I enjoy the annual rite of reflection and planning that January brings. But wow, what a year it has been to look back on, and, as January unfolds in unprecedentedly volatile times, what a hard year it is for planning ahead. As a white, privileged woman with grown kids, whose work largely consists of sitting at a computer, I was spared any significant impact this last year. (In the big picture, does it really matter that my daughter had 12 guests instead of 240 at her wedding? No, and there’s a lot to recommend for it. ) Nonetheless, I am changed forever by what I learned about the deep inequities embedded in our society. I came away from this year with only a stronger conviction that it takes all sectors – governmental, philanthropic and market – to reshape our planet, economy and society. And despite all the challenges ahead, I believe that this will be a year of hope, healing and collaboration.
At Invest for Better it was a year of many silver linings. While the pandemic forced us to shift our Invest for Better Circle to an online format and Circle members missed the chance to be together in person, it also allowed the model to scale more quickly and widely. Volunteer leaders stepped up by the scores to launch Circles in our first global Cohort and recruited co-leaders and members from all over the country, and in Canada, the Caribbean and South Africa. The Circle model clearly met a felt need to be in community with other like-minded women and to problem solve together about how financial investments could make a dent on systemic issues such as racism and sexism. Circles were able to access awesome expert speakers who would not have been able to attend in-person meetings, drawing upon Invest for Better’s Speakers’ Bureau and their own personal networks. With the virtual model, Invest for Better was able to help Circle Leaders enroll members from our ever-growing list of inquiries, and to provide Cohort wide programming, such as “Ask the Expert” webinars on investment fundamentals and thematic investing.
The Cohort model also resonated with the 60+ leaders of 30+ Circles who met for monthly zoom calls, sharing tips, learning from one another and providing Invest for Better with valuable feedback on ways to strengthen and customize the model for a wide diversity of populations. I am humbled by their servant leadership, and by their willingness to volunteer their time and energy to bring more women to the table. We began to feel, collectively, that the movement was building.
So I dare to look forward with hope to 2021, for Invest for Better and for the world. The sustainable investing market continues to gain enormous traction, as evidenced by US SIF’s recent report and investors want to do more. At Invest for Better, we are launching a new Leader Cohort in April and invite all of you who care about using the markets for social good to join us. Be a champion and join our movement of like-minded leaders.