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.


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.


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.

TBLI ASIA & Whacko People

Last week we held our first TBLI CONFERENCE ASIA  in Singapore. I had a fantastic experience, as did those who attended. Many came up to me who had attended TBLI in the past or who had never attended and were very impressed with the event and the quality of the people they met.

I particularly remember one person, who was invited by his friend to attend. This gentleman was very engaging with everyone he met and had worked in the real estate and hotel business for quite a while. We sat together over lunch and he leaned over to his friend, who had invited him and said “This has been great. Finally, you introduce me to intelligent, professional, authentic people. No whackos.”

I guess that is the best testimonial you can get.


Dear Robert,

..I’m delighted with the quality of both the content and the audience for the first TBLI/Insead event in Asia….I found that I and most of my fellow participants both learned a lot and made valuable new connections.  Thanks very much for your and your team’s efforts to make the event a success and I look forward to working with you in the future.

Ian Potter
Distinguished Fellow 

Hi Robert / Stephanie / Tiffany

It was great to meet you all and your team. I am impressed by TBLI value based culture and dedication to your mission.

Will be a pleasure and privilege to support you all in any way.

Wishing you all the best in your future endeavors and look forward to be in touch.

Safe travels. Best Regards

Lalit Matai
Operating Partner
Tau Investment Management

It was excellent! I did now know what to expect. I am sure it will be much bigger next time, but will regret it. We became almost like a “family”, so easy to reach out and talk with delegates. Got many hints and contacts. The presentations and the moderators where high class to the seminaries I went to. I also liked very much Robert’s introductory speech. Thank You.Anonymous

Upcoming Events:

We are particularly excited about the upcoming TBLI CONFERENCES. I want to particularly thank the sponsors that have committed to supporting us this year. If you want to be added to this list, contact me.

City of Buenos Aires
Copenhagen Business School
BNY Mellon
Triodos Investment Management
ASN Bank
AXA Investment Managers
Asia Capital Enterprises
Vietnam Holding
City Development
Wildlife Works
Aqal Capital
TBLI CONFERENCE LATIN AMERICA May 28-29, 2015 Invitation only (no costs). Hosted by City of Buenos Aires.
TBLI CONFERENCE EUROPE November 19-20, 2015

TBLI History, Business Schools and Podcasts


TBLI has been held 27 times over the years, in many different countries. One of the most memorable events was Paris, 2006. We had a spectacular location at the Palais Brogniart, and kept it there for 2 years. Unbelievable food. I should say food art. Fantastic program. One particular session that stands out was a session on Faith Consistent Investing, with representatives from the Catholic, Islamic, Jewish and Shinto Community. The room was packed and we were all happily surprised by the interest. Definitely worth repeating and we will this year.

These photos brings back great memories, particularly the two boys at the bottom. Sam and Silas, my sons.

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Sustainability now key selling point for business schools attracting students

After years of neglect, students are now demanding business courses include sustainability on the syllabus . Good to hear.

Good News!

I was catching up on my podcasts. One particular podcast that is a great inspiration is  The Good Fight. The podcast highlights people who are fighting the good fight for the benefit of all. When I was listening to the various inspiring heros and what they did to achieve their goals, understaffed, underfunded, against great odds,  without any fanfare or special attention it really lifted my spirits. Most important they were successful.  It reminded me of TBLI and the work we do, as well as all of those in our network. All working to improve the social and environmental condition. Check out the podcast and listen to the Win List. A weekly list of progressive wins. Good dose of good news. Oh yes. Come join our community working to create an economy based upon well being by attending TBLI.