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Leveraging Finance to Build a Just and Resilient Economy

As part of this new series, we have the Fellows share their own voices on how the program has impacted their work. Check out this post from Chantal Esperance Atinya, who is a grad student in Kenya studying about resource management and working in Environment Health and Safety. Chantal is an amazing addition to our global cohort of future impact leaders. Connect with her on LinkedIn

As part of the Impact Investing Fellowship, our Fellows get access to training programs and knowledge sessions. The BLAISE Learning Week is provided by the Croatan Institute and brings an exciting opportunity to hear from captivating speakers and learn about Climate Justice, Racial Equity Investing, and Impact Investing as part of their multi-day workshop. BLAISE  aims to diversify the sustainable and impact investing industries by increasing the participation of undergraduate students identifying as Black, Indigenous, and other people of color (BIPOC). We encourage rising juniors and seniors with an interest in social impact and finance to apply for a paid internship opportunity.
REEFS stands for Racial Equity, Economics, Finance, and Sustainability
BLAISE stands for BIPOC Leaders Advancing an Inclusive and Sustainable Economy

Learn more here –

BLAISE Learning Week Key Learnings
by Chantal Esperance

As part of the Impact Investing Fellowship I was accepted into. The  New England Impact Investing Initiative and oikos International have curated and negotiated and provided access to various learning opportunities like BLAISE. 

My experience in the BLAISE Learning Week program has been nothing short of enlightening and enriching. The sessions led by industry experts such as Jaylen Spann, Nakia Maddox, and Marcela Pinilla broadened my perspective on the intricacies of the financial landscape. Understanding how affirmative action influences companies through shareholder advocacy, as discussed by Jaylen Spann from Whistle Stop Capital, highlighted the importance of corporations being intentional in defining diversity. Nakia Maddox’s insights into ESG investment management at Trillium Asset Management underscored the significance of aligning impact with investment goals across different asset classes.

One of the key takeaways from the program has been the importance of diversity and inclusion in finance. Sessions like “BIPOC Professionals Making Impact” highlighted the contributions of individuals from diverse backgrounds to the finance industry and underscored the need for greater representation and equity. Learning about initiatives aimed at opening up opportunities for BIPOC and underserved students has inspired me to explore ways to contribute to creating a more inclusive environment within the finance sector.

In the session on stakeholders in the impact investing ecosystem, Ellen Chiu from Westfuller and Keith Beverly from Re-Envision Wealth showcased the macro trends in sustainable investments and the construction of portfolios. Their experiences in leading DEI efforts and focusing on diversity and racial equity in portfolio construction provided valuable insights. Opening up opportunities for BIPOC and underserved students, as discussed by Sharlene Brown, Aaron Yeo, Leidy Henriquez, and Stephen Snider, highlighted the importance of mentorship programs and creating a diverse workforce. 

The Introduction to Climate Justice session underscored the urgent need for ecological solutions to climate change. The discussions on direct emissions, homelessness, and the ecological process emphasized the importance of a holistic approach to tackling climate issues. 

Looking ahead, my goals in the program include deepening my understanding of impact investing strategies, exploring avenues for promoting diversity and inclusion in finance and identifying opportunities to drive positive social and environmental change through my work. I’m excited to continue learning and growing in this dynamic field, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to be part of the BLAISE Learning Week program.

Overall, the program has provided me with a platform to connect with industry experts, engage in meaningful discussions, and gain valuable insights that will shape my future endeavors in the climate finance sector. I look forward to applying the knowledge and skills acquired during the program to make a meaningful impact in the finance industry and beyond.


For More Resources
Feel free to check out the recordings and resources made available during the BLAISE learning week. To learn more about the program check out this Google Drive that has the materials by day. – Learning Week 2024. Please contact Stephen Snider if you would like to get involved in this program or with the Fellowship – 

Passionate about climate change research, adaptation, and mitigation, Chantal Esperance holds a Bachelor’s degree in Environment and Natural Resource Management from Africa Nazarene University and is pursuing a Master of Science in Climate Change Adaptation. Currently serving in the space of Environment, Health, and Safety (EHS),  she brings expertise in environmental management and sustainability practices to the telecommunications sector. She holds certifications from NEBOSH IGC and ESG by CFI, with accolades including Vodacom’s Best Contributor on Environmental Health and Safety at the Africa Suppliers Forum. Additionally, she is certified for EIA/ ESIA by the Environmental Institute of Kenya (EIK) and a member of the Institute of Industrial Accident Investigators (IIAI). She is currently participating in the New England Impact Investing Initiative (NEIII) fellowship and the Oxford Climate Society, delving deeper into impact investing and climate research. Committed to driving meaningful change, Chantal is dedicated to a sustainable future for our planet