Lisette Cooper is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Athena Capital Advisors, an investment advisory firm serving private clients, foundations, and endowments. As CEO, Lisette heads the Investment Committee, has expanded Athena’s capabilities in the External CIO space, and has led Athena to be consistently ranked in the top wealth management firms in the country by average size of client assets under management.
Lisette received her Ph.D. from Harvard University in Geological Sciences and also holds the CFA designation. After an early career as a Vice President and Senior Strategist at Merrill Lynch and then as Manager of Consulting Services for Barra (now MSCI BARRA), she founded Athena in 1993 to bring investment techniques originally only available to the largest institutional investors to help a wider range of investors manage complex portfolios.
Dr. Cooper is a dedicated yoga practitioner and Buddhist meditator and teacher. She is former Chairman of the Board for the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health. There, she has been dedicated to ensuring Kripalu continues to provide an environment of safe and sacred space for healing, growth, and transformation. She also is particularly interested in issues of breaking the poverty cycle amongst inner-city children. After providing extensive mentoring to children, Lisette became a founding board member of the Boston Youth Sanctuary. She became involved with Garrison through their research work with the Mind-Life Institute and shares Garrison’s passion for extending the benefits of contemplative practice into the major institutions of society, such as the educational, health care and social services systems.
Lisette’s life work truly merges her financial expertise with her spiritual wisdom to work toward both better business practices and social good. She has helped establish Athena as a leader in the field of socially responsible investing as a member of the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN).