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Full interview with the Impact Days team

"We want to turn the ripples into waves!"

Since 2011, the Impact Days have grown into the most prominent gathering for private wealth holders in the Benelux (and beyond) that focuses purely on impact. This year we are once again bringing the impact investment community together. The PYM Impact Days team tells you more.

Was it your idea 13 years ago Frank, the Impact Days?

Frank - No, it was Margaret's idea. Margaret saw so many wealthholders join us at our kitchen table to learn about impact investing. She said "Those one-on-one meetings are not going to make a difference. We need to think bigger." And then we started the Impact Days. First together with SOCAP in America, then with Pymwymic and now it has become the PYM Impact Days.

What about organising the PYM Impact Days appeals to you so much?

Ignaz - It is a joy, every time, to be able to inspire people and encourage them to use their impact in everything they do. 

Liet - I have been to the PYM Impact Days twice and last year for the first time as chair of the PYM board. Every time I noticed how much fun the Impact Days team had, it radiated from them. The PYM Impact Days is our flagship event. It's so important to bring everyone together in person and I really wanted to be a part of that.

Now getting to work with Frank and Ignaz is so much fun. All three of us bring to the table different insights, ideas, and experiences that we use in curating the program. It won't be a formal conference but rather a super inspiring two days that we would love to attend as participants ourselves. You can see that in how we interact and build the program together.

Frank - If I may add to that Liet, every year we have a different theme. And after we establish the theme the right speakers join in naturally. Eventually, something magical comes out, it's incredible how this works. That's what makes the fun between us especially great.

The Impact Days team

What is the theme for the PYM Impact Days 2024?

Liet - The theme this year is Ancient Wisdom for Future Transformation. And what that means is that we are going to try to find a balance between the inner life of money and the outer life of money. 

We are not only going to listen to the wisdom of others but also to our inner wisdom. That will hopefully spark insights that you can use to activate your wealth for future transformation, for the future we would like to see for the generations that follow us.

Frank - Two years ago we were talking about biodiversity and regeneration, last year about what the new economy might look like. Our Impact Days themes are evolving to delve deeper and deeper. Ancient Wisdom has a spiritual touch, connecting cosmic and practical wisdom, and it especially focuses on how to interact in harmony with nature. We have lost that and would like to find it again.

How did you come up with this theme?

Ignaz - Last year we discovered that change only works when it takes place systemically. Not just focused on the world, but instead on our collective relationship with the planet as a whole. Our inner wisdom forms the basis for future meaningful action.

Liet - How it often works with PYM events is that we first hear something emerging within the community. This year that was standing still, turning inwards and looking backwards. We then discussed with different groups how we could forge this into a theme. Once we arrived at the title "Ancient Wisdom For Future Transformation," we began to recognize it more and more in things around us. From people who know a lot about such a topic, to books that happen to come out, to synchronicity in the space, and then you build on that.

Why is this an important theme for investors?

Frank - Many investors would like to do more with their money than just make a financial return. These Impact Days will give them a fresh perspective on this.

Liet - It starts with your own story because once you have taken the step to become a more conscious investor and aspire to social as well as ecological returns in addition to financial returns, you can still go in a lot of different directions. Having that inner wisdom and reflecting on it also ensures that you take action in a much clearer and more holistic way to contribute to the future you want to see.

What is the value of the PYM Impact Days for private wealth holders?

Ignaz - Just as indigenous wisdom is a local force, PYM is a local community like no other, awakening the best in all of us for collective action!

Liet - When do you ever get the chance to talk about your wealth with others in a completely safe setting? It is something very personal. Being able to share openly with each other is like coming home.

What if you have no experience with impact investing yet?

Ignaz - This is the perfect opportunity to connect with others who are already actively investing in impact. It doesn't matter if you are a beginner or if you have been at it for twenty years. In such a warm environment you can always learn things from each other by openly sharing your experiences.

Can you give us a hint about the speakers?

Frank - Yes definitely. We have speakers who are going to take us through their personal stories, for example, Uncle Angaangaq, an elder from Greenland in his eighties. We are also very pleased that John Fullerton has again agreed to come. Slowly we are building that out with practical examples from impact investors like Lisa Kleissner, Dana Ulrike Glatz and Astrid Leyssens who have been working on this for years. 

So first we're going to hear what those stories of ancient wisdom are, then we're going to look at what that can mean for us as investors and lastly how we can turn that into action and start investing in the future.

What's new this year?

Liet - The whole setup is going to be different. We have often had feedback that people want to have more interaction, be able to participate more and get to know each other better. Therefore, this year much of the program is going to be in a World Café setting.

Frank - Indeed, we looked at how can we lecture less, and co-create more with everyone. Since we are at the beginning of a new kind of investing where we are learning much more from within communities and are investing that way as well, we wanted to apply that to the PYM Impact Days. 

The World Café setting means that we are first briefly inspired by a keynote speaker with his or her story and then we engage in small groups, as if we were in a café, in conversation to hear what others are doing and what we can change ourselves.

All those conversations throughout the day build towards insights for each person individually and insights about concrete steps we can take as a community.

Also new this year is that the first day, including the dinner, is only for private wealth holders. This day we focus on what money means to you and how you translate that into action. On the second day, we also welcome impact investment professionals to continue building a bigger impact movement together.

What is the value of the PYM Impact Days for impact investing professionals?

Frank - Professionals can learn a lot from wealth holders, but wealth holders can also learn a lot from professionals. And that only happens when you meet with each other. Professionals are incredibly important because they carry the impact investing philosophy back to their clients and help build the investment tools and networks.

Liet - And together, because it takes a village, we're going to look at what new products and different types of investments could be built for a better future, where ultimately the assets of the impact investors can be invested into. So we need each other and our hope with PYM is that we can create that future together.

What did you take away from the PYM Impact Days last year and carry with you through the rest of the year?

Liet - The concept of Systems Change Investing was a great insight for me last year. Instead of investing in one company or one fund in one direction, you can look much more broadly at your investments and how they relate to each other for a positive change in the whole system. That really made a difference for me in how I look at an investment now.

Frank - That we are moving along into the future. What does the new economy look like? We can't continue the same way, we can't keep growing, but we can't stop growing either. So what does it look like? I gained a lot of insight into understanding that change is happening. Steward ownership is one of those things. Change in the ownership of a company, which we've talked about extensively. And I'm doing a lot with that now, for example with Ignaz in DIIF.

What do you hope that the PYM Impact Days will spark this year?

Ignaz - Strengthening personal wisdom and encouraging even more consistency and collaboration in what we do as impact investors and professionals.

Frank - What matters is that we can share our philosophy with a lot of new people and they start investing in impact.

Liet - I hope that I will learn to trust my intuition even more when I look at investments and what is needed in the world that I could contribute to. Because often, at least with me, that's a bit more disconnected from each other, and I want that to come together more.

And for the community as a whole, that together we are the 'pebble in the pound'. That even after the PYM Impact Days, like ripples in the water, we will continue to spread the story of using your money as a tool for good.

Frank - And we want to turn those ripples into waves!

What are you most looking forward to in the PYM Impact Days 2024?

Ignaz - Meeting both familiar and new friends who want to share their knowledge and experience.

Frank - The incredibly warm atmosphere. We also hope that a large group of the next generation will come along with their parents. Learning together about a theme like this creates a wonderful bond and we are very much looking forward to that.

Liet - I also look forward to the connections we always make with each other. It doesn't matter how you arrived at PYM, we all have a mindset of; "Come on guys, together we're going to use our ability, our network, and our knowledge for a better world." That shines through on days like this, and everyone feels that enthusiasm and gets to share it.

One last message for our readers?

Liet - Join us! And bring others for whom it might be a gift to become part of the PYM community and contribute to the future we build together.

Think of this as planting and nurturing a small seed that will start to grow for you and for what you are doing with your wealth. Because that connection you make with others and with the stories that are shared will continue after the Impact Days. We look forward to seeing you!

Frank - Join us! Because this is the only conference in the Netherlands, Belgium and Europe that is designed for private wealth holders who want to have a positive impact on the world, but that also facilitates coming together with professionals. It is truly unique.

About PYM

PYM is an independent foundation that connects and guides wealth owners to invest their capital consciously for a better world. We are a peer-to-peer community of families, philanthropists, individual investors, family offices, and foundations.
We believe in the power of money as a force for good. That is why we promote listed and non-listed impact investing. You can invest successfully in businesses, directly or through funds, that have a purpose beyond profit.

We focus on investors in the Benelux, but we welcome everyone who shares our goals to join us.


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