Alexandra is the content curator for PYM’s Impact Days and Women’s Wealth Matters. An active member of the impact community, she is passionate about enabling systems change towards a regenerative, impact economy.
How did you get introduced to the world of impact investing?
I learned about social entrepreneurship in university, which led me to do pro-bono consulting for entrepreneurs in emerging markets. I found out quite quickly that there is nothing I'd rather do than help businesses like these flourish. So I embarked on my impact investing journey, starting with an internship at Goodwell Investments, then working at Dasra in India, and never looked back!
What are you most passionate about changing/creating?
I'm most passionate about enabling systems change. As an impact investing community, we are often very focused on solutions, but we forget to look at the larger, complex, system in which those issues are arising. When we start looking at the larger system, we realize that many interventions are needed, with multiple types of capital, i.e. philanthropy, investments and policy, to create a meaningful change in the system. This is something that really intrigues me, hence also my interest in delving deeper into our economic system during these Impact Days!
Has impact investing changed your daily life/daily decisions?
Yes! Impact investing has changed my life and decisions drastically. I have become much more aware of the issues that we face, and more importantly, the myriad of solutions. I believe that all of our daily actions can make a positive impact - not just our capital - so I have incorporated these ‘solutions’ into my daily life, from eating regenerative, plant-based foods to buying second-hand clothes.
What would you advise those who are starting out in impact investing?
To just get started! And the easiest way to do that is probably to join a network or community of like-minded people, who can help guide you. I would recommend looking at as many different investment opportunities as you can, to get a feel for what the market looks like and how it all compares, and then co-invest in a fund or deal with others. Mentors and peers were essential at every stage of my journey.
What are your thoughts on philanthropy, as an impact investor?
From a systems change perspective, we really need both impact investment and philanthropic capital to be used in an integrated way. If we only consider the ‘tool’ of impact investment, it is like walking around with a hammer and running the risk of only seeing nails! Philanthropy can be a powerful tool, just like impact investments can be, and I believe it's important to consider which ones are best suited, in which sequence, for the issue that you are trying to solve.
If you could design a curriculum for young children, what would you try to instil in them?
I would create a curriculum based on the wisdom of nature, one that helps young people appreciate how beautiful nature is, how interconnected and dynamic natural systems are, and how to incorporate those wisdoms in everyday life. Also, I’d like to see a curriculum that incorporates mindfulness practices, as these have been so valuable to me personally.
In your opinion, will impact investing be the new normal in the future? Is it already for your generation?
I definitely wish we wouldn’t have to call it 'impact investing' anymore, and that it would be a given that we would invest for positive social and environmental impact. But I think we can go even further and hope for all investing to bring about holistic impact - creating all-around positive impacts of entire systems, rather than singular impacts of enterprises.
How can we start imagining the new economy and hopefully implement this big system change?
I dream of a new economy that is regenerative. This means applying the wisdom of nature to create an economy that allows for self-organisation and self-renewal. It is an economy created from a more conscience place, with a more holistic view of wealth, i.e. wealth is not just money in the bank, but the well-being of the whole. In the end, the economy is a human-made system, made up of each and every one of us, which means we shape it with our everyday behaviour. We can see that change is already happening, and each and every one of us can play a role in accelerating this change.
What can we expect at the upcoming Impact Days? And what part are you most excited about?
The PYM Impact Days have always been one of my favourite impact events of the year, which is why I got involved. This year, you can expect to be inspired by some great thought leaders on economic change, such as Kate Raworth and Otto Scharmer. And there will be opportunities to learn real-life applications of their ideas in the breakout sessions. Our goal is to always combine inspiration with action. So I am probably most excited about the magic that will inevitably happen when these incredible thought leaders and the broader PYM community get together in one room, fully inspired to create and prompted to act.
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