Hello, little me! 

You’ll undoubtedly be surprised to find out where we’ve got to in life. Don’t worry,  your childhood will continue as it began, as part of a caring and loving family, with as much time as possible spent active and outdoors in the fields and woods of the Northern German countryside. You naturally respect the flora and fauna around you, but you’ll only realise later in life how important - and urgent - it is to take care of our fragile and precious world. But more on that shortly.

If I were to ask you, dear younger self, what you’d like to grow up to be, you’d probably answer, “A circus artiste. Or a dancer!” You love the stage, performing and expressing yourself so much that at university, you spend as many hours with a contemporary dance company as you do in the lecture halls. But you already know that dancing should be your passion, not your profession.

There are many paths you could have taken - you start work life in cultural event management in Paris and Algiers; but then, no one will believe it less than you when soon after you start a career in finance!  When you tell your family about your new job at Fidelity, they can’t hide their smiles as you’re really not great with numbers.

You will work with people with a real passion and flair for investment, which you don’t fully get.  And yet, 16 years later, you’ll have been part of various teams, held many positions and job titles, and you are still with this leading finance company. 

You’ll have children yourself one day. Your passion for the environment and your desire to protect it is amplified now that you’re a parent. As your kids grow, you’ll struggle to answer their questions about why we let glaciers melt, why we pollute oceans with plastic, and why we drive species to extinction. You’ll offer answers about the problematic balance between human beings’ short-term needs and their long-term consequences, wishing you could offer them more.

Then, an opportunity arises; you become involved in the early days of Fidelity’s sustainability journey, first ‘sprinting’ through different ESG projects and then onto developing the company’s corporate sustainability approach.  You’re proud to be part of this. You embrace the financial sector's potential for real-world change, such as funding the transition to a low-carbon economy and contributing to a more sustainable society. You now invest your energy, enthusiasm, and skills in work that is close to your heart - it suddenly makes more sense.

The journey however is not always easy. You’ll be disappointed that scientific evidence alone isn’t sufficient to impel swift action. To persuade stakeholders, you’ll need to adapt your arguments and speak the language of traditional finance - of risks and opportunities and return on investment. The pace is slower than you want it to be, but you don’t lose your positive mindset and continue to influence for change. You remember the lessons you learned as a dancer: capture the audience’s attention, bring them along, and make them feel it. 

So, young Tina, trust me when I say you’ll never stop trying to make a difference. Even in the world of corporate finance, you’ll remain an optimist at heart! Never forget that small steps count if they are taken in the right direction.

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