Role & Organisation:
Partner & Head of Impact, Bridges Australia
What was your first job?
In high school I worked in a supermarket and learnt good customer service skills (and the barcode for 1Ltr Rev milk which often failed to scan: 931220915185).
My first professional job out of university was as a computer programmer for a national retailer where I learnt about the power of supply chains (and that I didn’t want to be a computer programmer).
But my first job in impact was at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization working in participatory development where I learnt to put people at the centre of program design and start from there.
When did you know you wanted to work in finance/business?
When I worked out that doing good wasn’t solely the province of the not-for-profit sector and that we couldn’t tackle global social and environmental issues without the private sector.
When did you first discover the concept of Impact Investing?
I’d spent the best part of my working life in government and civil society advocating for more and better aid for developing countries while globally the donor dollar trended downwards (as it has continued to do). I was looking for alternate ways to fund these growing needs and came across the concept of impact investing as part of the studies I was undertaking at the time.
What’s one exciting development you and your team have in the pipeline?
We are setting up an impact advisory, offering a suite of services utilising the Bridges impact methodology to support clients throughout their impact management journey.
What was the most interesting impact deal (from any team across Asia/Pacific) in the past 12 months?
Hard to choose but I’m going to go with HireUp because it is a home-grown success (and also because as an IIA Growth Grantee, they are close to my heart). In seeking to solve a social issue, HireUp identified a market opportunity and built their business around it.
With impact embedded into their business model, when HireUp grows, its social impact is amplified. In August this year, HireUp secured $40m in funding from SEEK Investments, opening up boundless opportunities to deliver impact.
Name one high impact company (globally) that investors should keep their eye on?
Is this a free kick? Bridges Australia of course! We are an independent affiliate of London-based Bridges Fund Management, the most recognised name in Impact Investment globally and the creator of the Impact Management Project. We have a highly experienced team bringing Bridges investment products and impact advisory to the Australian market.
What’s your vision for impact investing in 5 years time?
Given the inroads already laid in Australia’s market, we could do a LOT in 5 years with the right political will and institutional leadership. My long term vision is for impact to be recognised as a value creator and driver, incorporated into all investment decisions.
We can’t get there without product – which is why we have established Bridges Australia. Of course we need an array of different products in the Australian market so I would like to see the Australian Government step up and create an enabling environment – it could start by setting up an impact investment wholesaler to catalyse the market.