Ever since I heard the term impact investing at the 2011 Social Finance Forum in Toronto, I felt a connection to the phrase. Impact investing resonated with my notion of what finance should be – growing wealth while generating social and environmental value.
Last month I spoke with Bonnie Foley-Wong, president of Pique Ventures. Based out of beautiful Vancouver, Bonnie connects angel investors to social ventures with the intention of creating long lasting relationships. A motto of hers is:
“We believe in meeting people before you need to meet them”
This statement can be applied to all aspects of interacting with people. So often, particularly in business, we are taught to go into a conversation with an intended outcome – perhaps it’s a business card or an opportunity to self-promote. Whatever the motive may be, it doesn’t come from a place of organic listening and genuine curiousity. Pique Ventures facilitates these more people-centered relationships through hand picking a select number of investors and entrepreneurs to meet in an intimate setting.
I found an element of Foley-Wong’s philosophy particularly intriguing: people’s investment decisions are determined through analysis, intuition, emotion, and body. This holistic approach draws from the way we make every day decisions like grocery shopping. We don’t purchase just by analysis but also through how we feel, our own bodies and that indescribable gut feeling. As much as we try to draw clean lines between finance and the real world, just as we’ve done with much of business, government and non-profit sectors, the reality is much messier. Humans and our decision-making are far more complex. I think Foley-Wong’s investment philosophy boldly incorporates this.
Certainly the pioneers of Canadian impact investing like Bonnie are carving out imaginative new ways of thinking about finance. As a business graduate and global citizen, I believe it’s important to follow, engage and provoke these leaders if we sincerely want to see true financial transformation in the way our world invests its wealth.