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Innovating for Social Equity: How Private Market Investors Affect Change

From a global pandemic, economic devastation, and social unrest sparked by systemic racism, the past six months have laid bare the deep disparities that persist in our country. These multilayered crises have not only moved segments of American society from complacency to action, but have also raised questions about the progress that the social sector has and has not made toward a more just society.

With billions spent by the public, private, and philanthropic sectors, why do profound disparities persist?

The new “Innovating for Social Equity” speaker series, hosted by the Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, will examine efforts across the philanthropic and private sectors to tackle these seemingly intractable barriers to a society and economy that work for all. Through interactive conversations with leaders across sectors, the series will dig into what it will take to do more to achieve meaningful change.

Session 2: How Private Market Investors Affect Change

Cohosted with the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, the second session in the series will examine how private market investors and entrepreneurs identify and utilize innovative strategies as a means for achieving social equity.

What tools do investors have to affect change? Does the seduction of market return reduce the power of impact investing? What will it take to increase investment in Black, Latinx, and women founders? Why do diverse managers hold such a small proportion of investment capital? What steps are required to build a capital system expansive enough to include all Americans? What innovations hold promise for greater impact, access, and opportunity?

Moderator:

  • Priya Parrish, ’09, Impact Investor in Residence, Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation; Managing Partner, Private Equity at Impact Engine

Panelists:

  • Mike Asem, Partner, M25
  • Robert Gertner, Joel F. Gemunder Professor of Strategy and Finance at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business; John Edwardson Faculty Director of the Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation
  • Brittany Henry, ’17, Investment Associate, Impact America Fund

About the Speakers:

Priya Parrish, ’09

Impact Investor in Residence, Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation; Managing Partner, Private Equity at Impact Engine

Priya Parrish is the managing partner of private equity at Impact Engine. Prior to joining Impact Engine, she served as chief investment officer at Schwartz Capital Group, a single-family office investing across global markets. Previously, Parrish was strategy head at Aurora Investment Management, a multi-billion-dollar hedge fund, and managed product development of investment products that incorporated environmental, social, and governance factors (ESG) at Northern Trust Asset Management and KLD Research & Analytics. Parrish currently serves as adjunct assistant professor of strategy and impact investor in residence at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from Babson College and a MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

Mike Asem

Partner, M25

Mike Asem has participated in nearly 100 investments in early-stage companies across the Midwest as a partner at M25. Outside of his responsibilities at M25, Asem is a Kauffman Fellow and a board member at BLCK VC, leading initiatives in the Midwest to connect, engage, empower, and advance Black venture investors. Prior to M25, he founded The Anvil, a co-working space and startup incubator on Purdue University’s campus, where he helped launch the first Purdue startup to be accepted to Y Combinator.

Robert Gertner

Joel F. Gemunder Professor of Strategy and Finance at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business; John Edwardson Faculty Director of the Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation

Robert Gertner has been on the Chicago Booth faculty since 1986. His research interests include strategic decision-making, corporate finance, organization structure, theory of the firm, and social enterprises. He has published papers in numerous scholarly journals including the Quarterly Journal of Economics, Review of Economic Studies, and the Yale Law Journal. He is co-author, with colleagues Douglas Baird and Randy Picker, of Game Theory and the Law. Gertner teaches courses in strategic decision-making, social entrepreneurship, and impact investing. He is a trustee of the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, a national organization devoted to large-scale social research in public interest

Brittany Henry, ’17

Investment Associate, Impact America Fund

Brittany Henry brings deep expertise in due diligence and organizational design to her work at Impact America Fund (IAF). She first joined the firm as a graduate fellow in 2017, helping to shape the overall strategic direction, and is now an Investment Associate with a particular interest in unlocking asset ownership for communities of color. Prior to joining IAF, Henry worked as a management consultant in the strategy practice at KPMG, focusing on mergers and acquisitions for large corporate clients, and on financial process improvement for clients at Accenture. She received her BS in Business Administration from Hampton University and her MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

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