By Rebecca Beyer
When Radha Kuppalli ’06 was first hired by New Forests, a sustainable investment management company based in Australia, the startup had six employees and oversaw about $50 million in assets for one client. Today, New Forests’ 60 team members manage approximately $4 billion in investments in Australia, New Zealand, Southeast Asia, and the United States. Kuppalli, who started at the company as an intern, has been integral to that growth. In 2007, she opened New Forests’ U.S. subsidiary and spent several years running the company’s $100 million Eco Products Fund, which focused on carbon, wetlands, and biodiversity mitigation.
Now in Sydney, Kuppalli is managing director of investor services, heading up everything from client relations and corporate sustainability to marketing.
“What I’m trying to do is think about what the market wants and help develop the brands and competitive positioning of our sustainable forestry investment products,” she explained in a Career Conversations podcast with Reeve Harde ’20 earlier this year.
Kuppalli traces her tenure at New Forests to “one of those sliding-door moments”: she met the founder of her company at a guest lecture he gave at the Yale School of the Environment (YSE) in 2003.
“I almost didn’t go,” she says, “but I ended up going, and I just asked him afterwards if I could do an internship. The rest is history.”
Chance lectures aside, Kuppalli intentionally charted a career path based on her environmental interests. Her first job after college was as an analyst at Natsource, an energy brokerage firm that helped her get “in on the ground floor of some of the early carbon markets.”
She decided to attend Yale because of the joint-degree program between SOM and YSE. Kuppalli says she continues to draw on lessons she learned in classes on Emotional Intelligence with Heidi Brooks and private equity and venture capital investing with David Cromwell.
“When I discovered SOM, I realized its ethos was very closely aligned to my values around creating an impact in the world,” she says. “The joint-degree community in particular for me was a wonderful home. I finally found a group of people that was thinking about the world in a similar way.”