Originally published June 4, 2024

Stan Garfield
5 min readJun 5, 2024

This is the 104th article in the Profiles in Knowledge series featuring thought leaders in knowledge management. 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




1. Insights7

2. Smarter Companies

Three key strategies that helped drive the change (and the intangible capitals behind them):

  1. Community — strong focus on local connections (relationship capital)
  2. Curation — emphasis on the value add of the staff choices and recommendations (human capital)
  3. Convening — building the capacity to promote and run events to bring together like-minded customers (structural capital)






Table of Contents



Stan Garfield

Knowledge Management Author and Speaker, Founder of SIKM Leaders Community, Community Evangelist, Knowledge Manager https://sites.google.com/site/stangarfield/