How can business play a role to create a sustainable future? This is a question I had been asking myself when I worked in the climate change policy sector, prior to pursuing my MBA. This same question led me to Fuqua, because I believe impact investing is one of the great ways to answer this challenge.
I have previously written about how I found my voice at Fuqua. Fuqua helped me not only to grow as a person but also to shape my future goal of filling capital gaps to tackle social and environmental problems by creating an impact investing ecosystem in my home country. The biggest reason I chose to attend Fuqua is that it is known for its impact investing studies. Fuqua’s impact investing program provided me with incredible experiences while allowing me to meet wonderful people.
Cathy Clark, faculty director of the Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship (CASE), taught classes that prepared me to work in the social impact space and gave me two sets of eyes with which to see things: through both the investor and entrepreneurial perspectives.
The CRANE tool project with Sarah Kearney of Prime Coalition was another opportunity I was able to experience through the CASE i3 Consulting Program. The experience not only opened the door to the impact investing industry for me, but also taught me how to measure and scale positive impact and to be a bridge between investors and entrepreneurs.
That CRANE project also led me to meeting my current mentor, Ryan Macpherson at Autodesk and the Autodesk Foundation. My second year at Fuqua could never have been so meaningful without him. He taught me what it means to be a real impact investor and a true leader in the social impact space. He’s also taught me to have good and strong intentions, to actually realize positive impact, to stay humble, to have supportive ambition, to be creative, and to not be afraid of being a pioneer.
I worked with Ryan and other corporate venture investors like Claudine Emeott at Salesforce Ventures Impact Fund, Ken Gustavsen at Merck, and Moses Choi at RBC Capital Markets on a project that was published in the Stanford Social Innovation Review. The piece helped define the emerging space of corporate investing, with impact intent serving as a framework for others. Working hand-in-hand with these incredible investors, I learned how to take an action-oriented, field building approach.
Without Fuqua, I never could have been involved in such wonderful projects with such wonderful people. Recently, I took a step forward towards my future goal. I joined the Green Impact Finance Team, a division of the Japanese government, where I am in charge of creating an impact investing ecosystem in Japan. This is especially exciting because Japan is a country where impact investing is blossoming. I am excited to pave the way for impact investing here in the Far East, in the same fashion as the amazing people whom I met through Fuqua did in the West.