Raewyn Jones has officially finished her three year tenure on the NAB. As one of the founding NAB members Raewyn has made a pivotal contribution to the NAB and impact investing sector. Alastair Rhodes replaced Raewyn as the Philanthropy New Zealand (PNZ) representative in 2020 as part of the planned transition period.
We asked Raewyn 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?
I became interested in the power of impact investment to effect positive change at scale in 2017 after attending the Oxford Impact Investment Programme. I had the opportunity to share my learning with colleagues at the PNZ Summit later that year, and there was a lot of energy in the room to create a community of practice. With the support of a coalition of the willing, the Impact Investment Network (IIN) was born, and from there the Impact Investing National Advisory Board Aotearoa NZ (NAB). I was fortunate to be the first PNZ appointment to the NAB.
What have been your highlights while on the NAB?
An absolute highlight for me was attending the Global Steering Group for Impact Investment (GSG) Summit in Buenos Aires in November 2019 with a team from New Zealand. We learnt so much about impact investment around the world, and I’ve had the opportunity to apply much of that learning here in the Waikato, such as with the development of the Waikato Wellbeing Project. I’ve been very fortunate to have the support of WEL Energy Trust in this journey, and their willingness to do our part to build the ecosystem for impact investment in the wider region and Aotearoa by supporting the NAB and ecosystem building activities.
What are your favourite impact investment examples?
As the CEO of a philanthropic Trust, I’ve come to value the opportunities that are afforded by the development of Impact Funds and intermediaries. Direct investment is not where we focus, so I applaud the development of Funds like the Impact Enterprise Fund, Purpose Capital and others, as well as intermediaries like Community Finance.
What are the challenges for impact investing?
People often talk about the challenge of ‘finding the deals’ (hence my admiration for the Impact Funds!). There is continued work to do supporting impact enterprises to become investment ready, the philanthropic sector has a role to support this too.
What are the opportunities for impact investing?
I think they are endless. I look forward to the day when we stop using the word ‘impact investment’ because every investment will be made with a risk/return/impact lens as a matter of course. Organisational leaders such as Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock, the world’s largest asset management firm, have asserted that all business needs to align commercial success with delivering positive outcomes for society. That sort of leadership is where it starts, as well as leadership from people choosing to work and spend their money with companies with a sense of purpose, and investors aligning their investment dollars with their values.
Raewyn wished the NAB well and said, “It has been a real privilege to serve with such a great team on the NAB for the past 3 years as the PNZ representative, and it's exciting to see the progress since inception. In the philanthropic sector we’ve gone from the majority of Trusts and Foundations being ‘impact curious’ to actively looking at how they can leverage their investments for impact, and leading the change through blended finance. I look forward to seeing the progress over the next few years”.
David Woods, the NAB’s Chair, said "It’s with very mixed feelings that we say goodbye to Raewyn as a founder member of the NAB. She’s been highly instrumental to our development over the last few years and a huge contributor at every level. While she’s very ably succeeded by Alastair Rhodes as the PNZ delegate on the NAB, we’ll miss her, both professionally and personally".
Please use 'Comments' below to leave farewell messages and acknowledge Raewyn's contributions.