How can banks better serve their communities?
Kat Taylor, Co-founder and CEO of Beneficial State Bank
Kat Taylor works in service of restoring social justice and environmental well-being. Kat is active in a variety of social enterprises, public benefit and philanthropic ventures on the West Coast. Currently, she serves as co-founder and co-CEO of Beneficial State Bank, a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) whose mission is to bring beneficial banking to low-income communities in an economically and environmentally sustainable manner. Beneficial State Bank is the result of a merger between OneCalifornia Bank, which Kat and her husband, Tom Steyer, founded in Oakland, CA, and ShoreBank Pacific, with offices in California, Oregon and Washington. The bank’s revolutionary ownership mandates that any distributed profit be invested in the low-income communities it serves and environment upon which we all depend. Kat is also a Founding Director of TomKat Ranch Educational Foundation (TKREF), dedicated to inspiring a sustainable food system through ranching, training, tours, research, and school food and garden programs. TKREF owns the social enterprise LeftCoast GrassFed, humanely raising cattle and other livestock for the benefit of people and the planet. Kat serves and has served on many nonprofit boards including the Harvard Board of Overseers, Ecotrust, Good Samaritan Family Resource Center, ProPublica, CuriOdyssey, Insight Prison Project, KQED and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. She graduated from Harvard College and earned a JD/MBA from Stanford University. Tom Steyer, Kat’s climate/energy activist husband, and she have four grown children, each pursuing their one wild and precious life.
Mehrsa Baradaran, Associate Dean of Strategic Initiatives, University of Georgia
Mehrsa Baradaran joined the University of Georgia School of Law faculty in the fall of 2012. She currently serves as the school’s associate dean for strategic initiatives and as the holder of the Robert Cotten Alston Associate Chair in Corporate Law. As associate dean, she focuses on diversity and inclusion efforts, and national and international faculty scholarship recognition. Her teaching portfolio includes Contracts and Banking Law. Her scholarship includes the books How the Other Half Banks and The Color of Money: Black Banks and the Racial Wealth Gap, both published by the Harvard University Press. In 2018, The Color of Money: Black Banks and the Racial Wealth Gap was awarded the PROSE Award Honorable Mention in the Business, Finance & Management category. Baradaran was also selected as a finalist at the 2018 Georgia Author of the Year Awards for the book in the category of history/biography.