Tag: Net Impact

Allison Barudin, MBA ’21, is the co-coordinator of the 2020 Impact Investing Symposium, sponsored by WashU Olin’s chapter of Net Impact and organized by students from Olin and the Brown School. She wrote this for the Olin Blog.

“We’re at a tipping point, and investment capital is only part of the formula. We need businesses to be responsible and collaborative. We need you, as a next-gen community, to get out and vote to assert your civic obligations. Asserting your interest through how you allocate your money for consumption, how you allocate your money to banks, and how you invest. This really matters.”

Peter Lupoff, CEO, Net Impact

Peter Lupoff, CEO of Net Impact, opened the fifth annual Impact Investing Symposium on Friday, October 2, to an audience of more than 100 attendees.

The Annual Impact Investing Symposium (IIS), an initiative of Olin’s Graduate Net Impact chapter, is led by a cohort of Olin and Brown School students dedicated to transforming the business sector into a space for actionable and positive social change.

Impact investments are financial investments intentionally made to generate positive, measurable social and environmental impact alongside a financial return. IIS is proud to be the largest impact investing conference in the Midwest.

Our programming seeks to challenge traditional views on the role of capital. What if there was a way to use our economic engine to solve our world’s most pressing social challenges—to create a more equitable, sustainable and just world?

This year, our traditional one-day in-person symposium shifted to an online four-part series, attracting leading experts from sectors including financial services, asset management, government, nonprofits and philanthropy to a diverse audience now able to tune in from across the country.

Friday’s kick-off session began with Lupoff’s Impact Investing 101 presentation. Lupoff shared key terminology, trends, investment vehicles and frameworks in impact investing.

Next, Jake Barnett, manager, sustainable investment services at Wespath, led a panel entitled “Building an Impact Portfolio” featuring portfolio managers from Kennedy Capital, Nuveen and Aperio Group, discussing the practical (and sometimes challenging) application of different impact investing strategies.

Does putting solar panels on an oil rig makes it a green investment? Jessica Zarzycki of Nuveen declares adamantly: “No.”

But Liz Michaels of Aperio Group challenged that perspective: “Thinking of ‘impact portfolios’ is like a big tent. Every toe matters, even if the impact is small. We need all the different types of toes in the tent.” To her, solar panels on an oil rig is a step toward incremental change. 

There are three upcoming opportunities to learn more about the industry’s most relevant topics. Attendees will leave the sessions armed with the skills to be a critical consumer, understand the power of intentionality and collective impact, and empowered to advocate within their own sphere of influence to make positive change.

Join the next three sessions:

  • October 23: Investing with a racial equity lens and innovative financing solutions
  • November 13: Impact investing in emerging markets and local investing for impact
  • December 11: COVID-19 and impact investing

Learn more about the symposium’s speakers and register.

The below post originally appeared on Net Impact’s CampusGroups page

Upon first steps into the 2017 Net Impact Conference, I was quickly reminded that the community of leaders who infuse social purpose in each business decision is vast and global.

Student chapter leaders from Ecuador spoke about how their partnership with Ferrero Rocher empowered female entrepreneurs to build small businesses and boost local economies. Tech leaders from Silicon Valley stressed the importance of capturing the next industrial revolution of Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality for social initiatives. Governing municipalities shared strategies on industry cross-pollination to curb harmful effects of climate change.

Whatever the tailored interest of corporate citizenship or social responsibility, a session was available, inviting a massive exchange of innovative ideas.

The Career Expo further highlighted the surprising participation of diverse stakeholders. Samsung and Monsanto were recruiting for tech and food sustainability pioneers. Pyxera Global and Accenture were seeking social impact-minded consultants. Other exhibitors included the Environmental Defense Fund, Kiva, National Park Service, Shell Corporation, Education Pioneers, Brown-Forman, and more.

Snapping selfies with the Coke Polar Bear!

The weekend was also filled with fun festivities. The conference kick-off was held at the World of Coke, where we mingled with students from over 300 Net Impact chapters and snapped selfies with the Coke Polar Bear. Intermittent ice cream socials kept our fatigue at bay, all while closing the amazing event at a fresh produce market downtown. I went to bed Saturday night with sore feet because I danced the final evening away. I woke up the next morning with an email invitation to pre-register for next year’s Net Impact 2018 event, and I nearly submitted a deposit. If that doesn’t tell you how wonderful the conference was, I don’t know what will.

In closing, I’d like to leave some food for thought for those who didn’t attend Net Impact 2017:

Often times, corporate citizenship or social responsibility is perceived as a pet project delegated to a separate back corner department within a massive corporation. For our fellow Olin colleagues interested in a traditional business venture (Venture Capital, Investment Banking, Strategy Consulting, Brand Management, etc), I implore you to dive more critically into understanding how social purpose can be infused within each action or decision you make as a future executive. Not only are there performance metrics to report for good PR, but there are also evidence-based payoffs for the communities you intentionally consider as partners.

Increasingly, corporations are recognizing the importance of this philosophy, and we shouldn’t be behind as Olin MBAs. Additionally, there are career options beyond Corporate Social Responsibility with salaries to support a decent way of living. Impact Investing, Supply Chain Sustainability, and Social Impact Consulting are growing industries—and ones to consider when choosing your path moving forward.

Guest blogger: Danny (Yea) Lee, MBA/MSW, General Manager, Net Impact

To say I was inspired by those around me at the Net Impact Conference would be an understatement. Graduate and undergraduate students from around the globe gathered to learn, network, and arm themselves with tools to strengthen and grow their Net Impact chapters.

“We should be inspired by people…who show that human beings can be kind, brave, generous, beautiful, strong- even in the most difficult circumstances.”

The Career Expo buzzed as students and employers met to discuss careers focused on impact work and companies who invested capital and energy into making an impact within their firms and their communities.

The Co-Founder of #BlackLivesMatter illustrated how the challenges we face cannot be solved alone. We need to engage one another. Senior leadership from major corporations like Toyota, Walmart, and Campbell’s explained their 10-year plans on a variety of challenges and then discussed how those goals would affect our world. To hear from the change-makers themselves is powerful enough to send chills down your spine.

etsy-quotesHowever, my most poignant realization at the conference came when I realized who surrounded me in the audience. In particular, those sitting within my row. Of course everyone at the Net Impact Conference had the passion, energy, and ability to make communities stronger and the world a better place. But some of the biggest heroes in my life are the ones that I see on the frontlines every day, working to continue shaping the Olin Business School, the Washington University community, and the city of St. Louis.

As I listened to some of the keynote speakers deliver their messages, I can assure you there is no denying they have a gift for communication. But I see that same gift in my fellow classmates who joined me for the Net Impact Conference. It was an honor to attend the NI Conference on behalf of Olin and WashU; but it was even more of an honor to sit with my fellow classmates, who I know are the change-makers in the ‘now’; not the “change-makers of tomorrow”—a moniker often given to millennials.

I submit that my classmates are making this community and world a better place. Maybe they do not have the megaphone to bring to light what they are doing. Or maybe they do not have the traction or manpower necessary to create a revolution. But I know they will prove me right as they continue on their missions.

Heather Reinhardt, MBA’17, is a former Walmart intern who introduced CEO Doug McMillon prior to his remarks at the 2016 Net Impact Conference in Philadelphia. At the event, McMillon outlined a series of commitments that will benefit customers and communities – learn more about his speech here.

About Net Impact:

Net Impact is a global community of students and professionals who aspire to be effective drivers of social and environmental change. Visit www.netimpact.org.

Here at Net Impact, we strive to engage and empower Washington University in St. Louis and the business community to drive positive social, environmental, and economic change. We’re a graduate student club that sees an MBA as a conduit for impact. We want to make a difference in our careers across business sectors, industries, and initiatives. Part of this engagement includes non-partisan encouragement to cast a vote this election cycle.

October 12 is the last day to register to vote in Missouri.

As such, we’ve captured some of our members’ voices as they describe their motivation for voting. We spent part of our last general body meeting exploring why someone votes. The activity brought out interesting perspectives, from sense of duty to belief in change, acknowledgement of our country’s past to hopes for our future. A diverse array of voting rationale – which makes sense since this group comes from backgrounds, industries, and ideas that span education to energy, non-profits to Fortune 500, military to marketing.

Explore our thoughts here: Why We Vote: Net Impact-Style

turbovote-200px-fw__0Washington University is one of 200 universities using TurboVote, an electronic registration platform that allows students to register in any of the nation’s 50 states or the District of Columbia. The process is fast and private. TurboVote only shares with the university the total number of students who register, and it sends students election reminders and alerts.


Join us for the Impact Investing Symposium hosted at Olin Business School on April 1. A free event, open to the public – speakers from around the nation, opportunities to question, probe, and inform oneself of the nascent impact investing field.

Check-in begins at 8:30 am with coffee and pastries.

Keynote speaker, Gloria Nelund, CEO of TriLinc Global, will take the stage at 9:00 am.

A panel moderated by Martin Myers of pePartners and breakout sessions with the panelists will follow.

Light lunch and networking will close the event activities.

To register (and for more details), click here.

See you Friday.