On April 8 Women Effect hosted a gathering of investors and allies at the Michael Stars boutique in Los Angeles. It was inspiring to meet so many people excited about gender lens investing, in LA.
Among the speakers were our generous host for the evening, Suzanne Lerner, President and Co-Founder of Michael Stars. The Michael Stars team is 80% female and actively pursues gender equality in its policies and practices, Michael Stars also carry artisan goods from enterprises creating sustainable livelihoods for women from Haiti to Africa and beyond. Suzanne Lerner’s role as a leader in women’s philanthropy and social change is extraordinary, including in working with men and boys in the work to address gender based violence, and she shared her commitment to investing with a gender lens.
Suzanne Biegel, Women Effect Founder and Chief Catalyst, gave a Women Effect overview and shared a broad framework for gender lens investing, and connections between what’s playing out in Los Angeles and what’s happening in the Women Effect community around the world, across different asset classes, new fund vehicles, and more.
We also heard from Tracy Gray, founder of We Are Enough, who is launching something new in the investment realm focused on established women and minority-owned businesses in Los Angeles. Watch Tracy's TED talk to hear what compelled her to do this work - including the fact that only 3% of venture capital is deployed to women-owned businesses, and women represent only 6% of VC partners and staff.
Jane Swan, Wealth Manager at Veris Wealth Partners, spoke about their work with their clients to invest with a values-based framework. Veris are founding friends of Women Effect and authors of the must-read report Women, Wealth and Impact: Investing with a Gender Lens.
Another Founding Friend of Women Effect, Fran Seegull, CIO of Impact Assets and Adjunct Professor of Social Entrepreneurship & Impact Investing at USC, spoke about the potential for seeing impact investing and philanthropy through a single, holistic lens rather than as two siloed activities. Stay tuned for more about Women Effect and Impact Assets.
Finally, we heard from Founder of SheEO Vicki Saunders about their Radical Generosity initiative, and how it can be used to finance, support and celebrate women in a completely new way. Read about their model here and stay tuned for announcements about their next regional/city launches. Thanks also to Richard Ford for the photography on the night.