Three Webinars on Diversity, Inclusion and Accountability

As part of its Building an Impact Economy webinar series, Impact Entrepreneur is hosting a series of three webinars on diversity, inclusion and accountability in impact investment, designed in partnership with and moderated by Dr. Gillian Marcelle, blended capital expert and founder of Resilience Capital Ventures LLC.

Impact investment is growing and maturing. Mission-centric advocates in impact investing suggest that it is critically important during the current stage of its evolution to have dialogue about the underlying intention of impact investment as a critique and alternative to mainstream investment. The principles, values and methods that will become entrenched are likely to be shaped by the participants and the relationships that are formed.

The webinar series will take place in three parts and will provide a platform for different actors drawn from various perspectives and parts of the impact investment community to engage in a dialogue around diversity, inclusion and accountability. The webinars will bring together actors drawn from US impact investment specialist firms, researchers exploring diversity and inclusion in impact investment, successful investors outside of the US whose investment philosophies include impact considerations, decision-makers in women-led or black and minority ethnic funds, as well as, advocates promoting these strategies.

The intention of this webinar series will be to share information about diversity and inclusion (DI) and accountability in impact investment and to interrogate the variety of meanings attached to those terms depending on where one is located within the world. In the USA and the United Kingdom, DI issues focus on participation rates of women and people of color in impact and investment, while in the global South, the diversity and inclusion issues that are more relevant relate to increasing capital deployment in parts of the world where impact investment has yet to gain traction. There are a growing number of networks and platforms of impact investors and partnerships between large institutional investment companies, specialist impact investors, large global corporations and international development organizations, including the United Nations, that aim to set guidelines for this new asset class and to define its characteristics. It is of concern that few of these guidelines address how the impact investment community will avoid the traps and pitfalls that have befallen the mainstream investment community, with respect to the lack of accountability, representation and diversity along many dimensions including race, gender and national origin. Decision-making and power are concentrated, and the archetypal global investor is still predominantly white, male and originating from Europe or the United States. Changing the narrative and behaviour in the impact investment community will require challenges to these archetypes and facilitating dialogue. It will require designing and deploying strategies as well as education, awareness-raising and mutual respect. This webinar series is a step in that direction.

By facilitating dialogue, we learn about each other and develop relationships that can form the foundation of actions in the United States and across the globe. If we are successful, these relationships can lead to tangible actions, such as more diverse investment committees, better informed investment decision-making, more relevant criteria used to define deep impact and a much more nuanced and granular understanding and articulation between impact investment and the sustainable development goals SDGs.

Programs in the Series

  1. Making Impact Investment Work For Women

  2. Tackling Racial Bias and Marginalization Through Impact Investment

  3. Impact Investment and Global Development

The Building an Impact Economy webinar series and its companion series, Luminarias, are co-sponsored by Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors as part of its Scaling Solutions Initiative.