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• Advisors Forum 2018: Investing in Equity, Non-Violence, and Inclusion

June 25 2018
June 25 2018

In the last session of the 2018 Advisors Forum, Geeta Aiyer, CEO of Bostongeeta Common Asset Management (pictured right), invited attendees to think more deeply about how they, as investors, can support equity, non-violence, and inclusion. Stressing the importance of non-violence, a term that most often is supplanted with equity, she shared a quote from Thurgood Marshall, “The law can push open doors, and tear down walls, but it cannot build bridges. That job belongs to you and me.”

Geeta was joined by two investors who specialize in building bridges. Suzanne Biegel, founder of Catalyst at Large and member of Toniic’s 100% Impact Network, is intensely focused on gender-lens investing and has collaborated with countless organizations to build gender smart investment strategies. Daryn Dodson is on a mission to uncover investors’ racial biases and recently founded Illumen Capital, a fund of funds that leads managers through implicit bias trainings. Illumen is also partnering with Stanford to pioneer research around racial bias in an effort to shape more inclusive impact strategies.

Geeta, Suzanne, and Daryn discussed the business case for investing in women and people of color. “You could look at it as an impact strategy, with inclusion as the goal, but there’s a basic investment case to be made; you’ll find areas of unrealized returns,” said Suzanne. They also discussed the growing demand for products that support diversity and inclusion and called upon the managers in the room to meet that demand. Daryn put it frankly, “The potential is enormous. But it will only happen if we make it happen.”

Confluence, with the support of the Kellogg Foundation, is doing its part to move the needle with its new Racial Equity Initiative. The first phase of the initiative will result in a set of recommendations around how Confluence can help to advance racial diversity within the investment industry through organizing and advocacy. The findings from this first phase, as well as an implicit bias training, will be offered at the 2019 Practitioners Gathering as part of the Practitioners Institute.


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