Andrea Fernandez

MBA '03

Director of Governance and Global Partnerships
C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group

What do you do professionally?

I am a Director at a non-profit in London, UK called the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group.  We are a network of 90 of the world's largest cities committed to addressing climate change.  I oversee our city diplomacy work, which involves advocating for cities in the international climate agenda, and I also manage our city finance program, whose goal is mobilizing finance for urban infrastructure projects. 

What is the most enjoyable part of your job?

Hearing mayors speak powerfully and passionately about climate change and wanting to create healthier, more livable and more resilient cities. It's refreshing and invigorating, especially in light of what is happening now in US politics.

What is the biggest challenge you face?

We just published research about the required investment in our member cities to enable them to deliver their fair share of the Paris Agreement on climate change. Roughly $1 trillion is needed over the next 30-plus years to keep global temperate rise to 1.5 degree Celsius. It's an immense challenge from a political, technical and financial point of view; I am trying to address the financial side.  We are working on expanding a facility we established to support cities in preparing bankable projects, identifying new investment vehicles to pool capital and projects, and unlocking sources of finance for cities from institutional investors, development capital and the Green Climate Fund. 

What sorts of interesting places has your position taken you? Do you have a favorite?

I've had to travel quite a lot over the last year but my favorite has to be Rio de Janeiro: what a stunning location for a city!  It's such a beautiful, friendly and fun-loving place, and it's undergone significant transformation gearing up for the Olympics.  Our former Chair was the Mayor of Rio de Janeiro, so I got a chance to visit quite a few times in the last couple of years.

What is the best professional advice you've received?

My first boss after Fuqua taught me so much about being a leader—the importance of having strong vision and conviction, being passionate and driven, shining through the success of your employees and of course, having fun in doing what you love.

Aside from your current role, what is your dream job?

This is definitely my dream job.  But otherwise I hear the Green Climate Fund is looking for a new Executive Director!

What do you like to do outside of work?

London has amazing restaurants, theater and cultural events, which I try to enjoy when I am not travelling.  But with a one-year-old at home, my downtime is more relaxed these days.  So most weekends are spent hanging out with my husband David, daughter Aurora and my dog Kita. 

What is the most important thing you learned during your time at Fuqua?

Meeting other students from all walks of life and different perspectives was fascinating, but being thrust into teams and tasked with delivering a project together was an amazing lesson in communication and teamwork.

Who was your favorite professor?

Campbell Harvey.  I loved his emerging markets corporate finance class. I arrived at Fuqua after having worked at the World Bank for five years, and enjoyed focusing on complex infrastructure projects in developing countries.  

What is your favorite Fuqua memory?

It's hard to pick just one: camping out for basketball tickets, Fuqua Fridays, and Latin American Students Association parties definitely stand out.  It looks like dancing may be the common theme!

Why do you support the Fuqua Annual Fund?

The scholarships the fund supports are so vital.  It's fantastic that Fuqua can provide financial support to international students and has a Loan Assistance Program for alumni who work in the non-profit sector.

What does Team Fuqua mean to you?

It means having a strong sense of community, camaraderie and trust in others.  And it definitely means a lot of dancing!