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• A Dinner for Impactful Women

April 25 2018
April 25 2018

This month, Confluence Philanthropy hosted 20 leading women in mission investing for a dinner conversation in Chicago. The gathering was a bit of an experiment and the first event tied to a new Confluence initiative aimed at supporting women in finance. The goal of the conversation was threefold: outline the most effective ways to support women’s leadership in finance, identify ways that women’s leadership can catalyze mission investing, and, most importantly, have fun.

The format of the evening event was inspired by an ongoing series created by Patricia Farrar-Rivas and Rha Goddess called “Uncommon Conversations,” which is designed to bring a diverse group of people together to break bread and dig into, well, uncommon conversations. To make sure a formidable group of women was involved, Confluence planned the dinner around Big Path Capital’s Impact Capitalism Summit XII, the theme of which this year was aptly titled “impact & diversity driving alpha.”

 

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The dinner brought together women from different parts of the country who work in various sectors of the industry. The group included leading women from impact funds, investment management firms, and foundations. While each represented diverse personal and professional backgrounds, what they had in common was their dedication to mission investing and their interest in supporting other women in the industry. Guests discussed their hopes for the future of mission investing, ways they could support one another, and lessons learned which should be passed down to newcomers in the field.

In identifying future milestones for the industry, most women agreed that “doing well by doing good” needed to become the expectation, not the exception. On the topic of mentorship, one participant highlighted her strategy of offering “office hours” as a way to set aside time for young women looking for guidance. Others agreed to share job openings with Confluence and other women’s groups to help recruit more women at their firms.

Aglow from candid conversation (and wine), guests agreed that Confluence should replicate the event in an ongoing dinner series. Julie Shafer of Bank of the West/BNC Paribas agreed to cohost the next dinner in New York City, in conjunction with Confluence Philanthropy’s upcoming Advisors Forum. We look forward to hosting a new cohort of leading women in New York and to identifying other ways that this new series can support gender parity as part of the future of mission investing.


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