Chavon Sutton (MBA ’12) spearheaded Stern’s new Corporate Ambassador Program

Chavon Sutton (MBA '12) headshot
Chavon Sutton is a senior investment director in the Sustainable & Impact Investing Research Group at Cambridge Associates, where she conducts manager research and works with institutional clients to build sustainability- and impact-focused portfolios, a role she is passionate about. “It’s a really exciting time, because investor appetite for investments with ESG (environmental, social, and governance) and impact angles has exploded,” she said.

Enthusiasm is a Sutton hallmark. While a full-time MBA student at NYU Stern, she joined Torch Club, the student newspaper, and AHBBS, the Association of Hispanic and Black Business Students at Stern, where she served on the board. As an alumna, she has maintained her engagement with the School, as a vice chair on the Alumni Council and this year teaching classes on management communications and professional responsibility and leadership at Stern. “I have bought into the value of a Stern MBA,” she said. “I decided to get involved to help increase that value.”

The new Corporate Ambassador Program, aimed at increasing, formalizing, and systematizing connectivity within firms (see box), began with Sutton’s realization that alumni engagement was correlated to alumni connectivity, but locating fellow alumni in large firms was too often a matter of chance. “You can be in a large firm and not know where the Sternies are,” she explained. “Through the program’s events, emails, and other engagement programs with students, alumni will be more connected, feel more recognized and supported, and will hopefully give back more—and alumni giving is so important for the School. The program will create a virtuous circle.” 
Sutton initially gravitated to a career in finance based on her desire to understand how wealth was created and passed on. After graduating from University of Pennsylvania she joined Bank of America and RBC in corporate finance roles.

Her interest gradually inclined toward investment management, prompting her to first pursue a master’s in financial journalism at NYU, then apply to Stern for the Full-Time MBA Program.  “Stern’s academic rigor and the personable-ness of Stern students made it the only program I wanted and the only one I applied to,” she said.  

After Stern, Sutton spent five years at JP Morgan Asset and Wealth Management, constructing and managing portfolios for families, endowments, and foundations. Over time, she said, she began to realize that “I could be doing more to have an impact and do well by doing good.” 

She began that journey with her next job, at the NYC Bureau of Asset Management, the investment advisor to the city’s five retirement systems. As the bureau’s first director of diversity and inclusion and emerging manager strategy, she developed a growth strategy for investment in small, diverse, and women-owned investment managers across all asset classes, supported the investment staff's sourcing and due diligence efforts, and created the organization’s first blueprint for the integration of diversity factors in its investment process. 

In her role at Cambridge Associates, Sutton, a classically trained soprano who sings jazz and R&B at open mics, is situated within a vibrant, growing sector that tops $2 trillion in sustainable assets. Now that’s something to sing about.