clients put capital into financial institutions that serve poor people, both domestically and around the world. Andy has been a lifelong social activist, working on behalf of poor people and communities and organizing middle-class U.S. Americans to work for justice through their finances. It has been observed that “Andy looks at money and imagines ways to create justice.”
Susan K. Taylor joined Natural Investments, LLC, in January 2011. Susan is part of the team at Just Money Advisors, Inc., a Louisville, KY, financial planning firm that specializes in socially responsible and community investing, working with her husband, Andy Loving. Susan writes about issues of money and spirituality, publishing in such magazines as Sojourners and Presbyterians Today, and writes regularly for Faith and Money Network, a Washington, DC, nonprofit organization. She has led workshops for parents, helping them teach their children to deal with money in ways that acknowledge their values and foster personal integrity. She also works with groups of children and high school students around questions of finance, faith, and the vital role of economic justice in creating and sustaining peace.
Financial planning and investment management were not Greg’s first career, nor even his second. He brings a wealth of prior experience, including consulting for high-tech corporations and in the non-profit world, followed by a more recent chapter of his life doing real estate development and green building.
Brady Quirk-Garvan has been committed to transforming the world into a more equitable and just place since a young age. Growing up in a household that regularly talked about – and practiced – socially responsible investing, financial planning, and community investing, it’s no surprise that he ended up being drawn to work with the team at Natural Investments.
Carrie has dedicated her life to building a healthy, sustainable, and just community, both locally and globally. Her work at Natural Investments is a pivotal part in achieving this goal by empowering individuals and families to build their own financially sustainable future while having a positive impact on the community. Carrie is a part of NI's Louisville-based team at Just Money Advisors.