Fordham Impact Investing Conference - Afternoon Panelists
Danielle Kayembe, Founder, GreyFire Impact
Danielle Kayembe is a female futurist and serial entrepreneur who works on projects at the intersection of women, tech, and social impact. Through her company GreyFire, she advises female founders on scaling their businesses and raising capital, and connects companies to ecosystems of underrepresented founders. She was a founding partner in Tour of Tech: Lagos, an initiative to bring investors from Silicon Valley (TechStars, 500 Startups, Wingpact) to tour growing tech hubs in Africa. Kayembe is an advisor to social impact startups and a mentor to Columbia University’s business accelerator. She is an Ariane de Rothschild Fellow for 2019, awarded to 20 global social impact entrepreneurs each year. She is a frequent speaker on topics related to women, social impact, technology, and Africa on CNBC, at the United Nations, on TEDx, at Google, General Assembly and other events, and has been featured in Forbes and on Refinery29. She is also the author of “The Silent Rise of the Female-Driven Economy,” a white paper on women and the future of business and innovation.
Katherine St. Onge, Director, Calvert Impact Capital
Katherine St. Onge is director of syndications and institutional partnerships at Calvert Impact Capital. She helps institutions structure fixed-income investments to support Calvert Impact Capital and the mission-driven organizations within CIC’s portfolio through a variety of investments including subordinated debt, the Community Investment Note, and syndication transactions. Prior to Calvert Impact Capital, St. Onge worked at the Aspen Institute, where she focused on building entrepreneurial and early-stage investment ecosystems in the Middle East and North Africa. She also worked for Louisiana Economic Development, crafting policies and strategies to enhance Louisiana’s economic competitiveness, and at Goldman Sachs, managing both equity and fixed-income investment products. She received her bachelor’s degree in economics and mathematics from Bucknell University and her M.B.A. from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
Derwin Sisnett, Partner, Maslow Development Inc.
A native New Yorker, Derwin Sisnett was born and raised in a neighborhood in desperate need of revitalization. While he attended a high-performing high school in an affluent part of the city, his daily commute to and from school highlighted the stark contrast between the two neighborhoods. His passion for developing holistic communities was born from his experiences. Sisnett has spent the last decade in community development and public education, with a particular focus on maximizing community assets.
Prior to founding Maslow, Sisnett co-founded and served as the CEO of Gestalt Community Schools (GCS), a charter management organization that develops high-performing, community-based charter schools in Memphis, Tennessee. Under his leadership, GCS grew into one of the highest-performing networks of schools in Tennessee.
Sisnett earned a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Emory University and an M.F.A. in creative writing from Hollins University, and is currently wrapping up a Ph.D. in educational psychology from the University of Memphis. He is also a Pahara-Aspen Fellow and a Broad Academy Fellow.
Avi Telyas, Founder, Makerhoods
Avi Telyas is an American real estate developer, serial entrepreneur, and pioneer in lean manufacturing and construction. His passion for architecture and craft entrepreneurship led him to found Makerhoods, an organization which advocates for urban land use policies that foster self-employment by building affordable working and living space in economically challenged areas.
Telyas is a 1986 graduate of Harvard Business School, a former trustee of Pratt Institute, and a principal of Seaview Development, where he has worked for over 30 years running complex projects and operations. He embarked on his own entrepreneurial career in 1986 by acquiring a small manufacturer based in New York City while still a business school student and proceeded to grow the business through its eventual sale to the Parker Hannifin Corporation. His accomplishments were recognized when he was runner-up for the Harvard Business School Club of New York’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 1999, and were chronicled in an episode of Managing with Lou Dobbs on CNN as well as a Harvard Business School case study and a featured article in The Wall Street Journal.
The Makerhoods program brings together Telyas’ lifelong interests in entrepreneurship and urban development. He continues to advocate for urban planning and design that encourage affordable entrepreneurship and lower the barriers that working families experience in their quest for a middle-class income. In 2015 he introduced the Makerhood concept to a worldwide audience in a TEDx presentation in Jersey City, and in 2017 Telyas delivered the keynote address at the Governor’s Conference on Housing and Economic Development in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Telyas devotes his free time to pro-bono consulting for various charitable and nonprofit organizations in the metropolitan area such as Grameen Bank, a microloan innovator targeting low-income entrepreneurs, and Urban Pathways, a developer of supportive housing.
Mickey Penzer, Vice President, Penzer Family Office
Mickey Penzer received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting from New York University’s Stern School of Business and her law degree from Fordham. She took a lot of classes at Fordham on the subject of working with governments and is excited to be back as an alumna to participate in this conference.
Penzer has worked with her family real estate business since she was a small child; her mom had a tiny hard hat made for her for sight tours. Her paternal grandfather was the first to enter the business and her father, Richard, started building his portfolio as a teenager. She works in the staffing industry, specifically focusing on real estate placements, while continuing to work for her real estate-focused family office and family foundation, the Jacob & Anita Penzer Family Foundation. Her family invests in real estate, primarily in New York City, but what really brings them together is their passion for poverty alleviation, particularly in the New York area. She and her family have set up At-Risk Community Services in order to help the residents of the city’s public housing and other low-income city residents gain proper participation in their housing and receive better living conditions. Her passion is to use her lifelong real estate experience, combined with her knowledge of social services, government, philanthropy, and social entrepreneurship to create socially conscious real estate projects. She wants to holistically redesign what it looks like to live in a low-income community. Let's build a better world together!
Paul Johnson, Fordham University, Nicusa Investment Advisors
Paul Johnson is a partner with Harbor Peak, a financial services firm that provides advisory services to companies and governments on issues related to digital currency, ICOs, and token-based business models. Harbor Peak services include market analysis, ICO due diligence, risk and compliance, and regulatory policy.
Johnson helped launch Blockhous Academy in July 2018, is the economic advisor to the SolarCoin Foundation, and is a member of the Advisory Board to the People’s Currency Foundation and its Manna coin project. He has appeared as a moderator and panel member at numerous blockchain conferences discussing cryptocurrency regulation, compliance, and fraud.
Johnson is an adjunct professor at the Gabelli School of Business, Fordham University, where he teaches courses on digital currency, blockchain technology, and value investing. His class on blockchain is working to launch the Jesuit Token, with the mission of using technology to incentivize and reward 25 million hours of community service in the next 20 years. In addition to serving as an adjunct professor, Johnson is a Fellow in the Gabelli Center for Global Security Analysis and received the Gabelli School of Business’ graduate-level Dean’s Award for Faculty Excellence in May 2017.
Johnson has an M.B.A. in finance from the Executive Program at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor of Arts in economics from the University of California, Berkeley.
Jarrid Tingle, Co-Founder, Harlem Capital Partners
Jarrid Tingle is co-founder and managing partner of Harlem Capital, a venture capital firm on a mission to change the face of entrepreneurship by investing in 1,000 women and minority founders over the next 20 years. He focuses on deal sourcing, organizational strategy, financial analysis, and due diligence efforts. Tingle has been featured in Forbes and Black Enterprise in 2018. He is currently an M.B.A. candidate at Harvard Business School. He graduated cum laude from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Upon graduation, he received the Wharton Undergraduate Dean’s Award for Excellence, Wharton’s highest honor.
Prior to Harlem Capital, Tingle was a private equity investor at ICV Partners. At ICV, he was responsible for evaluating over 100 control investment opportunities annually, constructing financial models, and monitoring four portfolio companies to assist with annual budgets and strategic initiatives. Before ICV, he worked in the global technology, media, and telecommunications investment banking group at Barclays. Outside of Harlem Capital and Harvard Business School, Tingle is graduate board vice president for the Eta Chapter of Delta Phi Fraternity, a mentor in the TEAK program, and a Fellow in the Robert Toigo Foundation and Management Leadership for Tomorrow MBA Programs.
Leslie Harwell, Managing Partner, Alante Capital
Leslie Harwell is managing partner at Alante Capital, a venture capital fund that invests in innovations across the lifecycle of apparel in production, distribution, and postconsumer recovery. Alante aims to make it easier for brands and retailers of all sizes to produce and sell sustainable apparel by working with them to actively integrate new solutions to make the lifecycle of apparel safer, cleaner, less wasteful, and overall more sustainable.
Prior to Alante, Harwell spent 10 years in financial services, most recently as vice president of sustainable finance at JPMorgan Chase & Co., focused on value creation and technical assistance in the firm’s impact investing portfolio.
Harwell is passionate about scalable, tech-enabled solutions that will leave lasting, positive impacts on people and the planet.
Chinedu Enekwe, Managing Partner, Affiniti VC
Chinedu Enekwe is the founding partner of Affiniti VC, a venture capital platform investing in a future of shared prosperity. He’s a Moonshot Fellow of the Kravis Lab for Social Innovation and a founding member of the Forbes Impact Community. He manages the largest syndicate of underrepresented angel and micro-VC investors, Affiniti VC's venture community, and built deep collaboration with three general partners, which form the foundation of Affiniti VC’s family of funds. This complements the company’s advisory practice that manages $25 million in strategic funds for a healthcare technology company and the gender lens investment strategy for Shell Foundation.
Before launching Affiniti VC, Enekwe co-founded tiphub and managed its preaccelerator program, Diaspora Demo, which helped more than 35 early-stage technology and social enterprises raise over $7 million in after-program funding and achieve three exits since 2014. Enekwe also led emerging market investment manager Xcellon Capital, serving as investment director and raising and managing $25 million of assets from institutional and high-net-worth investors, after holding positions in infrastructure advisory at the World Bank and at the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, in investment banking at Merrill Lynch, and in fund formation and corporate securities law at Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP.
Bahiyah Robinson, Founder, VC Include
Bahiyah Robinson is the founder of VC Include, an advocacy and data-driven membership organization that connects female and diverse general partners with limited partners that care about returns, inclusion, and impact. VC Include is building a membership network of VCs and LPs, supported by funds of funds, top corporations, and city stakeholders.
VC Include gives LPs a one-stop shop to commit and invest their capital into female and diverse VCs that are part of our network, and to share experiences globally that shift the VC and investor landscape to a more global, supportive, inclusive, and impactful space where investment can be accelerated across verticals and across communities.
Catarina Schwab, Co-Founder, CEO, NPX
Catarina Schwab is the co-founder and co-CEO of NPX, where she is leading the charge to transform the way impact is financed in the nonprofit sector with her co-founder and co-CEO Lindsay Beck.
Before NPX, Schwab was vice president for development at the nonprofit buildOn. During her five-year tenure, she expanded the donor base and raised awareness for buildOn’s domestic and international programs. Despite her great passion for the work, she was frustrated by the inefficient fundraising model and felt motivated to explore a new approach.
Prior to buildOn, Schwab was the co-founder of Flicka Boutique, a Scandinavian fashion and design store in San Francisco selected as a must-visit destination by InStyle and Lucky magazines.
Schwab’s desire to start her own business came from her previous experience at the venture capital firm Arts Alliance, where she invested in early-stage technology companies in Europe and the United States. In 2001, she moved to San Francisco to join one of the portfolio companies as the director of strategy to deepen her operating experience.
Throughout her career, she has dedicated her time to her alma maters, Princeton University and Phillips Exeter Academy, and to various nonprofits. She currently serves on the buildOn Global Leadership Council, Common Sense Media Bay Area Council, Katherine Delmar Burke School Board, and NationSwell Council.
She lives in San Francisco with her husband and two children. In her downtime, she enjoys yoga, skiing, photography, visiting her extended family in Europe, and traveling to new places.
Abigail Steinberg, Program Manager, FIBR
Abigail Steinberg is a program manager overseeing the Financial Inclusion on Business Runways project, or FIBR, which seeks to deepen and accelerate indirect financial inclusion through linkages between small businesses and their customers, employees, and suppliers. She has worked in challenging environments across 11 countries and has honed her skills in strategy and execution. Prior to BFA Global, she was a principal at the Fortitude Fund and was the director of strategy for Dallant Networks. There, her work focused on development and execution of online digital communities that build social impact and address global urban poverty. While living in India, she worked on building an Indian financial tech company aimed at digitizing products for lending clubs. As a Princeton Fellow, she directed project implementations across Thailand. As a strategist reporting to the CEO at Digital Divide Data (DDD), an impact sourcing company with 1,200 employees, she designed and expanded service offerings. She negotiated a contract with the World Bank Group and managed a team across four African countries. Based on this work, she was the lead author of an article in MIT’s Innovations: Technology | Governance | Globalization journal and spoke at the U.N. in Bangkok. She presented on a panel for the World Bank on digital employment access for refugees. Prior to DDD, she was a Partnerships Fellow for Purpose Global, which creates its own ventures, develops technology, and collaborates with leading organizations to build movements for good. In the U.K., she reported directly to a female member of Parliament and drafted policies and briefings and met with constituents. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts magna cum laude and a Master of Arts in global studies, both from Brandeis University.
Ethan Powell, Founder, Impact Shares
Ethan Powell has spent over two decades in financial services, primarily in hedge funds and private equity. Most recently, Ethan founded Impact Shares, a collaboration of leading financial service and nonprofit organizations providing single social issue ESG solutions. Impact Shares has issued exchange-traded funds in collaboration with the NAACP Minority Empowerment ETF, the YWCA Women’s Empowerment, and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Additionally, Powell serves as the chairman of the board for a $4 billion mutual fund complex and is a finalist for 2016 mutual fund director of the year. Previously, Powell was the chief of product and strategy at Highland Capital Management Fund Advisors, L.P. In this role, he was responsible for evaluating and optimizing the registered product lineup offered by Highland. He also served as the portfolio manager of the Highland ETFs (exchange-traded funds) and worked with other portfolio managers and wholesalers on the appropriate positioning of strategies in the marketplace. Prior to joining Highland in April 2007, Powell spent most of his career with Ernst and Young, providing audit and merger and acquisition services. Powell received a Master of Science in management information systems and a Bachelor of Science accounting from Texas A&M University. Powell has earned the right to use the chartered financial analyst designation and is a licensed certified public accountant.
Marcia Nelson, Managing Director, Alberleen Family Office Solutions
Marcia Nelson is a managing director of Alberleen Family Office Solutions, an investment platform for private investors, where she focuses her time and energy on building and maintaining her network of family offices and private investors. Nelson has a 20-year track record of working with family offices and their advisors, having developed a strong network of investors seeking direct and co-investment opportunities, collaborating with other families and creating thought leadership around impact investing and philanthropic giving. She started her family-office career working for an ultra-high-net-worth philanthropic family, and subsequently managed business development and relationship management in the areas of estate planning, finance, and accounting.
Nelson serves as the executive vice president of the board of ACG-NY (Association for Corporate Growth-New York), and is a member of the Family Office Committee. She is also on the board of VentureCapital.org, which mentors and advises early-stage companies. Nelson completed her undergraduate work in her home state of Utah and her M.B.A. at Fordham.
Andrew Appel, Creative Director, Gitterman Wealth Management
Andrew Appel is the creative director for Gitterman Wealth Management’s SMART (Sustainability Metrics Applied to Risk Tolerance)® Investing Services, which offers sustainable, impact, and ESG investing options to both investors and other financial advisors. He is also a founding member of the 2018 Sustainable Investing Conference at the United Nations, as well as the 2017 and 2016 NYC Sustainable Investing Conferences.
Appel first began working with Jeff Gitterman as a consultant in 2008, and during that time they co-authored the book Beyond Success; Redefining the Meaning of Prosperity, and also associate produced the feature documentary film PLANETARY.
Prior to this, Appel spent 10 years in the entertainment industry, both as an actor and in production and development for a variety of film and television companies in California and New York. He is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and has also spent time at Oxford University and USC’s graduate film school.