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Cameron School of Business Hosts Impact Investing Conference

Cameron School of Business collaborated with Southern Impact Investing Alliance, Texas Impact Alliance and Nanogagliato to host the inaugural Impact Investing Conference at the University of St. Thomas on May 24.

The rapidly growing industry of impact investing is happening all over the world, and is powered by investors determined to generate social and environmental impact according to the Global Impact Investing Network.

Generating Positive Impact  

“Impact investing has emerged as a fast-growing trend with the potential to change the world,” said Beena George, dean of the Cameron School of Business and chief innovation officer of the University of St. Thomas. “This conference brings the community to come together to discuss how we can generate positive impact through investments in ventures that advance the common good. Our strong focus on ethics and innovation make University of St. Thomas the natural location for this discussion,”

"We have partnered with leadership from the Southern Impact Investing Alliance, the Texas Impact Alliance, and Nanogagliato to bring dynamic guest speakers who share unique and meaningful ideas and will inspire the community to action."

Keynote Speaker Tess Mateo

The opening keynote for the conference was Tess Mateo, senior advisor to AQAL Capital, special advisor on Gender and Environment to the United Nations and managing director and founder of CXCatalysts.

With more than 20 years of restructuring, turnaround and start-up experience advising leaders of Fortune 500 companies, Mateo drives operational excellence, innovation and systems thinking to deliver desired outcomes.

“I’m excited to be in a room full of influencers for the next generation of leaders,” Mateo said as she welcomed the audience. “I feel that it’s my duty to come back here and introduce all of these ideas to UST. I manage companies on what we need to do for a sustainable future, and something that a Harvard dean said to me is that the challenge of sustainability is that we haven’t captured the hearts and minds of people. We have given them the business cases and regulations but we haven’t really done anything beyond that. I hope to inspire you to see how you can take it forward to your own businesses and campuses.”

Asked to share her economic development experience in developing countries with her hometown Detroit, Mateo is creating a new “circular economy” collaborations to develop new industry sectors and jobs.

Dynamic Panels

The conference broke out into panel sessions:

  • Session 1-Same Problem, Different Solutions: What is Social Entrepreneurship?
  • Session 2-How Do We Define and Measure Impact?
  • Session 3-How to Accelerate Impact with Investments?

The panelists included:

Shiroy Aspandiar, co-founder of One Jump

Danny Corprew, chief executive office of Scriptly Rx

Paola Del Zotto Ferrari, president and founder of Accademia di Gagliato and NANASHAPES LLC.

Amanda Hsieh, chief operations officer at Global Affairs Associates

Victoria Fernandez, chief market strategist at Crossmark

Dr. Bob Bridge, chief executive officer at SWAN-Southwest Angel Network

Dr. Jamila Yamani, principal at Climate Impact Captial

Grace Rodriguez, chief executive officer/executive director at Impact Hub Houston

Youngro Lee, chief executive Officer/Co-founder at NextSeed

Kyle Lukianuk, president at Good Returns

Keynote Speaker Christopher L. Knapp

The closing keynote of the Impact Investing conference was Christopher L. Knapp, chief executive officer of Collaboration Capital. Knapp served most recently as chief executive officer of Chilton Capital Management, of which he was co-founder in 1996. 

By Brittani Wright