Alison Loat: Easy to start, Hard to Grow and Build

portrait of Alison Loat
Alison Loat Alison Loat, Managing Director, Sustainable Investing and Innovation at OPTrust. Alison is responsible for OPTrust’s responsible investment programs and oversees a portfolio that investment at the intersection of sustainability and innovation, with a focus on climate change. She is also a corporate director for two media companies. Alison also has a deep commitment to and passion for public service.

What motivated you to launch a non-profit charity organization?

When was a year into working at McKinsey, I had an itch to engage in policy and issues facing the country. I started working with five others friends to start working on an organization called Canada25.

My goal there was to find a meaningful and productive way for young Canadians around the world to get involved in public policy. We found that they lacked meaningful outlets to get engaged. Fortunately, and in with big gratitude, McKinsey allowed me to have paid leave to set this organization up and run it out of their office.

During this time, I realized that there was space to come creatively with solutions to public policy in Canada, and that it can make a big difference. I always knew that this is what I wanted to dedicate my career too. I’ve always enjoyed building things and working on really tough problems and found this is where my heart wanted to be.

What advice would you give someone trying to re-build their confidence?

You have to lean on a friend or friends. I remember a friend of mine asked me to come over one day after a job interview, and she helped me think about ‘who am i, and how do I want to project myself in the world.’

She tangibly helped me walk through questions like ‘tell me about yourself.’ She advised that when answering such questions, you have to be intentional with your answers, because most people ramble on. Start with your personal story, and this will paint a picture; and showcases many characteristics of yourself. From there, you build on that foundation of your story.