The podcast of Working Capital Review
Daniel Feder on the State of Endowment Investing
It goes without saying – nearly every sector globally has been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. But for few sectors are those effects more evident than universities. From admissions to in-person classes to college sports, there’s hardly an element of the experience that hasn’t had to pivot quickly.
So what about endowment investing? As universities face untold economic uncertainties and challenges, what impact has it had on the approach endowments take. Put differently, have the characteristics that make endowment investing different – from time horizons to information access and beyond – been helpful in navigating these new challenges?
Daniel Feder is one to ask. Dan is a Managing Director with the University of Michigan Investment Office and leads the endowment’s investments in private equity and venture capital. Prior to joining Michigan, Dan was the Managing Director of Private Markets at the Washington University Investment Management Company. Previously, among other roles, Feder served asManaging Director of Private Markets for the Sequoia Capital Heritage Fund, Senior Investment Manager in the endowment services area at TIAA-CREF, and Managing Director at Princeton University Investment Company, the investment office for Princeton University’s endowment.
Dr. Alexandria White: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion -- and Business
While the terms diversity, equity and inclusion are not new, the movement – across society, institutions, and businesses – gained extraordinary momentum this year. Obviously, this push for increased understanding, awareness, and action was greatly inspired by George Floyd’s death. It has grown from there.
But what, exactly, does diversity, equity, and inclusion – often called D.E.I. – actually look like? What tangible steps can business leaders take to integrate the principles not as one-off projects, but rather on going standard operating procedures? And what might those changes mean – for immediate adopters and companies slow on the uptake – for any business’ ability to compete and win in a next-generation workplace?
Dr. Alexandria White works with organizations to create more diverse and inclusive workplaces. She serves as Director of Diversity for ReBoot Accel and as an adjunct faculty in the University of Mississippi’s School of Education. Dr. White has worked in retail banking, leadership, community activism, diversity planning and higher education and founded S.A.M.S. – Student Affairs MomS – the largest online community for mothers who work on college campuses. As you’ll hear, she brings deep perspective, experience, and actionable tips to the conversation.
Dr. Josh Lerner — Future of Diversity and Inclusion in Private Equity
A straightforward question: as we consider the future of diversity and inclusion in private equity, can the industry meet the challenge?
To seek answers, the Private Capital Project at the Harvard Business School and the Private Capital Research Institute recently hosted a webinar with a group of limited and general partners. What did they find?
I spoke with one of the conference leaders, Dr. Josh Lerner, the Schiff Professor of Investment Banking at Harvard Business School. He co-directs the National Bureau of Economic Research’s Productivity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship Program and serves as co- editor of their publication, Innovation Policy and the Economy. He founded and runs the Private Capital Research Institute, a nonprofit devoted to encouraging access to data and research, and has been a frequent leader of and participant in the World Economic Forum projects and events. He has been named one of the 100 most influential people in private equity over the past decade and one of the ten most influential academics in the institutional investing world.
Joe Coughlin: The Science & Art of Managing Business Risk Today
Businesses, of course, face risk every day, whether from supply chain disruption, calamity, or as we’ve seen from a series of hurricanes of the last years, Mother Nature. But most of these risks have a foreseeable ending – after all, at some point the hurricane passes.
But among the many business risks during this Covid age are the unknown risks – how long will the pandemic endure? Which geographies will be hit hardest? What might recovery look like?
And while the insurance business can account for many of the regular risks, Covid brings a new, challenging dimension.
So how are the insurance companies thinking about Covid-19? Perhaps more significantly, how can businesses measure, plan, and account for the risks they face? How should they think about the problem?
George Nguyen: What Does Gen Z Want from Brands?
It’s the age old question nearly every business brand would like to know: What do young people care about?
Do they apply their beliefs and goals to their commercial choices? Do brands matter to them? Put differently, from a brand’s perspective, do youth care about who you are — or what you do and how you do it? What are the forces influencing their brand choices?
And when leading global and domestic brands want to know the answer to these questions, George Nguyen is one person they frequently call.
Nguyen is Managing Director of Untapped, a youth trends and insights agency that is changing the way brands approach market research. Untapped is borne of the simple belief that the only subject matter experts are the subjects themselves – and they tap into their network of more than 5,000 young urban influencers and what they call “gatekeepers” to learn.
They do this by partnering with STOKED, a non-profit youth development program in NY, CHI, and LA. Untapped gets the insights; the youth gatekeepers gain opportunities to learn: presentation skills, professional communications, office skills, statistics and analytics, and design and development, including photoshop, coding, and more.
Among their clients have been McDonalds, Nike, Jordan Brands, Gatorade, HBO and others.
Vindi Banga: Business Outlook in a Changing World
Once again this year, thousands of the world’s leading economic and business players met in the little Swiss ski town of Davos. And once again, the key topics and discussions had little to do with winter sports.
The reasons are obvious. There’s a lot going on in the world today and plenty of questions:
As global political economies continue to evolve at an increased pace, how much will leaders factor geopolitics into evaluating potential transactions?
How do global population and health trends affect the ways companies and investors think about investing in and managing businesses?
Can innovation, entrepreneurialism and investment meet the challenges of climate change?
And what about technology? As jobs increasingly get disintermediated by Artificial Intelligence, how should businesses, governments and individuals balance the opportunities that tech brings with its equally challenging implications?
To find out, we spoke with Clayton, Dubilier & Rice London-based Operating Partner Vindi Banga. Some background on Vindi’s global business and policy efforts: Banga spent 33 years at Unilever, where he served as executive board member and president of Global Foods, Home & Personal Care. He led the creation of a 'One Unilever' agenda for the Foods, Home & Personal Care organization, responsible for innovation and marketing mix development across 170 countries for all 270 Unilever brands. Vindi also was responsible for Unilever's sustainability agenda, an issue – as you’ll hear – he has learned and thought about since his childhood in India. Vindi served on the Prime Minister of India's Council of Trade & Industry from 2004 to 2014, and in 2010 the India’s President awarded him the Padma Bhushan, one of the country’s highest civilian awards.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Chris offers a smart, informative approach and brings in fabulous speakers. I especially enjoyed the session with Dr. Alex White on Inclusive Leadership. All are interesting. I suggest subscribing to his daily Working Capital Review newsletter—my source for the best curation of daily news.
Joe Coughlin is an excellent resource from the insurance sector. He is articulate and smart. He understands how Covid has affected businesses.
Chris Riback is a very good interviewer and has attracted a stable of interesting guests.