Mary Adams helps business leaders deliver sustainable corporate value through ESG (environmental, social, and governance) optimization. Based in Boston, she specializes in intangible capital, the multi-capital model, integrated thinking, and integrated management.
The focus of her work is bringing sustainability and long-term thinking into business decisions. Mary’s career started in high-risk finance and moved to entrepreneurship and strategy consulting. Her current work at Insights7 is building software that enables business leaders to literally connect the dots between profitability and sustainability. The rising pressure on companies to incorporate ESG factors into corporate reporting and management systems is an important impetus.
Mary supports two communities she helped create: The Exit Planning Exchange (XPX) that brings long-term thinking to the private company market, and the Integrated Reporting U.S. Community that brings long-term thinking to public companies.
Her career started in the world of hard assets and finance, with 15 years in high-risk lending at Citicorp and Sanwa. In 1999, Mary started a strategy consulting firm. As she helped clients adapt to changing markets and changing expectations, she saw firsthand how the financial models she had used as a banker were failing to capture the value being created (and destroyed) in the form of human, digital, natural, and relationship resources.
Mary is the co-author of Intangible Capital: Putting Knowledge to Work in the 21st Century Organization which outlined approaches she developed to support systems thinking, integrated value creation, and a multi-capital framework. This kind of approach is now gaining greater market acceptance thanks to the work of organizations like the integrated reporting and management movement under the umbrella of ISSB — the International Sustainability Standards Board, a movement she actively supports.
- Rice University — BA, Political Science, 1977–1981
- Thunderbird School of Global Management — Masters, International Management, 1981–1982
- Co-founder and CMO — Insights7, 2021 — Present
- Founder — Smarter-Companies, 2013–2022
- Co-Founder — Trek Consulting LLC, 1999–2013
- Vice President — Sanwa Business Credit, 1990–1999
Intangible Capital: Putting Knowledge to Work in the 21st-Century Organization with Michael Oleksak
Table of Contents
The Routledge Companion to Intellectual Capital edited by James Guthrie, John Dumay, Federica Ricceri, and Christian Nielsen — Chapter 23: Emerging Integrated Reporting Practices in the United States
Leading Issues in Knowledge Management Volume 2 edited by Kenneth Grant and John Dumay — Chapter 2 with John Dumay: The Learning Journey of IC Missionaries: Intuition, control, and value Creation
Knowledge Management and Intellectual Capital Excellence Awards 2015: An Anthology of Case Histories edited by Dan Remeny — Chapter 1: Road Map to Growth and Exit: Jumpstarting Growth with IC
Flat World Navigation: Collaboration and Networking in the Global Digital Economy by Kim Chandler McDonald — Chapter 3: Demand and opportunity through business collaboration (interview)
- IT + IC = Innovation
- Risk in the Knowledge Era: Intangible. But Very Real
- Knowledge is the New Oil
- Accounting in the Knowledge Era
Three key strategies that helped drive the change (and the intangible capitals behind them):
- Community — strong focus on local connections (relationship capital)
- Curation — emphasis on the value add of the staff choices and recommendations (human capital)
- Convening — building the capacity to promote and run events to bring together like-minded customers (structural capital)