Profile: GG

Some of our members are happy to share their stories, but would rather stay a bit anonymous. That is the case with the woman that we are profiling this month.

GG didn’t learn about investing or the complexities of dealing with money until after she finished college. Raised as a first generation American and refugee to the US, GG remembers that money was never abundant during her childhood. “Yet,” she explains, “I never felt poor. The messaging from my family was about saving, stretching a dollar, generosity, and giving. If I found a quarter on the sidewalk my mom would have me leave it so that the person who dropped it could find it.”

The lack of a financial safety net growing up informed a lot of decisions GG made as an adult and determined the path her life would take. When she found herself in a more stable financial position in her adult life, GG became motivated to learn about impact investing. She came across Janine Firpo’s book, “Activate Your Money: Invest to Grow Your Wealth and Build a Better World“, when researching how to ethically invest her money and was “blown away.” GG joined an IFB circle shortly thereafter and has become a valuable member of the IFB community.



Joining an IFB circle was an integral step in her values-aligned investment journey. GG bonded quickly with her group, remembering that they were very welcoming. “I learned so much from these women. We were able to be vulnerable in talking about our dreams, our goals, our opportunity areas, and our fears.”

During the COVID pandemic, GG sent her annual email to her friends and family asking about how they invest and donate their money ethically. The responses she received showed that people were donating, but didn’t feel like they had a coherent strategy for their giving. This peaked GG’s interest in the worlds of philanthropy and values-aligned investing even more. She began sharing her research with friends, and eventually turned these findings into her own finance and social justice podcast.

GG credits her IFB circle with lasting “ripple effects” in her life. She is still in contact with her circle a year later, and is considering joining another circle next year because she believes she could get even more out of the program the second time. And, she is motivated to make her money grow in ways that align with her deeply held values. While GG describes her relationship with money as “ever-evolving,” she points to IFB as a critical tool in response to her interest and an anchor in her continued learning.

Profile: Jeanne Wolz

“I’m Jeanne Wolz, a life and business coach, a mom to an imaginative toddler, a former public-school teacher, and a recovering perfectionist. After a journey from working 17-hour work days to 10-hour work weeks and still feeling unaligned, I decided that it was time to stop listening to “the experts” on how to create a meaningful and nourishing work life and start listening to myself. I’m interested in how to decouple ourselves from capitalist definitions of self-worth and success, and what can happen when we rewrite our lives from a space of deep inner wisdom.”

Jeanne grew up around conversations about money. The strongest message she received as a woman in her family was to be “good with money,” which meant to save it. Though her uncle was a stock broker and even encouraged her to invest as a teenager, most of the discussions she overheard in her family about investing were between men. The conversations were also usually about how to make as much money as possible–and since that was never a big goal for her, the conversations never felt relevant. This led to feeling she didn’t belong in a room holding her own with people that were having deeper investment conversations. So, she shied away from the subject. Even after she was married, Jeanne did not feel that she knew how to exist in the investment world.



Then she had an “aha” moment when she realized that as a self-employed person, she needed to take responsibility for her own retirement. By this time, for Jeanne, investment was no longer about becoming rich, but rather about moving up her retirement to have greater control over her time. The only path forward that she could see though was to invest blindly in the stock market and that option was at odds with her values. Jeanne was at an impasse. That is when she found IFB, which she recognized as a way to dive deep into values-aligned investing in partnership with other women. Through IFB, she learned how to use investment also as a way to help create the world she wanted to see.

After completing her Core Circle experience, Jeanne leveraged IFB’s partnership with ValuesAdvisor to find a new financial advisor. She is kicking off that relationship now. She feels empowered. “If it weren’t for IFB, I would not have the confidence to have the money conversations that I am having now. I can hold my own in my discussions with my financial advisor, and that is huge! Even my partner notices the change. He watches me and says, “Wow, look at you!”

Profile: Suzanne Biegel

This profile is dedicated to honoring one of the most important women in our community – and, indeed, the ecosystem of values-aligned investing by and for women – Suzanne Biegel. Suzanne is an incredible leader, who gives life to Invest for Better’s tagline “women lead the way” in distinctively female ways. She’s brilliant and insightful. And she’s also extraordinarily generous. She excels at catalyzing new projects, organizations, and collaborations. And she exemplifies the meaning of grace.  Suzanne is bold, restless, and ambitious about driving change. And she takes the time to lift us up when we could use a boost. She is a trailblazer, mentor, advisor, and connector. She leads.

You might think that Suzanne’s diagnosis of Stage 4 terminal cancer in the summer of 2021 would mean she would sit back and enjoy the English countryside. But Suzanne has a vision for change and so “she persists” and continues to inspire us all to do more. Read on to learn more about the legacy that Suzanne has already created and her invitation to us all to do more.



A Critical Connector for Invest for Better

It’s fair to say that Invest for Better would not be here in its current form without Suzanne. Fresh on the heels of her decision to close the Women Effect pilot– which was envisioned as a connecting point and curated community around gender lens investing – Suzanne flew from London to Boston to join the summit that produced IFB. She served on the IFB Steering Committee in those formative years, always providing the BEST insights, and – doing what Suzanne does so skillfully – she connected Ellen and Janine to one another. She continues to serve as a resource and donor to IFB, most recently making an appearance in our Activation webinar on gender lens investing.

An Ecosystem Builder

Suzanne’s accomplishments in building and shaping the gender-smart ecosystem are legendary. She founded, co-founded and led numerous ventures such as Clearly Social Angels, Women Effect, and Gender Smart aimed at promoting more and better gender smart investing. She knew how to evolve these efforts for more impact – including transitioning Women Effect’s intellectual content to the Wharton Social Impact Initiative, which then produced four important Project Sage research studies quantifying and cataloging the size and growth of the gender lens investing field. More recently, she merged Gender Smart, a global field-building initiative dedicated to unlocking the deployment of impactful gender-smart capital at scale, with 2X Collaborative to become 2X Global. In addition to her own entrepreneurial efforts, Suzanne continues to serve as a valued Board member, advisor, investor, and collaborator to other field builders.



Profile: Krupali Patel

“My grandfather prepared free meals every day for thousands of people. My family was very good at giving,” Krupali Patel said as she reflected on her money story. Having grown up in Zambia, Krupali was aware of two starkly different worlds from an early age. Her father, who had started with nothing, became quite successful. So, the family never wanted for anything. At the same time, she saw children walking to school barefoot because their parents could not afford shoes. While she was blessed with an excellent education, Krupali knew that many of those children would never have the same opportunity. As a result, she grew up with a consciousness about how to spend money and with a commitment to serve.



That desire took Krupali to the United States where she attended college, then medical school and residency. Having witnessed people dying from easily treatable diseases, Krupali knew that she wanted to work among the poor who suffer under deplorable health conditions and medical systems. She also knew – or thought she knew – that the way to financial freedom was to work hard, save your money in a bank, and spend it wisely. That was the case until she participated in the Financial Courage course that is a collaboration of Invest for Better and the Women’s Money Lab.

In her words, the course was a “godsend.” She always wanted to make a difference in the world through good works, but had no idea that it was possible to do so with her money. Before joining Invest for Better, Krupali had never talked about money. She hadn’t thought about where she kept it or that there were ways to invest it for positive change. “Through the courses I have taken at Invest for Better, I realized this was a possibility. I realized I can do this. And, I realized that I am not alone. A lot of women are doing this.” In addition to the Financial Courage course, Krupali also participated in two Deep Dives. “This experience gave me so much hope and made me feel so much more confident. I can’t believe it has been less than a year since I started. I have grown so much!”

If you would like to share a story about your money, your work, or your leadership with the Invest for Better community, please let us know

Profile: Jenny Everett

A self-described “recovering non-profit executive who now advises other non-profits and social impact organizations,” Jenny Everett has had a fascinating career. Like many, her path was anything but straight. Jenny’s ambitions kicked off in high school when she spent time in the Dominican Republic building latrines, then migrated through several years of living and working in Latin America. At the turn of the millennium, Jenny returned to the United States where she became involved in the newly emerging industry. Before long, however, she realized that she needed work that made more of a difference. This brought Jenny into the world of philanthropy and, ultimately, to recognize the power of combining doing well financially with doing good for the world.



To realize her dream of a job at the intersection of money and values, Jenny returned to school and got her MBA. Upon graduating, she joined the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE), a global network of organizations that catalyze entrepreneurship in developing countries. Jenny was there almost 12 years, serving as Managing Director the majority of that time. Along the way, she sat on the boards of numerous social enterprises.

Even with all of this background and day-to-day immersion in the world of impact investing, Jenny did not apply what she was learning to her own money. She started thinking about it in 2009 when she joined ANDE, but she was not doing anything.

About two years ago, after leaving ANDE, Jenny stumbled upon Activate Your Money and Invest for Better. Joining her first Circle was such a great experience, that Jenny decided to partner with another woman and lead a Circle. Now she is so passionate about helping other women take control of their money and move it into things they care about that she is about to lead her second Circle. We love to hear stories like this, and are so delighted to have Jenny as part of our community!

If you would like to share a story about your money, your work, or your leadership with the Invest for Better community, please let us know

Profile: Ashima Aggarwal

According to Fidelity’s 2021 Women and Investing Study, the number of women who are investing outside of retirement jumped from 44% to 67% between 2018 and 2022. What happened? In part, the answer is the pandemic, which left women with more time to think about their money and the implications of not taking action. One of those women is Ashima Aggarwal, an IFB member and Circle Leader.



Although Ashima claims that she grew up with parents who had a pretty typical approach to money, we believe it was anything but that. Her father was so interested in financial matters, that he said he would be a financial advisor if he could do another job. So, it is not surprising that Ashima turned her portfolio over to her dad and let him manage it – on and off – for decades. After all, she was busy attending law school, growing into her current role as the Associate General Counsel and Vice President of Legal for John Wiley & Sons, and raising a family. When did she have time to focus on making investment decisions?

During COVID, Ashima began thinking about her child, intergenerational wealth, and money. As she started doing research, Ashima decided it was time to take control of her assets. Around that time, she attended a webinar where Janine spoke about her book, Activate Your Money, and about Invest for Better. Both felt so accessible and meaningful that Ashima wanted to share them with others. So, she decided to lead an IFB Circle. Ashima brought 19 women in, all of whom were very excited and enthusiastic. As they worked through the curriculum together, Ashima began to realize that there is such a thing as having a relationship with your money. That awareness had a profound impact on her. As she said, “Discovering Janine’s book and working through the Invest for Better curriculum and Activate Your Money are among my greatest joys and proudest accomplishments of 2022.”

If you would like to share a story about your money, your work, or your leadership with the Invest for Better community, please let us know

Profile: Silvia Mah

Remember that statistic about only 1.9% of all venture capital in 2022 went to female founders? Well, one of the women that is working hard to change that statistic is Silvia Mah, an IFB Pathfinder, Founder & Chairwoman of Stella, CEO of She Invests!, and Adjunct Professor at Biola University. You do not have to look far to realize that this woman is a powerhouse! And, she is 150% committed to investing in, and supporting, amazing female CEOs – and to helping other women become angel investors themselves.


Through Stella, Silvia leads Stella Labs, an accelerator and community for female founders, and Stella Angels, an angel network for female funders with a VC fund – Stella Impact Capital. In addition, her organization runs and oversees an annual nationwide Women’s Fast Pitch competition that culminates in the Women’s Venture Summit, an in-person conference that takes place each Fall in San Diego. Stella is a community of over 5,000 people who are committed to empowering female founders, and She Invests! is a podcast that highlights the growing number of female angels.

If you have ever thought about becoming an angel investor, participating in some of the amazing events that Silvia hosts is a great place to start. Listen to her podcasts, watch some pitch events, take some courses, join a cohort, or attend the summit.

Oh, and by the way, that PhD behind her name comes from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography where she received her doctorate in, of all things, Marine Biology! If you ever connect with Silvia, you might want to ask her how she went from being a denizen of the deep to a start-up maven.

If you would like to share a story about your money, your work, or your leadership with the Invest for Better community, please let us know

Profile: Vanessa Lowe

An IFB Circle Leader, Vanessa Lowe retired at age 56 by using lessons she learned about money and life from her parents. They met at Livingstone College, an HBCU, in the early 1960s, then left their southern roots, heading to New York City as part of the Great Migration. There, they built lives around three daughters, public service careers, and their faith community.

Vanessa’s appreciation for money came from allowances and talks with her parents about credit cards, interest rates, and investing. She recalls the pride of getting her first savings passbook before she could see over the teller counter. Basic wealth-building principles, like the power of small but regular saving and living within her means, were embedded early.



She followed her parents in building a career in the service sector, first spending 10 years in Philadelphia’s legal service agencies, then 21 years in federal service. After graduating with an MBA from the Wharton School, Vanessa vowed to pay off her $75,000 in student loan debt in 10 years. Making good use of 0% interest credit card transfers and moving from nonprofit wages to federal service salary and benefits were key factors in achieving that goal. Her mother’s continued counsel and guidance also helped.

Throughout her federal career, Vanessa worked in community development finance. She was – and remains – passionate about the need within underserved communities for equal and affordable access to capital.

Now retired, Vanessa pursues passion projects similar to her career focus. She serves on the boards of her denomination’s endowment and a local women’s foundation, helping each to move toward 100% mission alignment, particularly centered on racial justice. Since George Floyd’s murder, she’s revamped an old investing class, sharing examples of strategies and investment vehicles to answer the question so many people have asked – “What can I do to address systemic racism and the racial wealth gap?” A recent episode of a radio show she launched in 2018, focused on Reparations, particularly as a tool for faith institutions. You can stream episodes of her podcast at Vanessa’s Money Hour.

One of the strategies she covers in her class is joining learning communities like Invest for Better. Vanessa believes she found us at just the right time when access to her retirement funds allowed her to make her first private impact investment through Portfolia. “I loved that Invest for Better was a learning circle for women. I loved being a participant in my first circle, but really loved when I was able to create and co-lead a circle dedicated to Black women. The sharing went to a much deeper level because of the similar perspectives and experiences we had around money and wealth.”

We applaud Vanessa for her commitment to capital access, racial justice, and the movement to put women’s money to work for a better world.

If you would like to share a story about your money, your work, or your leadership with the Invest for Better community, please let us know. We would be happy to consider it for a future edition of the newsletter.

Profile: Patricia Lizarraga

The members of our community continue to amaze us as they lead and innovate across the values-aligned finance industry, which includes bringing new investment products to market. Patricia Lizarraga, an IFB Circle leader and Founder and Managing Partner of Hypatia Capital, is an example.

Patricia believes there should be more women at the helm of America’s largest corporations and in the investment management industry. Her firm strives to make this a reality by focusing on investing in women in leadership. Hypatia has already created a suite of indices to measure female performance in various asset classes. We recently heard that Patricia and her team are now planning to launch the Hypatia Women CEO ETF (HWCEO), which will invest exclusively in companies that are led by female CEOs or that have female Board chairs. The fund is expected to launch in early January 2023.




Patricia brings more than 25 years of merchant banking experience to her current efforts. She is a serial entrepreneur having founded several successful companies, including Grupo del Ande, and was a founding and former Investment Committee member of Sigma SAFI, an asset manager with over $600 million AUM in Peru. Prior to founding Hypatia Capital, Patricia was the Managing Director of Credit Agricole Securities’ New York mergers and acquisitions group. She started her merchant banking career at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette after completing her education at Yale and Harvard Business School.

As the Hypatia website states, “We will not be satisfied until women are as well represented in the CEO suite as they are in the workforce overall.” That sounds like a great goal to us. Please join us in congratulating Patricia and her team as they launch this new financial product. We wish them great success.

If you would like to share a story about your money, your work, or your leadership with the Invest for Better community, please let us know

Profile: Jensyn Hallett

“My grandmother passed away on Friday. When I reflect on her life, I think of a strong woman, one of the many strong women who made me the person I am today. I grew up in a rural community in Arkansas, where the woman’s place was in the home, and where the man was the breadwinner, the head of the household, controlling most, if not all, financial decisions for the family. I absorbed those norms and beliefs as a little girl,” claimed Jensyn Hallett, one of the remarkable women in the Invest for Better community. She was explaining why she established the Southern Capital Project a few years ago.

The lessons from her upbringing influenced Jensyn’s relationship with money. As she grew from that little girl into the powerhouse she is today, Jensyn committed to help women transform their stories about money. When she realized that her home state fostered inequities in the economy that negatively impacts the women who live there, she knew it was time to do something.




The Southern Capital Project was established to ensure women in the South have equitable opportunities to build wealth. The group’s first initiative focuses on business as a pathway to prosperity and access to capital. The Project partners with women entrepreneurs to provide crucial dollars when they need it most. Jensyn and her Board, made up of 9 badass women, have also built a network of entrepreneurial support organizations (ESOs) and financial institutions within the state and region that provides these entrepreneurs with unparalleled local knowledge and expertise.

“If more women receive the funds they need to grow or to stay in business, we were successful– even better if we can prove that this model works to stimulate economic growth by increasing incomes and the number of jobs in rural communities. The need for flexible, low-cost capital is clear, and intentional design to remove barriers for women business owners is essential,” concluded Jensyn.

Jensyn Hallett is a passionate financial activist and impact investor, who wears a lot of hats. Not only is she the Executive Director of the Southern Capital Project, Jensyn is also the Founder & CEO of Alivest, the Director of Impact Capital at Heifer International, and a Professor at the University of Arkansas. With all of that, she still finds time to be an Invest for Better Leader in Arkansas and we are so glad that she does!

If you would like to share a story about your money, your work, or your leadership with the Invest for Better community, please let us know.