Role & Organisation:
CFO/Chief Investment Officer at Small Giants.
I am also on a few Boards, including Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA, a membership organisation that champions responsible investing and a sustainable financial system) and Small Giants Academy (a not-for-profit dedicated to educating and activating conscious leaders for a hopeful future).
What was your first job?
My first job was selling hams at a family butcher shop at Christmas time. My job was to walk around the shopping centre with a tray of ham offering free samples. I learnt not to take myself too seriously, the value of relationships in business and the importance of building community.
When did you know you wanted to work in finance/business?
I grew up around retail businesses and I studied accounting and psychology at uni. I have always been fascinated by human behaviour and I love numbers. Over the years, I have developed a philosophy and way of holding the human and financial dimensions of business. I often come back to the need to have focus, accountability, boundaries and love in everything that I do.
When did you first discover the concept of Impact Investing?
Around 2015/2016 I was searching for something more meaningful where I could use my technical skills and make a difference. I was trying to find meaning in my work and came across B corporations and Impact Investment Group. I was impressed with the linking of investing and values. It blew my mind that I may be able to work with businesses that cared about people, the planetand profits.
I fell in love with the idea of business as a force for good. I applied for the role at Small Giants (without knowing Danny and Berry or anything about impact investing). Little did I know I was about to start a journey with the pioneers of impact investing in Australia.
What’s one exciting development you and your team have in the pipeline?
At Small Giants, we have spent more than a decade exploring the potential and the limits of impact investing. Over the last few years this has begun to intersect with the world of systems change and economic transformation. This resulted in our incubation of Regen Melbourne, a platform for ambitious collaboration in service of Melbourne. This work is now powered by an alliance of more than 145 organisations and is so exciting. We have also been working with Toniic on systems change investing and sharing global case-studies as a way of pioneering new language, methodologies and mindsets.
What was the most interesting impact deal (from any team across Asia/Pacific) in the past 12 months?
We see many impact deals and only invest in a very small number. Last year we had a focus on the circular economy and invested in Great Wrap and Better Packaging. We also invested in STUFF which supports young men’s mental health through the Man Cave. Inspiring founders and businesses having a positive impact on the world.
Name one high impact company (globally) that investors should keep their eye on?
Through the B corporation community we are connected to many very special people all around the world. I have been getting to know the team at Snowball UK, which was founded by James Perry, and have been deeply inspired by their vision and potential.
What’s your vision for impact investing in 5 years time?
Impact investing should be the lens for all investing and the flow of capital; a baseline that all can and should achieve. To get us there, we need to move hearts and minds through:
- Storytelling for systems change
- Rethinking governance so Boards put purpose and stakeholders at the centre when making decisions
- Buying from and investing in businesses that are B corporations
- Reinventing the way we teach finance and business with empathy to help people be conscious leaders