In previous episodes of I Want Her Job: The Podcast, we’ve explored the world of impact investing, a field that combines financial returns with social impact. As conscious women, we’re excited by this industry that places emphasis on initiatives deeply valued and dear to our hearts, like the environment and health care. In 2016, impact investing was a $60 billion marketplace, and it’s only continuing to grow.
In episode 20, Podcast Editor Polina Selyutin speaks with Victoria Fram, managing director of impact investing firm Village Capital. The organization believes in creating opportunities at a local level for entrepreneurs in underserved markets. Their focus is twofold, with emphasis on economic inequality for startups – increasing access to affordable healthcare, education and financial services – as well as on sustainable agriculture and energy.
It’s Victoria’s job to work with investors who wish to align their investments along with their values. A particular emphasis is placed on early-stage companies. What sets Village Capital apart is their approach. Entrepreneurs in their portfolio constantly evaluate one another, giving each the opportunity to, “Hear candid viewpoints from [their] peers,” Victoria says.
Over the last 6 years, Village Capital has overseen more than 40 programs, investing in 70 companies with over 500 entrepreneurs, ranging in investments from $70,000 to $500,000. Investments in these programs totaling $3 million has resulted in a 15 to 1 return for investors. And while many investment firms chase the same markets, Village Capital is seeing great success in other areas, including ed tech startups in New Orleans and agriculture in Kentucky.
“The best entrepreneurs are not the ones in Silicon Valley who are creating an app that will make life a little easier – or fleetingly more fun … The best entrepreneurs are out there in cities and towns across the country, disrupting the world’s toughest problems, creating good paying jobs and strengthening their communities,” Victoria says. Read more at www.iwantherjob.com
As the passionate founder of Motivate Design – a user experience research, design and staffing firm – Mona works with large organizations to help them understand how users are using their brand, product or service. Overall, Mona and her team tackle a big question: How do you understand how people work and think, and then how does that apply to the design of products? Her team will heavily research, work intentionally across industries, apply different perspectives, and even shadow actual users, to find insights that can then help improve the experience a customer has with certain service or product.
When she’s not leading her team of 25 at Motivate Design, which also happens to be an Inc. 5000 company, Mona is an instructor at Parsons The New School for Design. Her passion for encouraging others to think about design problems creatively has expanded to writing a book, Reframe: Shift The Way You Work, Innovate and Think; hosting workshops, launching design camps for kids and even a children’s design book. Mona also is a though leader on user-centered design and innovation, experience strategies, usability, lean startups and business management who writes for Fast Company and TIME Business.
In episode 19 of I Want Her Job: The Podcast, Mona shares her technique for triggering design ideas, advice for those considering a startup life and her favorite resources for reading up and getting ahead. For detailed show notes and a detailed list of Mona's resources for learning about UX design go to www.iwantherjob.com
Jessica Jackson Sloan is the youngest-ever elected official in the charming city of Mill Valley, California, located just 14 miles north of San Francisco. In her role as vice mayor of the city where she grew up, Jessica works on local politics. That would be enough of an accomplishment for many to be satisfied, but not Jessica, who has deep life experiences that motivated her to spend her time helping those less fortunate.
As national director of #cut50, a truly bipartisan initiative to end mass incarceration, Jessica works with her colleagues and a team of notable influencers (like Alicia Keys and Richard Branson) to cut the prison population in the United States by half within the next 10 years. The organization works to raise the issue in media and inform others that the issue has become massive – and not only is a huge resource suck in our society, but also one that has the potential for alternative options that would keep our communities safer.
Prior to her dual jobs, Jessica worked on death penalty cases, saying that when serving those on death row, “You see the worst of the worst of the system … Unfortunately the client pays the ultimate price … their life.” It was this background that prompted Jessica to join politics in the first place, as she had a desire to move into policy work to broaden her impact.
In episode 18 of I Want Her Job: The Podcast, we hear about how Jessica’s very personal story led her to law school and then her work on death penalty cases and eventually, at #cut50 and for the city of Mill Valley. Her story is one you’ll want to hear.
TOPICS DISCUSSED IN TODAY'S SHOW: