Director at Just World Investments Pty Ltd.
What was your first job?
My first job was when I was sixteen. It was the school holidays and I got a job at what was then the Grace Brothers department store in Chatswood. I was selling imperial leather soap. I had a horrible boss! She was mean, but I lasted for all of the school holidays.
When did you first discover the concept of Impact Investing?
I first came across impact investing around 2016. Our family office had sold a property so had capital to deploy and we made the decision that we’d take a different journey to our usual property investment business.
What is your vision or what do you wish for?
Solving the climate crisis is number one: it’s going to swallow us up. Compared to that, everything else — while also important — kind of seems secondary. However, social justice and human rights across the planet are also important issues to me. All the different work I do is linked to those issues of climate change, social justice and human rights. My family office is centred on impact investing. At Rotary I’m trying to get the climate crisis message to as many people as possible and get the Rotary world to respond in whatever way it can. I’m on the board of an organisation [New Israel Fund] that is trying to bring peace and human rights to Israel and Palestine. I run my family foundation [Matana Foundation for Young People] where I’m trying to help the least advantaged young people in our communities. I’m also a member of Mannifera, which is a funding collective for strengthening Australian democracy. And I’m a grandma, trying to save the world for my grandchildren.
What’s one exciting initiative or development you and your team have in the pipeline?
There isn’t one particular initiative, but when I say that, climate change is number one. It’s our family office’s work in impact investing where we can have an impact on a global, rather than local, scale. It is the impact investing world where change is taking place on a big scale, so our involvement in that is paramount. While we’re not a very big family office, we’re trying to make the most of what we have and it’s very satisfying to look at people that are much bigger that are doing the work.
Is there anything that annoys you?
Many years ago, we were interviewing students at Rotary to go on exchange. I was on the panel interviewing lots of these kids, who were all around 18 years old, and one of the questions was ‘what do you feel is the biggest problem on the planet?’. The answers were things like ‘poverty’ or ‘climate change’ or ‘peace’. But this one young man said ‘apathy’ and it really stood out. I believe apathy covers what annoys me the most; people withdrawing from engagement with their society and with the issues around them.
My friends tell me that I should slow down. But I tell them I should speed up because I have less time left than I had ten years ago and I’ve got lots to do.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to do this work?
I heard a quote recently about a dire situation, which said “despair is not a strategy”. That resonated with me. If one were to be despairing, the alternative would be apathy.
Impact investing is the obvious strategy — it addresses almost everything that is wrong with our societies and our ways of doing things and how they’ve evolved. It is a strategy for change and bringing values and compassion to our business.