Louise Aitken's departing thoughts

Having stepped down as CEO of Ākina, we say farewell to Louise Aitken from the NAB.


Nicola Nation replaces Louise as Ākina’s CEO and on the NAB.


As one of the founding members of the NAB, Louise and Ākina have made pivotal contributions to the development of the NAB and the impact investing and social enterprise sectors.


Louise was also Director of the Impact Enterprise Fund, New Zealand’s first domestically focused impact investment fund.


We asked Louise (Lou, if we’re talking amongst friends) to reflect on her highlights while on the NAB and to look ahead at the future opportunities in impacting investing.


How did you get involved with the NAB?


The opportunity to establish the NAB came through Ākina’s partnership with the NZ Government to strengthen the social enterprise and impact investment sector in Aotearoa NZ three years ago. By bringing together leaders from the impact investment sector, we were able to establish the NAB and start the exciting conversation on what impact investment meant in a unique Aotearoa NZ context.


What have been your highlights while on the NAB?


Being able to work closely with the other NAB Board members has been the greatest outcome for me, and the thing I will miss the most. Working with people who deeply care for our communities and environments and understand the power of capital to contribute to the solutions we need has been so inspiring and such a highlight.

I was also so lucky to attend a NAB meeting in South Korea, meeting people from all around the region doing the same mahi as us here in Aotearoa NZ. It happened to coincide with the Winter Olympics so a crazy time to be in Seoul!

What impact investments deals or models were the most memorable?


As a board member of the Impact Enterprise Fund, I am super proud of what we have achieved with our eight investments. Especially in how we are working with each of them to measure, report and improve their impact.


What are the challenges and opportunities for impact investing?


Measurement is the most pressing challenge across our growing sector. We must all strive for best practice measurement of impact, creating capability, consistency and transparency in the positive outcomes that are achieved for people and the planet.


Farewell message


Louise's farewell message to the NAB, “Thank you for the opportunity to be part of the creation of our growing impact investment sector here in Aotearoa NZ. I am so proud of what we have achieved and I look forward to continuing to support and celebrate your continued success!".

Cheers from the Chair


David Woods the NAB’s Chair said, “Lou has been a great contributor to the NAB in its first three years as we’ve grown and as impact investing has become part of the mainstream. We’re very grateful for her generous contributions, and wish her every success in whatever she does next”.


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