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Welcoming new talent on the SocialFinance.ca team
SocialFinance.ca is excited to welcome three new assistant editors: Read Guernsey, Mathu Jeyaloganathan and Syeda Zaki. Each bring a variety of perspectives to the community and are excited to start their summer term with the MaRS Centre for Impact Investing.
Currently, Read is working as a student policy analyst with Human Resources and Skills Development Canada in their Community Development & Partnerships Directorate. He will soon be returning to finish his Master’s Degree in Public Administration at Carleton University. With a Bachelor’s degree in Management (specialization in Entrepreneurship) from Dalhousie, and considerable experience working as a project manager for rural population health and epidemiological research, Read has a “hodgepodge” background that will bring a unique view to socialfinance.ca.
Read, what do you think the role of private companies/corporations is in advancing social finance in Canada?
The role of the private sector will depend on their interest and willingness to explore this market, which depends on many other factors (government incentives, a critical mass of capital, etc), but I feel rests principally on a critical change in culture. Awareness of social finance within private companies is at best, low or misunderstood. It will take time to describe, explain, and demonstrate that these initiatives, like Community Bonds, or Social Finance Investment Funds (and of course Social Impact Bonds)and that they not only work, but work well, and could be a lot better. Of course, a changing culture is a slow and unpredictable beast, but if (nay, once!) more private companies jump aboard, the next step will be to determine where private companies ‘fit’ within the social finance landscape and where the strengths and skills of the private sector complement the other two for greatest social impact. First thing’s first = ping private sector’s interest to do good ‘better’.
Mathu Jeyaloganathan is currently completing her Honours Business Administration Degree at the Richard Ivey School of Business in London, Ontario. Prior to starting her business degree, Mathu spent two years in the Media and Public Interest program at the University of Western Ontario, where she developed her intrigue for social issues. Her interest further developed, while working at Western Heads East, a university affiliated organization, where she saw how social entrepreneurship could empower the female community in Arusha, Tanzania. Mathu hopes this opportunity will help her find the intersection between her two interests: business and sustainable development.
Mathu, why do you think Business Schools in Canada should incorporate Social Finance into their curriculum?
I believe that students need to know that the business acumen they gain in Business School can be applied to make a difference in the larger community. Even the smallest introduction of Social Finance into the curriculum can introduce the notion of how business students are needed to help introduce sustainability to philanthropic community. I think that if they were informed, for many students social finance can become a point of passion, interest and maybe a career.
Syeda Zaki previously worked with the Acumen Fund in Pakistan as a consultant on the health, education and microfinance portfolios. While there, she focused on due diligence, metrics reporting and post investment management assistance with their investee companies. Her experience at Acumen took her to many fascinating parts of the country where she gained significant field experience witnessing social entrepreneurship and finance in action.
Prior, Syeda’s worked in the financial sector in equity research and asset management and at GlaxoSmithKline in finance & business development. Syeda received a bachelor’s degree in economics and finance from Queen Mary, University of London. As a newcomer to Toronto, she is excited about exploring the local impact investing space.
Sayeda, What do you think the differences will be in the Social Finance Community between Pakistan and Canada?
Pakistan as a developing country faces vastly different social issues than Canada. In Pakistan, poverty, a lack of education, access to healthcare and clean drinking water pose enormous challenges to society; the government plays a negligible role in facilitating initiatives to alleviate such issues. However, in Canada the ecosystem seems far more facilitative to new initiatives in social finance and entrepreneurship. I’m excited to learn how impact investing can fill the gap where the government or private sector may otherwise be failing to do so.