Announcement
Get to Know: Dory Weiss, nCino’s VP of Sustainability and Social Impact
October 27, 2022

At nCino, our leaders must not only possess the skills and experience to propel us forward, they must also characterize our values and help shape our culture, which remains one of our most precious assets. In this series, we’re excited to introduce some key leaders within our company and share their thoughts about how nCino is transforming the industry. We’re continuing this series with Dory Weiss, VP of Sustainability and Social Impact.

Over the last few years and around the globe, ESG has come into sharp focus as a key priority for many industries. That’s especially true for the financial industry. Companies with strong sustainability and social responsibility practices are becoming more successful as a result, and they can also make a powerful difference within their communities.

As nCino’s VP of Sustainability and Social Impact, Dory leads an incredible cross-departmental group to identify and execute on opportunities to enhance our product to support financial institutions in their own efforts and to shepherd positive change within nCino, our hometown communities, and the broader financial services industry.

 

 

 

Hello Dory! Thanks for taking the time to chat with us and share your experiences with our readers. You recently moved into a new role as VP of Sustainability and Social Impact at nCino. What excites you most about this opportunity?

I’m personally very passionate about sustainability, DEI, and community engagement, and it’s a gift to be able to make these a full-time focus of my work life, instead of only something I do in my free time as a volunteer. I love that these are all interrelated issues that really require engagement and effort from everyone. It means I get to call on my skills as an educator and motivator.

 

ESG seems to be everywhere lately and is an especially big focus for the financial services industry. How can being proactive in ESG efforts help financial institutions strengthen and future-proof their business?

I think there’s a huge opportunity to reframe the way that we think about ESG so that we don’t just see it as a burden that’s being forced on us, but as a legitimate opportunity to strengthen and future-proof our companies. Rather than just reacting to regulators, we can take a fresh look and ask foundational questions: How can we develop a broader and deeper understanding of the true risks and opportunities that face us? How can we redefine our measure of success so that we’re not only trying to maximize profits for shareholders, but to make our company, our customers, and our communities better, more resilient, and more successful?

 

What are the greatest challenges to building an ESG practice facing lenders and technology leaders? What are the biggest opportunities?

For companies who are trying to navigate ESG and sustainability, it can feel like trying to fly a plane as it’s being constructed. A growing number of authorities are creating ESG regulations, but most companies are early in their efforts to understand their activities and exposure. Financial institutions have a uniquely heavy responsibility. They must understand and manage their own corporate impact as well as the cumulative impact of the loans in their portfolio.

A lot of players—companies, governments, and NGOs—have rushed into the space, but they haven’t always helped. There are multiple disclosure frameworks for carbon emissions, competing standards for carbon-based accounting, and a slew of proprietary ESG scoring models that rank companies for institutional investors. Many of these solutions are black boxes. Some of the players have rushed into this market only for the profit, not to make a positive impact.

 

For those financial institutions who recognize the value of ESG, but simply don’t know where to start, what would you advise?

As intimidating as it can be to dive into the ESG space, it will be even more painful for FIs that wait and find themselves in the position where they are only reacting. A few suggestions to consider:

  • Start as soon as you can, and make sure that you’ve built the ability to adapt into the plan.
  • Focus on integrating ESG into your existing business processes, rather than creating a new silo.
  • Embrace data: consider non-traditional sources of data and ways you can use AI to augment and interpret what you have. If you have data that isn’t company IP or doesn’t constitute a competitive advantage, share it with your peers across the industry.

 

What value or trait do you think is more important for leaders in the sustainability space?

I think it’s essential to have a strong sense of purpose when it comes to sustainability. For me, that’s the sense of responsibility I feel to other people. This work can feel overwhelming and terrifying. The facts are bleak, the problems are existential, and time is short. But when I focus on people, and my desire to create something healthy and resilient for them, it’s easier to stay in a creative and generative mindset.

 

When it comes to these issues, what are your favorite publications or podcasts?

I’m a bit of a podcast fiend, so I have lots of favorites.

For folks who want an introduction to the climate crisis, Season 4 (“Time to 1.5”) of Threshold does an excellent job laying out the current situation. How to Save a Planet focuses on a different aspect of climate science and sustainability with every episode, and always ends with actions that listeners can take. How We Survive examines the energy transition (e.g. how can we move off of fossil fuels?) and how it’s playing out in the U.S.

Timber Wars (about logging in the NW) and Floodlines (about the impact of Hurricane Katrina) both tell stories that really illuminate how climate issues play out in specific communities and how they interact with other systems like class, race, and politics. And then there are still more great podcasts, like The Carbon Copy, The Climate Question, A Matter of Degrees, and Mothers of Invention!

 

How do you see the overlap of the areas of your position? How does DEI relate to ESG?

There’s a huge overlap here. Diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts are a major part of the “S” in ESG. The ultimate goal of sustainability is to create a world where everyone (living now and future generations) has the ability to meet their needs. The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals are the best roadmap that we have for getting there. Climate and environmental issues are obviously a big part of it, because we have to ensure that we have an inhabitable planet. But issues like equal rights and educational access are also essential parts of that end goal.

When it comes to nCino in particular, some of the ESG issues that are most important to us and our culture are DEI and employee engagement. When we think about what kind of impact we want to have on our employees and in the communities where we operate, it always comes back to creating opportunities for people to grow and flourish. And that has to be equitable and inclusive.

 

What new and upcoming nCino DEI efforts or projects are you excited about? What’s next?

One of the things that I’m most excited for is continuing to see our employee affinity groups grow and flex their muscles. Those groups help create a sense of community and belonging for their members, help enrich and educate others, and provide an important feedback mechanism to make sure that we’re supporting all our employees.

We’re early on in plans to expand our existing DEI recruiting efforts to build focused, longer-term relationships with HBCUs, professional organizations, and non-traditional career transition programs like the Honor Foundation and to create leadership development programs focused on underrepresented groups.

 

Thanks so much, Dory! To learn more about nCino’s sustainability philosophy and to meet our affinity groups, visit our website.

  • Company Culture
  • ESG