Fordham Impact Investing Conference - Morning Panelists
Ariel Fishman, Fordham University, Office of the Provost, Academic Program Planning
Ariel Fishman, Ph.D., is Assistant Vice President of Academic Programming at Fordham University, where his primary responsibilities involve the development of new academic curricula at Fordham as well as strategic planning and accreditation-related matters.
Prior to joining Fordham, Fishman worked at Yeshiva University overseeing the office of institutional research, where he also served as a member of the faculty at the Sy Syms School of Business, teaching coursework in strategy, applied business research, and management. His scholarly interests include areas as diverse as M&A in the pharmaceutical industry to examining the impact of fairness in the workplace. He earned a Ph.D. in strategy from Columbia University's Graduate School of Business and a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of Pennsylvania.
Outside of Fordham, Fishman serves on the Board of Trustees of the New York Blood Center, and is a regularly invited guest speaker on the area of blood donation as well as on disability. He delivered a TEDx talk on the subject of disability and innovation.
Peter Lupoff, Fordham University, Lupoff Family Office
Peter M. Lupoff is the managing member of Lupoff Friends and Family Interests, LLC, his vehicle for direct and managed investments and impact investing as well as other advisory, research, teaching, and writing activities. Lupoff is a Fordham University Fellow at the University’s Center for Research in Contemporary Finance. He is also an executive in residence at Fordham’s Gabelli School of Business for the 2018-2019 academic year. Lupoff is advisor to student-managed funds at Yale University and the Yale School of Management and a Fellow at the World Policy Institute, and continues to expand his work on markets, behavioral finance, impact investing, and market shock and dislocation. He is a member of the Impact Investing and Sustainable Finance Faculty Consortium, and is president of Clean Power for Humanity, a not-for-profit that works to bring green power to rural developing world communities, to expand education and commerce. Lupoff is also an active participant with the recidivism-focused nonprofit Defy Ventures.
Lupoff has worked for legendary investors. He counts both Marty Whitman of Third Avenue Funds (1990−1998, trader, partner, portfolio manager) and Izzy Englander of Millennium Management (2007−2009, portfolio manager, managing director) as mentors who shaped his investment perspectives. In 2009, Lupoff founded registered investment advisor Tiburon Capital Management, an event-driven fund manager, and was chief investment officer and co-portfolio manager of Tiburon from 2009 to 2017.
He is a regularly featured discussant on academic papers related to, and consultant to, the Federal Reserve Bank regarding market shocks and liquidity. Lupoff is an outside director of various unaffiliated investment entities and consults for impact funds and enterprises as well as traditional asset managers. He also provides expert litigation testimony on matters related to hedge funds, trading, and areas of his specific expertise.
Chris Bullard, Acumen, Senior Post Investment Associate
Chris Bullard leads post-investment and value creation strategy for Acumen’s portfolio of companies. In this role, he coordinates leadership, advisory, and technical support across Acumen’s global portfolio, while also engaging directly with companies to share insights that help them overcome common barriers to scale. Leveraging a global community and Acumen’s internal pool of knowledge, Chris works closely with Acumen’s regional teams and channel partners to add strategic value to Acumen’s portfolio and accelerate their path to scale.
Bullard began his career on the startup team at an energy services company in Los Angeles and grew the enterprise to over 100 employees by building the business’ capacity to provide energy efficiency and solar solutions. He also led his own venture focused on the recycling and financing of solar thermal systems in the California region and a nonprofit in Tanzania that provides education opportunities for disadvantaged youth. Subsequently, Bullard worked as an energy consultant for New York utilities and Fortune 500 companies, providing guidance on how to scale sustainability programs and strategies within larger organizations. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Southern California and an M.B.A. from Fordham’s Gabelli School of Business. In his free time, he is an avid musician, hiker, biker, and traveler.
Pearline Yum, The ImPact, Manager
Pearline Yum is a manager at The ImPact, a global membership organization that inspires and supports families to make more impact investments more effectively.
She leads The ImPact’s data-driven insights initiative, including managing more than $1 billion of member and partner investments on the ImPact@Addepar data platform, and a research project to analyze families’ impact investment interests and their satisfaction with impact investment products and services in the market. Yum also spearheads The ImPact’s strategic initiatives in Asia, curating and managing the ImPact member community for the region.
She was previously a financial regulator with the Monetary Authority of Singapore for five years, overseeing U.S. banks operating in Singapore. There, she specialized in private banking, custodial banking, and AML/CFT risk management and controls.
She holds a master’s degree in international affairs from Columbia University, with a focus on international finance and renewable energy, and a Bachelor of Arts in economics from the National University of Singapore.
Sharadiya Dasgupta, Managing Director, Good Capital Project
Sharadiya Dasgupta is managing director of the Good Capital Project. She has worked across asset management firms in institutional client businesses and in corporate banking. She aims to leverage her experience and learning of "mainstream" financial services in her current pursuit of enabling capital movement towards segments that need it the most. She has a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and statistics and an M.B.A. from the Indian School of Business, as well as an M.P.A. with a focus on economic policy from Columbia University. She lives in New York City.
David Stevens, Director of Strategy Development, World Policy Institute
David Stevens is the director of strategic development at the World Policy Institute (WPI), where his responsibilities include strategic planning and program development. He is also the founding director of the institute’s Program for African Thought—a program dedicated to raising the profile of African expertise in the global policy debate. An active Fellow at the institute, he regularly gives talks on African affairs and politics at institutions such as the Yale School of Management, Harvard Business School, the Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University, and SUNY Purchase.
Prior to joining WPI, Stevens was a doctoral candidate in Princeton University’s Department of Politics, where his research focused on the politics of Southern Africa, ex-combatant reintegration, and the diffusion of political ideas. While at Princeton he was a Ph.D. Affiliate at both the Innovations for Successful Societies Program and the Center for Arts and Cultural Policy Studies at the Woodrow Wilson School for Public and International Affairs.
Amy Wang, Investment Manager, PG Impact Investments
Amy Wang is a vice president at PG Impact Investments and leads the firm’s private debt practice, with an emphasis on financial inclusion and energy access. Prior to joining PG Impact Investments, she worked as an assistant vice president for Deutsche Bank's Global Social Finance group, where she led the group’s clean energy and South/Southeast Asian financial services social enterprise investing activities. Prior to Deutsche Bank, she worked at Grassroots Business Fund, Centinela Capital Partners, and Citigroup Corporate Investment Bank. She has worked across Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe, and Latin America. Wang holds an M.B.A. from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, a Master of Arts in international affairs from the Lauder Institute at the University of Pennsylvania, and a Bachelor of Science from Carnegie Mellon University.
Alice Catalano, SVP, Sarona Funds
Alice Catalano is responsible for growing relationships with clients and contributing to the firm’s overall business development. She joined Sarona in July 2018 and has over 20 years of private equity business development experience. She was previously managing director of fundraising and marketing for Prostar Capital, where she helped grow the startup private equity firm to over $500 million in assets under management. Prior to that, she was director of investor relations with NGP Energy Capital Management, where she led the investor relations and fundraising efforts of 10 funds and was actively involved in business development efforts, helping to grow the firm to over $13 billion in assets under management. Catalano has also been a leader in providing ILPA-compliant reporting and developed matrices to recognize ESG (environmental, social, and governance) awareness at both Prostar and NGP. She has a Bachelor of Science in finance from Northeastern University.
John Larkin, Head of Impact Investments, Avenue Capital Group
John Larkin is responsible for the overall direction of the Avenue Impact Team. He sits on the fund’s investment committee assisting in the strategic direction, sourcing of key relationships, and advising on investment opportunities. Previously, he was head of alternative investments—Americas at Deutsche Bank, where he managed the private asset platform which included private equity, hedge funds, and real estate investments. While at Deutsche Bank, he served as a board member to various investment funds with fiduciary oversight and as a speaker on the topic of climate change. Prior to joining Deutsche Bank, Larkin was head of private investments within Merrill Lynch and later co-head of third-party alternative investments at Citigroup. He currently serves on the board of Cogent Energy Systems and previously served as a board member of North American Biofuels Co. and as advisor to Amelio Solar. These firms focused on innovative technology in the cleantech sector, where he has been an avid personal investor and spokesman for the past 15 years.
Larkin is a retired Navy commander/pilot and earned a Bachelor of Science mechanical engineering from the New Jersey Institute of Technology in 1984. He currently serves on the institute’s Tuchman School of Management advisory board.
Esther Pan Sloane, Head of Partnerships, UNCDF
Esther Pan Sloane joined the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) as head of partnerships, policy, and communications in October 2016.
Prior to joining UNCDF, she was a U.S. diplomat for 10 years. As adviser at the Permanent Mission of the United States to the United Nations in New York, she was on the U.S. team that negotiated the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals. She also served on the executive boards of United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Office for Project Services, and the United Nations Population Fund, pushing the agencies to become more efficient, effective, and accountable for results.
She previously served as a U.S. diplomat in China and the United Kingdom, as well as at the State Department Operations Center in Washington.
Prior to joining the U.S. Foreign Service, she worked as a journalist in print, radio, and magazines. She graduated from Stanford University with a Bachelor of Arts with honors in English and international relations and earned a Master of Arts in theater and performance from the University of Cape Town, which she attended on a Fulbright Fellowship.
Jeffrey Gitterman, Co-Founder, Gitterman Wealth Management
Jeff Gitterman is a co-founding partner of Gitterman Wealth Management and a thought leader in the field of sustainable, impact, and ESG (environmental, social, and governance) investing. He is the creator of his firm’s SMART (Sustainability Metrics Applied to Risk Tolerance)® Investing Services, which offer investment opportunities for individual clients, as well as research and investing services for other financial professionals in the sustainable, ESG, and impact arenas.
Noted as an “ESG expert” by Financial Advisor magazine, Gitterman has also been featured in the past in Money magazine, Barron’s, Morningstar magazine, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, and Affluent Magazine, among many others. He also speaks frequently about sustainable, impact, and ESG investing at conferences throughout the United States and Canada, including Morningstar, Fidelity, Barron’s, FA Magazine, Bloomberg, and many others.
Gitterman Wealth Management has also served as the host of the 2018 Sustainable Investing Conference at the United Nations, as well as the 2016 and 2017 NYC Sustainable Investing Conferences. Gitterman deeply believes that the migration of investor capital towards more sustainable, impact, and ESG investments is one of the most effective ways, if not the most effective way, to help realize the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, and he is committed to helping both investors and other financial professionals navigate the rapidly growing sustainable, impact, and ESG investing landscape.
Gitterman is the author of Beyond Success: Redefining the Meaning of Prosperity, and also an associate producer of the feature documentary film PLANETARY. Most recently, he was named RIA Thought Leader of the Year by WealthManagement.com. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Child Health Institute of New Jersey at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and dedicates much of his free time to raising funds and awareness for the autism community.
Linda H. Zhang, Ph.D., CEO, Purview Investments
Linda H. Zhang, Ph.D., is the CEO and founder of New York-based Purview Investments, an independent investment firm and a registered investment advisor. The firm offers actively managed ETF portfolios, focusing on global investing and impact investing for individuals, endowments, and institutions. Zhang developed extensive expertise in building ETF managed solutions, ETF research and execution, ESG (environmental, social, and governance) investing, macro investing, quantitative research, and portfolio management. Prior to Purview, she led the investment team at Windhaven Investments. Previously, Linda is an experienced portfolio manager of global multiasset funds at institutional asset management companies including Blackrock, MFS, and State Street Research. She started her career as a quant analyst at Baring Asset Management. Zhang is a co-founder and a board member of Women in ETFs (exchange-traded funds). She is a recipient of a Top Women in Asset Management Award for 2015 from Money Management Executive. She has published in finance journals and made frequent contributions to industry conferences and business media such as Bloomberg News, Bloomberg TV, FT, ETF.com, and MarketWatch. She received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Regina, Canada, a master's degree in applied economics, and a Ph.D. in finance from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She lives with her family in New York City.
Jeff Cohen, Product Strategist, SASB
Jeff Cohen serves as an institutional product strategist at the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB). In his role, Cohen educates and partners with companies, institutional investors, and asset owners facilitating dialogue on financially material industry-specific ESG topics and metrics for implementation into business strategy and investment decision making. He has a background in ESG and impact investing across asset classes and investment strategies. Prior to joining SASB, Jeff was head of business development at Sonen Capital, an ESG- and impact-dedicated OCIO, where he worked with investors seeking to achieve impact across asset classes and various environmental and social themes. Prior to Sonen, Cohen was a director of investment opportunities at Venovate, a fintech platform connecting institutional investors with unique private placement investments, where he conducted due diligence on direct company investments across business stages. He has spent his career working with sophisticated investors at organizations such as Deutchse Bank, Merrill Lynch, and Gerson Lerhman Group. He holds an M.B.A. from Georgetown University and a B.B.A. from the University of Michigan. Cohen is a CAIA charter holder and a Fundamentals of Sustainability Accounting credential holder, and in his free time loves to play golf and go hiking with his wife and dog.
Christina L. Alfandary, Managing Director, GAMCO Asset Management (ESG)
Christina L. Alfandary is managing director, environmental, social, and governance (ESG) and sustainable investments at GAMCO Asset Management, the institutional affiliate of Gabelli Asset Management Company. At GAMCO, Alfandary leads the company’s expansion of its ESG integration efforts and ESG investing capabilities. She has over 25 years of experience in the investment business. Prior to rejoining GAMCO, she served as senior managing director, co-head of Nikko Asset Management Americas Inc., working as part of a senior management team as the firm underwent a major restructuring resulting in its growth from $50 billion to $150 billion in assets under management. While there, she initiated North American business development and later managed the U.S. business. She was also instrumental in a U.S. product launch of an innovative impact investing green bond product developed in collaboration with the World Bank. Prior to Nikko AM, she was a vice president at GAMCO Investors from 2000 to 2005, where she worked with institutional and high-net-worth clients. Her investment experience includes working at Morgan Stanley from 1990 to 2000, both in institutional fixed-income as well as an analyst in municipal finance.
Alfandary is a frequent speaker related to ESG. She is a guest lecturer on ESG investing at Fordham University in its impact investing course. She is also a member of the Board of Trustees of the Thacher School, a California Green Ribbon school. A native of California, Alfandary received an M.B.A. in finance from Columbia Business School after earning her Bachelor of Arts from Lewis & Clark College.
Obie L. McKenzie, Managing Director, BlackRock
Obie McKenzie, managing director, is a member of the U.S. and Canada institutional team within BlackRock's institutional client business. He is responsible for developing and maintaining relationships with institutional investors, including public and private pension plans.
McKenzie’s service with the firm dates back to 2000, including his years with Merrill Lynch Investment Managers (MLIM), which merged with BlackRock in 2006. At MLIM, he was a managing director for public funds marketing. His responsibilities include distribution of institutional investment management capabilities through a regionally organized public funds sales team. Prior to joining MLIM, McKenzie served as a managing director for UBS Asset Management and as an executive director with UBS Brinson in New York. He is president emeritus of the Association of Investment Management Sales Executives (AIMSE) as well as a founding member of the National Association of Securities Professionals (NASP) and a founding board member of the Robert A. Toigo Foundation, an M.B.A. candidate scholarship program.
McKenzie earned a Bachelor of Science from Tennessee State University and an M.B.A. in finance from the Harvard Graduate School of Business.
Bhakti Mirchandant, Managing Director, FCLT Global
Bhakti Mirchandani is a Managing Director at FCLT Global, a consortium of asset owners, asset managers, and corporations focused on long-termism, where she focuses on identifying and measuring the drivers of long-term value creation and investment stewardship. Her transaction experience spans the capital structure and phases of investment and includes a longstanding focus on sustainable investing. She teaches a graduate level impact finance course at Columbia’s Earth Institute and is Forbes.com sustainable investing contributor. She is Co-Chair of the Council on Foreign Relations Term Member Advisory Committee and an advisor, board member, or investment committee member of multiple impact investment firms and funds: ACCION Venture Labs; Upaya Social Ventures; Contact Fund; and MicroVest Capital Management Enhanced Debt Fund. She holds a BA, MBA, and MPA from Harvard.
Before helping to found MicroVest Capital Management, Crawford worked for the Latin American Financial Markets Division at the International Finance Corporation (IFC), and focused on investments in microfinance institutions. Prior to joining IFC, Crawford created and ran Seed Capital Development Fund, a U.S.-based nonprofit firm involved in creating financial instruments and attracting funds to capitalize microfinance institutions, primarily in Latin America, Asia, and Africa. Prior to creating Seed Capital, he was the assistant project director for Africa Venture Capital Project, designed to create risk capital firms in Africa.
Crawford received his bank training at Chase Manhattan Bank after working in Africa for the Red Cross and State Department. He is a graduate of Bates College and the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University.
Crawford was an adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins SAIS from 2010 to 2014. He currently serves on the board of the Tunisian-American Enterprise Fund, a financing vehicle established by Congress and funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development. He is also an independent director of American Capital Senior Finance, LLC, since January 2014. He is fluent in English and conversant in French, Spanish, and Swedish.
Arjun Batra, CIO, Lendable Marketplace
Arjun Batra is the co-founder and chief investment officer of Lendable, a financier of direct-lending platforms who is helping to create a credit ecosystem in SME and consumer credit in under-banked Africa. Prior to joining Lendable, Batra worked for BlackRock, where he led strategic initiatives focused on helping the firm transition into a digital investment landscape. This included initiatives ranging from electronic bond trading for institutional money managers to online financial advice for retail investors. Prior to BlackRock, he worked on mergers and acquisitions and restructuring assignments at Houlihan Lokey.
Batra graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with degrees in electrical engineering and finance. He grew up in India and Nigeria, where he witnessed the extreme conditions in which most people live. He is passionate about using technology and finance to empower low-income individuals.
Wole Coaxum, CEO, Mobility Capital Finance
Wole C. Coaxum is a founder and chief executive officer of Mobility Capital Finance, Inc. (“MoCaFi”). MoCaFi is a startup financial technology company that leverages mobile technologies, data analytics,
and digital strategies to improve the financial behaviors of underbanked communities.
Its goal is to move people away from high-cost alternative financial services products, such as payday lenders, check cashiers, and pawn shops, and into the financial mainstream so that communities can live healthy and productive financial lives.
Prior to starting MoCaFi in 2015, Wole served as managing director at JPMorgan Chase & Co., where he held a series of leadership positions in business banking, card services, and treasury and securities services.
Prior to joining JPMorgan in 2007, Wole was a senior executive of Willis Towers Watson, where he served as chief financial officer and chief operating officer of Willis North America and chief executive officer of Willis Canada. He started his career at Citigroup, working in investment banking, asset management, insurance, and corporate functions.
Wole currently serves as a trustee of Phillips Exeter Academy and is on the board of the Williamstown Theatre Festival. He is the former chairman of the board for Phoenix House New York and member of the Phoenix House Foundation Board. He is the recipient of the Harlem YMCA—Black Achievers in Industry Award.
Wole has an M.B.A. with a concentration in finance from New York University and a Bachelor of Arts with a major in history from Williams College, and he studied politics, philosophy, and economics at Exeter College, Oxford University.
Wole lives in Westchester County, New York, with his wife, Kim, and their two daughters, Quinn and Avery.