Kelly McCarthy

Kelly McCarthy

Head of Impact, The Vistria Group

Kelly is head of impact at The Vistria Group where she leads the firm’s impact management practice. She is based in Washington, D.C. Kelly is a pioneer in impact investing, having dedicated her career to redefining the role of business and investment as a force for good. Bringing together diverse stakeholders, including standards setting bodies, investors, research institutions, intergovernmental organizations, and thought leaders from around the world, she has played an integral role in defining what it means to invest for impact. She is a frequent speaker about industry-level priorities and trends for impact measurement and management. As an experienced impact practitioner and thought leader, Kelly is often asked to share her views including for the Economist Impact, Forbes, Stanford Social Innovation Review, Barron’s, and Environmental Finance. She was recognized as an Agent of Impact by Impact Alpha for her work on establishing impact investing standards and infrastructure.


As a well-known expert in impact measurement, management, and optimization, Kelly is a highly sought-after advisor to global market-building impact investing initiatives. She has chaired or served on several committees that have played a foundational role in establishing standards for impact investing including the Impact Management Project, Principles for Impact Management led by the International Finance Corporation, World Economic Forum’s Accelerating Impact Measurement & Management effort, B Lab’s Standards Advisory Council, and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Transparency & Data Charter. She was also the Secretariat to the Impact Measurement Working Group of the Social Impact Investment Taskforce established by the G8.


Prior to joining Vistria, Kelly served as chief impact officer at the Global Impact Investing Network where she spent over a decade leading the organization’s work to develop tools and infrastructure for integrating impact into investment management. During this time, she was the chief architect behind the IRIS+ system, the most widely used impact investing standard in the world for measuring, managing, and optimizing impact performance. She also oversaw the strategy and development of the industry’s first impact benchmarks.


Prior to joining the GIIN, Kelly was the global impact officer for New Ventures at the World Resources Institute, where she worked to build an impact measurement and management practice for New Ventures’ global portfolio of 250 companies across 7 environmental themes. Before New Ventures, Kelly worked for the consultancy SustainAbility (now the SustainAbility Institute by ERM) where she focused on accountability within Fortune 500 companies. Specifically, she explored how corporate disclosure of social and environmental performance can drive mainstream adoption of sustainable behavior. Early in her career, Kelly co-founded Good Harvest Market, an organic foods and lifestyle marketplace dedicated to ensuring that all socio-economic groups have the same access to healthy living choices, while also prioritizing local sourcing in order to promote economic growth opportunities in the local community.


She holds a BA in conservation biology and environmental studies from University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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