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How Can Students and Early-Career Professionals Learn More About Impact?

As part of this series from the Impact Investing Fellowship, the Fellows share their own voices as we discover what they have been learning. The Fellowship is a joint project with oikos International and NEIII. Check out this article from Lauriane who interviews Laurie Lane-Zucker one of the core partners of the Fellowship program. Connect with Lauriane on LinkedIn and learn more about Impact Entrepreneur on their website.

Interview with Laurie Lane-Zucker, Founder & President, Impact Entrepreneur by Lauriane Dietrichs

In April 2024, I met Laurie to discuss Impact Entrepreneur (IE), a 13-year-old community and platform that he created to build a new archetype of business turned toward impact. The group that started on LinkedIn in 2011 has grown into a 38,000 professional network of impact practitioners, scholars, and students. Laurie explains how he was surprised by its growth “We launched in 2011 a group on LinkedIn when it was still a new platform. It started with 50 people and nowadays we get between 75-100 requests a day and we only accept around 5% because we only want people who want to learn and share in the impact community.” 

To support the Impact Investing Fellowship, Laurie graciously offered NEIII Fellows a one-year access to Impact Entrepreneur’s premium membership. When asked how students and early-career professionals can benefit from IE, Laurie highlighted the multi-layer resources to learn about the sector “We have a library of 130 webinar archives with leading impact professionals, this is the best thinking in the space, it’s the best resource for students to understand emerging impact economies. We also encourage them to join our live program and engage in the conversation, it’s a rare and rich opportunity for students.“ IE is also soon launching a job posting section on the website which will be a great place for young professionals to find jobs, internships, and fellowship opportunities in the impact sector.

With quality articles released every week, IE provides qualified and new insights for readers who want to get more knowledge about the impact sector. Impact Entrepreneur also covers topics that are gaining interest within its audience: “Tech for social good and Artificial intelligence are highly requested topics, but we also see growing interest in blended finance in philanthropy, impact measurement, and attacks on ESG.” When asked about how he picks his speakers for his webinar, he confirmed it is important for him to get international speakers and have a geographic diversity with impact professionals from all around the world despite the magazine being based in the USA both for the contributors and also for the webinars. “Out of the current 30 IE correspondents, half of them are women and a third are people of color”. 

A great example of this is the event that the Fellows took part in on May 30th. NEIII organized a deep dive into an Impact Entrepreneur article. Fellows got the opportunity to exchange with Nathaly Botero and Heather Matranga from Village Capital about the fundraising journey of impact start-ups.  They explained the fundraising journey that young ventures and startups are on. The session explained why debt and equity are not the only two solutions for funding. Because not all impact ventures are going to be profit-first but rather focus on social and environmental good the industry needs to create a spectrum of capital to help startups develop. As part of the Fellowship, I and the others got the special opportunity to meet Nathaly and Heather privately to ask more questions. We learned more about Village Capital’s approach and the fundraising journey of impact start-ups.


Watch the recording here.

Laurie shared about the collaborative spirit with the other players in the impact media industry: “With other media like ImpactAlpha, Stanford Social Innovation Review, NextBillion, but this is a space that is trying to save the world and humanity from itself and transform the economy, and we’re all very much about the mission. The impact space needs as much good journalism as possible, and to achieve this, we need multiple quality media that are complementary. It’s more of a community than competitors and we all have our lenses, at IE we focus on entrepreneurship.” 


Overall, my experience engaging with Impact Entrepreneur’s content has been an amazing perk of the Impact Investing Fellowship. To close out the program I had the opportunity to attend IE’s in-person event in New York. When I interviewed him, Laurie expressed how excited he was to kickstart a new in-person event series. On May 22nd, NEIII fellows joined the first event in New York: “Financing Strategies for Impact Ventures”. The event started with a nice networking moment around refreshers that was followed by a lively interactive panel session. The audience was encouraged to ask many questions to the panelists Carol Caruso, Josh Cohen, and Peter Strugatz. This event resonated with what Laurie shared with me as his wish for IE in the future “Our goal is to keep building this global network, continue to be at the center of this discussion, create mechanisms for connections within the community, help students get better involved in the space, and share the best thinking and practices. Hopefully, we’ll be doing it many years in the future.”

This, for me, summarizes so well what I see as my responsibility for learning about impact investing. I’m really grateful for the chance to have interviewed Laurie who explained this point so well in why the IE mission is needed more than ever. I’m glad the Impact Investing Fellowship sees this mission and I was honored to be a Fellow of the 2024 spring cohort.

As Stephen Snider, the program coordinator of the Fellowship program says, “Many students and young professionals find it very difficult to break into the impact investing and sustainable finance space because the traditional paths do not provide enough opportunities.” This is why I joined the Fellowship, to help learn from practitioners like Laurie, to connect with others like at the IE event, and to learn about actors like Village Capital making change happen. If you want to get involved in this space I encourage you to check the Fellowship out. 

Lauriane Dietrichs | 2024 Impact Investing Fellow

Lauriane is a marketing specialist who thrives in building and advertising meaningful content for social and environmental purposes. With seven years of experience, Lauriane has supported many small organizations by growing both their online and offline communications strategies. She is truly passionate about sustainability. Lauriane has been advocating & volunteering for many nonprofits since 2018. In 2023, as an elected board member of oikos International, she supported the community, impact, and communications. She is outgoing and passionate about personal growth, learning new languages & cultures, traveling, and, above all, music. 

Note: As part of the Impact Investing Fellowship, our Fellows get access to training programs and knowledge sessions. We empower our participants to see the possibility of creating real-world impact with the financial system by learning about the forward-thinking organizations and programs that are spreading sustainable finance and impact investing. We work to transform education and empower future finance leaders and impact creators. 

Learn more here – 

The Fall 2024 Fellowship will be starting soon and you and your network can join for future events and workshops. The Fellowship provides a place to connect with the impact investing space and develop your knowledge and skills.