Jackie VanderBrug is a leader in the emerging global field of gender lens investing, and is a founder of the Women Effect Investments Initiative. She will be speaking on the Gender Lens Opportunity.
TEDxSandHillRdWomen kicks off this year with the theme “Women Rising.” How do you relate to this theme in terms of where women are today?
Women are a global economic force – as consumers, employees, entrepreneurs and investors. The numbers and the trends continue to be confirmed by research and experience. Women are also key assets in combating poverty, building their communities and creating new pathways to a more just and sustainable world. Investing in women’s education, economic welfare, health and overall well-being produces powerful results that benefit families, communities and entire societies. When women become economic agents and leaders two things happen – social change accelerates and returns multiply. This is the Women Effect. As women and men understand the power of a gender lens in investing we can create a world that works for all of us.
What is one story that you will be touching on, that speaks to this vision?
Cindy Patnos, of Illuminate Ventures, saw the opportunity to remove gender as a barrier to high growth, technology investing. By deliberately throwing out the welcome mat to women entrepreneurs, by developing a network, by focusing her pipeline, she developed a successful venture fund with 40% of her portfolio including a woman founder – almost unheard of in her space. And she’s performing in the top quartile of her peers.
What would you most like attendees to know about you today?
I believe a gender lens, when taken seriously, connects to all investments and creates greater opportunity. I’ve had the remarkable gift of a bird’s eye view on the development of this field of practice – applying a gender lens in investing. It is still nascent, meaning there are lots of opportunities. This field will be built by the collective intelligence and collaboration of those who find the lever of finance compelling. I’m one of them, and am joined by a fabulous, global and growing group.
How can people best reach you to continue this conversation?
Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions!