35 min

#27 Building a more sustainable world through impact investing ft. Aisha Williams How To Be The Difference

    • Education

Changing the paradigm of investing towards a sustainable future


In this episode of How to be the Difference, Paul and Johanna sit down with Aisha Williams, founder and CEO of ImpactVest, an impact mission-driven fintech group. Aisha is dedicated to investigating why the capital market is inefficient when it comes to investing in projects that have a positive impact. This is why she founded ImpactVest, to change the paradigm and make sure that impact investing translates into real actionable results.

Aisha is originally from Chicago, and her career in Foreign Service took her to work in Latin America, South Africa, and the Middle East. But after 8 years of public service, she decided to pivot into the investment world. In the private equity world, she noticed that there was little focus on measuring the outcome of impact investing, especially on measuring the impact of sustainable assets under management (AUM). Assets under management refer to the total market value of all the assets that a fund or a financial services firm manages. And, according to Aisha, in 2025 out of all the AUMs, a third of them will be sustainable. This change in the approach will prevail in the future, but the structure of the capital market is the same as it was 60 years ago. Aisha aims to slowly change how impact investing is done so that all of that capital going into sustainable projects has a measurable and tangible impact on positive change.

In conversation with Johanna and Paul, Aisha shares her experience as a diplomat, working in local initiatives, and talks about how difficult it was to leave the public sector to work on private equity. She also shares her insights on how positive change can be done from the private sector when capital is invested optimally to create sustainable impact. Aisha gives us as well a lesson on how to face entrepreneurship and the finance world as a woman in a largely male industry.

To learn more about amazing internship opportunities, check out The Intern Group’s website.


Outline of this episode:

[00:00]-Aisha’s background as a diplomat
[00:00]-Leaving the Foreign Service to work at private equity
[00:00]-What is impact investing?
[00:00]-Some of Aisha’s proudest moments of her career
[00:00]-How impact is made locally and on the ground.
[00:00]-About the importance of working with a diverse team
[00:00]-Her future as an activist and entrepreneur
[00:00]-Advice for women considering a career in investment.

Resources & people mentioned:
Aisha Williams
ImpactVest
UN’s SDG(Sustainable Development Goals)
Johanna Molina
Paul Lynskey

Inspirational/interesting quotes:
“You never know where your career will take you, you just have to follow your passions and it will always kind of lead you into the right direction”
“A lot of impact investing has to do with changing the investor’s viewpoint, time horizon and perspective on investing in impact”
“Impact investing is stalled because it is not diverse enough”
“As a women entrepreneur, you really have to be focused on your goals and know where you are going”
“This is the most important tip I have, don't be afraid to walk your own path, and other people will follow you”

Changing the paradigm of investing towards a sustainable future


In this episode of How to be the Difference, Paul and Johanna sit down with Aisha Williams, founder and CEO of ImpactVest, an impact mission-driven fintech group. Aisha is dedicated to investigating why the capital market is inefficient when it comes to investing in projects that have a positive impact. This is why she founded ImpactVest, to change the paradigm and make sure that impact investing translates into real actionable results.

Aisha is originally from Chicago, and her career in Foreign Service took her to work in Latin America, South Africa, and the Middle East. But after 8 years of public service, she decided to pivot into the investment world. In the private equity world, she noticed that there was little focus on measuring the outcome of impact investing, especially on measuring the impact of sustainable assets under management (AUM). Assets under management refer to the total market value of all the assets that a fund or a financial services firm manages. And, according to Aisha, in 2025 out of all the AUMs, a third of them will be sustainable. This change in the approach will prevail in the future, but the structure of the capital market is the same as it was 60 years ago. Aisha aims to slowly change how impact investing is done so that all of that capital going into sustainable projects has a measurable and tangible impact on positive change.

In conversation with Johanna and Paul, Aisha shares her experience as a diplomat, working in local initiatives, and talks about how difficult it was to leave the public sector to work on private equity. She also shares her insights on how positive change can be done from the private sector when capital is invested optimally to create sustainable impact. Aisha gives us as well a lesson on how to face entrepreneurship and the finance world as a woman in a largely male industry.

To learn more about amazing internship opportunities, check out The Intern Group’s website.


Outline of this episode:

[00:00]-Aisha’s background as a diplomat
[00:00]-Leaving the Foreign Service to work at private equity
[00:00]-What is impact investing?
[00:00]-Some of Aisha’s proudest moments of her career
[00:00]-How impact is made locally and on the ground.
[00:00]-About the importance of working with a diverse team
[00:00]-Her future as an activist and entrepreneur
[00:00]-Advice for women considering a career in investment.

Resources & people mentioned:
Aisha Williams
ImpactVest
UN’s SDG(Sustainable Development Goals)
Johanna Molina
Paul Lynskey

Inspirational/interesting quotes:
“You never know where your career will take you, you just have to follow your passions and it will always kind of lead you into the right direction”
“A lot of impact investing has to do with changing the investor’s viewpoint, time horizon and perspective on investing in impact”
“Impact investing is stalled because it is not diverse enough”
“As a women entrepreneur, you really have to be focused on your goals and know where you are going”
“This is the most important tip I have, don't be afraid to walk your own path, and other people will follow you”

35 min