Impact Investing Job Seekers: How Will Keyholders to Your Next Open Door Remember You?

By: Jessica Loman

27 June 2017

I veered away from an impact investing career for some time because of two false assumptions,

False assumption #1: I thought all investing was run by brutal capitalists centered only on the bottom line of making profit at any cost.

Lesson learned: Impact investing helps redefine business and investing success to not only create financial returns, but also positive social and/or environmental returns. Impact investing is not philanthropy nor traditional investing, yet a way for investors to activate a new and conscious global financial ecosystem.

False assumption #2: I thought working in the impact investing industry was only for those with strong finance backgrounds.

Lesson learned: People are at varying stages of their financial literacy and everyone is quite new to establishing and understanding all the elements connected to impact investing. A variety of experiences and skillsets are needed to move the industry forward.

Once past these assumptions, I hit the ground running to learn what I could and found myself a job at Toniic, the global action community for impact investors. At Toniic, I wore a number of different hats that helped foster further growth on skills such as:

  • Financial literacy and investor readiness[1]
  • Trust and relationship building
  • Facilitation for groups navigating the head and heart
  • Online and offline community building
  • Global operations for a quickly growing community

Every impact investing career would not promise to build exactly the skills above, but likely the first two and many others.

With all one could learn while being part of a larger movement towards conscious capitalism, I am often asked for recommendations on how to engage: “How did you get involved in impact investing?” “How can I get my foot in the door?” “Any tips for impact investing job seekers?”

 

TIPS FOR IMPACT INVESTING JOB SEEKERS

Here are a couple recommendations you may have heard before with some added flavor from my experience:

Do your research. Here are some shortcuts:

You’re reading this blog, so I imagine you have already started to online research the impact investing industry, follow #impinv and #socent trends on social media, and do what you can to read up on the many reports and industry materials out there.

To add more flavor to your research, here are some other tips:

Network with a solid one-line pitch

At Toniic, one of our Co-Founder’s, John Kohler says, “impact investing, it’s personal.” The job opportunities in this industry are also often filled through personal connections built on trust.

You may have heard that every person is a possible keyholder to your next open door. A succinct one-line pitch helps keyholders remember more quickly which key to use for the door that is right for you.

As a result of networking with a succinct one-line pitch, I received an impact investing job that came as a referral from four separate contacts I met at a winery, salsa dancing, business school, and a previous retail job.

3 important steps in brief of networking while job seeking:

  1. Pre-networking, here are the one-line pitch questions to ask yourself: What is one area of expertise you want people to know about? What is the one field of interest you would like to work in?
  2. While networking, bring your whole self and dare to be uniquely genuine. Once warmed up, an important question to ask others is: How can I support you? Later followed by succinct answers to the questions from your networking prep.
  3. Post-networking, please do not forget to follow-up with gratitude and open hands of service. As we all work to make impact investing more mainstream, there is little tolerance for arrogance. I was told that I received a job opportunity over another candidate because while we were both qualified, I offered to not only contribute my expertise, but also showed great eagerness to learn.

Thank you for demonstrating your eagerness to learn by reading this blog today. I wish you all the best on your job search!

[1] “Investor readiness” is often a term used for entrepreneurs, and I find it quite fitting to use for investors as well. At Toniic, it is our mission to empower impact investors and we witness the growth in knowledge and readiness to invest over time.

BIO:

Jessica joins us with international experience in community organizing, facilitation, operations and social entrepreneurship. In 2007, she was awarded a Fulbright grant, with which she taught hundreds of high-school students and fundraised internationally to establish a national creative writing program and annual competition in Indonesia. Upon her return to the US, she worked to further build cultural awareness through the sale of Indonesian textiles, internationally inspired jewelry, and study abroad programs. The social impact of her efforts and travels inspired her to help other business leaders redefine business success beyond profit. Since 2010, Jessica has been actively supporting young social entrepreneurs through organizing events, fundraising, recruiting mentors, and facilitating workshops. Alongside these activities, she managed the operations of The Future Leaders Institute and the establishment of SoBiz: Beyond Profit.

She received her MBA from Hult International Business School, and BA from University of Richmond with studies in Rhetoric & Communication, Music and Arts Management. As a result of her work and study experience in the US, UK, Mexico and Indonesia, she is uniquely poised and passionate to serve as a Director for Toniic’s growing network of global impact investors and social entrepreneurs and as a Board Member for Conveners.org.

Craig Zelizer

Craig Zelizer

Dr. Craig Zelizer is the Founder of PCDN.global, which connects a global community of changemakers to the tools, community and opportunities to build careers of impact and scale change. He has strong experience in the development sector, academia and social entrepreneurship. From 2005 to 2016 he served as a professor in the Conflict Resolution program at Georgetown University (where he still teaches). He has led trainings, workshops and consultancies in over 20 countries organizations including with USIP, USAID, CRS, Rotary International and others. Craig is a recognized leader in the social sector field. He has received several awards including George Mason’s School of Conflict Analysis and Resolution’s alumni of the year award and an alumni career achievement award from Central European University. Dr. Zelizer spent two years in Hungary as Fulbright Scholar and was a Boren Fellow in Bosnia. He has published widely on peacebuilding, entrepreneurship, and innovation in higher education.
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