Friend expanding horizon

Friday is the last day that Stephanie Gerteiser will be working for TBLI. She began in October 2011, and she has been a fantastic colleague. How she put up with me is amazing. After all those years of total commitment, she has decided to expand her horizons and try her hand at new challenges. She will be missed.

When I first met Stephanie, through the introduction of a friend, I felt she would fit in perfectly as consultant and conference curator. She was always critical and striving for excellence. Improving the quality of the content of the TBLI  Conference dramatically became her focus. She made the Conference a true learning experience, and always went the extra mile. Just when we thought everything was done, Stephanie would drive us crazy with finding mistakes. This definitely raised the bar and kept us on our toes and it was reflected in the final product.

Stephanie has a fantastic sense of humour and she understood mine. It was always a joy to joke around while we were working. Fun and being professional were equally important to her. Oh yeah, we must not forget the handbags. For some strange reason she was the Yoda of luxury handbags and their cost. Stephanie would always point out a specific brand when she spotted one at a TBLI event.

She is a wonderful soul with high integrity. There is no grey. Sustainability, honesty, values, ethics were her passion and she wouldn’t tolerate those who crossed the line. Must have been tough working in the financial sector. Being a working mom with two kids and a husband who often had to travel to Africa, Asia or Latin America created quite a challenge. Stephanie always managed to juggle everything and get the job done. Very impressive.

Stephanie really cares and  is a very authentic person, which is the most important character trait for me. There isn’t another person lurking in the shadows.. What you see is what you get?

I will miss her constantly correcting me and my statistics or exaggerations. I will miss our weekly update on the latest tv episodes that she never watched as she didn’t have a streaming tv service. I will miss her positive, can do attitude. If I was ever down and some positive development happened, no matter how minor, I loved sharing with Stephanie. She was always so happy and excited and saw the potential. We all should be so positive and as Monty Python said “always look on the bright side”. That was always a joy. I will miss our bike ride from our previous office and discussing world events or just gossip.

Whatever she decides to do, she will succeed and make friends along the way. She has clearly left a significant impression on TBLI. I wish her the best, as she deserves the best. Most of all I will miss her. I am sure we will still be collaborating. At least, I hope so.

Stephanie

Stay in touch. If you ever need anything, just ask. Don’t forget to get a streaming tv service and watch Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Big hug.

Your eternal friend.

Robert

Je suis Bernie Sanders

Recently I got a great compliment from a woman I know. She said that “you are the Bernie Sanders of the financial sector”. I was thrilled and humbled. Then I thought there are many people trying to improve the societal and environmental condition by changing the financial sector. Don’t we all work in silence with little recognition. Haven’t we all been rolling the stone up the hill over many years, enduring hardships and ridicule. We have all been excluded from the “grownups table” where the real decisions have been made, because we don’t “understand”. All the time, our message has been clear, without compromise, never changing, simple, straightforward, and inclusive not exclusive.

Yes.  Je suis Bernie Sanders, and I am honoured to wear this badge of distinction and so are many of my friends, We just don’t all have a Brooklyn accent.

Idea

How about creating an SME fund for Migrants to start small enterprises and allow them to work for themselves. This would be much more inspiring, hopefully and beneficial for all.

Podcast

This is a very good podcast about Warren Buffet betting a hedge fund that an index fund will outperform a Hedge fund. Listen.

Show me the money!

TBLI has worked for the last 20 years to educate asset owners and managers about ESG (Environment, Social and Governance) and Impact Investing. Through our conferences, seminars, salons, private dinners, lectures, MBA programs, we have been able to build capacity and get “buy in” around sustainable investment. This capacity building is essential but thankless. There is no great ribbon cutting ceremony. It is about digging holes and not cutting ribbons. The process is farming not hunting. It takes time.

Throughout the 20 years of capacity building, I have always been asked for more research about ESG and Impact  by the financial industry. I often wonder will more research unlock more money flows towards ESG and Impact. I am not that convinced that that is the main bottleneck. The financial sector is quite predictable. If they see self interest, opportunity and money flows, they will invest. Does more research achieve that? On its own, I don’t believe so. It helps, but many investors use this as excuse for not investing.

Take a look at the financial crisis of 2007-2008. There were many reasons for the collapse. One particular product that triggered the melt down; namely, subprime collateralized debt obligations backed by financially unsound mortgages. How much research was done on that product as a risk? I couldn’t find very much. That didn’t stop the massive tsunami of money that went into it.

Research is important and it needs to be continued. However, we need to strengthen its impact by aligning with the drivers of the financial sector; self interests, opportunities and money flows. This can be achieved through continued efforts on research, seminars, editorials, investor salons, conferences, retreats, learning journeys, inspirational talks, private dinners, and other forms of capacity building. TBLI will continue these capacity building efforts on ESG and Impact  Investing.

Nearly all phone calls I receive from mega banks or institutional investors is not about the latest research, but “what is my competitor doing”. To paraphrase Rod from Jerry Maguire “SHOW ME THE MONEY”.

Help us increase our capacity building by making a donation to TBLI Foundation.

Day off to Reflect

Every year on Feb. 9th, my birthday, I take a day off to reflect on the past year and the coming year and just chill.  I will be doing that tomorrow. Thanks to those who have already sent me birthday wishes. 2016 will be a year of great transition. Looking forward to each moment.

If you want to do something special for my birthday, give a donation to TBLI Foundation

I hope you enjoy this speech I recently gave in Stockholm. My dear friend Karl-Henrik (Kalle) Robert of The Natural Step organised the StepWise Conference-The Future of Leadership is Now. It was particularly special because King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden was in attendance. What was even more surprising is that he stayed to hear my talk, and enjoyed it. Thank you Kalle for the kind invitation and wonderful experience.