In this another episode in honor of Black History Month, we welcomed Keitha Pansy from the full-time MBA class of 2002. She is currently the Managing Director at the Women of the World Endowment. WoWE provides institutional financial support to accelerate gender lens investing and promote impact for women and girls.
Keitha takes us back to her background from studying accounting at Howard University to finance at Haas and why she decided to get her MBA. She also walks us through her 15 years of blended experience within financial services working with different big companies like JPMorgan and BlackRock.
Keitha also talks about the year she traveled to different places to reflect and enjoy life for a moment. Finally, she shares how she got into impact investing and being part of WoWE.
Why she chose Haas – “When I stepped foot on the campus, it just felt right. I’m finding my tribe. It’s just that easy for me. I had paired up with a first-year who took me up into the Berkeley Hills, and there was this beautiful view. And it’s so vibrant in my mind, still to this day. You can see the Bay, and you can see the mountains, which was so beautiful to me. And I was like, this is my home. It just felt right.”
On finding her true purpose and making an impact – “I believe those who know that they are called for a purpose while they exist here on earth were not meant to just be consumers. We are called to do something greater. I know there’s more. I want to wake up knowing that I’m having an impact. I want to wake up knowing that what I do everyday matters.”
On being part of the impact investing space – “I feel like this is a full circle and what I’m supposed to do with the second half of my life. The first half was a setup. It was the training ground for my purpose-driven life.”
(Transcripts may contain a few typographical errors due to audio quality during the podcast recording.)
Sean: Welcome to the OneHaas alumni podcast. I’m your host, Sean Li. And today I’m joined by Keitha Pansy. She is currently the Managing Director at the Women of the World Endowment. And she is a Haas alum, full-time MBA class of 2002. Welcome to the podcast.
[00:00:28] Keitha: Thanks, Sean. Happy to be here.
[00:00:30] Sean: I’d love to hear where you’re from and where you grew up.
[00:00:34] Keitha: So, I grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas. I have to say half of me is from Little Rock, Arkansas and the other half of me is from Southern Louisiana, from a very small town off the Gulf of Mexico. And that would be the Pansy half of me.
[00:00:52] Sean: And how long did you stay there for it? Like you went to school all the way through in Little Rock?
[00:00:57] Keitha: Yeah. Spent my entire life in Little Rock, Arkansas. It’s where my mother grew up. A wonderful story about my parents because they actually met on a blind date when my father was deployed from Vietnam and he was stationed in Arkansas. And they met through mutual friends.
[00:01:14] And my mother refused to move to the country, which is in the Bayou where my dad is from. And so they landed in. She thought Little Rock was the big city, which where he is from, Little Rock is a big city. So, I grew up there. The selection of my academia has always been strategic. So, I purposefully went to Little Rock Central high school, which is the first school to be desegregated in the South.
[00:01:40] So, I feel like I’ve been riding on shoulders. I am a legacy and product of Little Rock Central Nine. I’m a legacy in product and stand on the shoulders of everyone before me from Howard University. And I’m a legacy and product of the shoulders of everyone who traced the halls of Haas School of Business prior to me.
[00:02:02] Sean: That’s amazing. What did you study at Howard?
[00:02:05] Keitha: Accounting, if you can believe it. When people meet me, they’re like you went into public accounting? But once again it was, Oh, who was it? Whoever, I don’t know if it was Kaplan or whatever. But I went into Howard and I was like, I’m going to be a marketing major for whatever reason. I don’t know why. And I always had, I was going to like just get my undergrad degree in business and then carry that on to be like an SEC attorney. I don’t know where I got that.
[00:02:37] Sean: Pretty specific.
[00:02:37] Keitha: From in Little Rock, but yeah, I wanted to be an SEC attorney. And my first semester there, I tried marketing and I was like just don’t think I’m, there’s just not enough meat there for me. And so, I loved my accounting one class, and then I linked up like after that first year with a Kaplan person, and then I became their student advisor for the campus. So, then me taking and studying for the CPA exam was all free. So, I was like, this is a win-win. But I loved accounting. I love taxation; had really good professors there.
[00:03:17] Dr. Hill is my favorite. Glenda Glover who is now the president of Tennessee State University as well as the president of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, got me my first job cause I went to school during the school year, through the summer.
[00:03:36] And she was my accounting professor back then before she was a university president. And she was like, you need a job. You don’t have a resume like there’s nothing on your resume but school. And she helped me get my first job doing internal audits with the AARP, the American Association of Retired persons in Washington, DC.
[00:03:55] And actually that was my first, I would say air quotes. I won’t say real job because I actually did work freshman year. I forget my dad got me my first job. And so, freshman year I worked on Capitol Hill for a year for my junior and senior senators. And that was a great time because that is when now I really about to age myself. Bill Clinton was elected as president.
[00:04:18] So, it was good to be an Arkansan and be in Washington DC. So, I worked for my senators and I was like, I’m going to be a lobbyist. I’m going to be an attorney. I’ll be an attorney, an SEC attorney. Then I’m going to be a lobbyist because I spent so much time with lobbyists while I was on the Hill working for my senators. Yeah, it was good. It was a good experience. I would do undergrad all over again at Howard University. Absolutely.
[00:04:44] Sean: What brought you to Haas?
[00:04:45] Keitha: Haas is interesting as I didn’t know much about California. And I had applied through the consortium. There’s a consortium that works to get people of color into MBA programs. And you get a scholarship with that. And so, I filled out that application, and actually, UNC was my first choice. Listen, I was still young and I pitched to UNC. I was like, ah, I love Michael Jordan. It’d be cool to wear like
[00:05:20] Sean: Hey, Kenan Flagler’s a good school.
[00:05:23] Keitha: And so, I picked them as my first choice and it was also was a way for me to pivot closer to home because I knew eventually I would go to move back to the South, right?
[00:05:32] Not ready to go back to the deep South. So, North Carolina is a safe bet. And my scholarship went to UNC. I went to visit Kenan Flagler, and I was like, it’s not a good fit. So, for me, my intuition taps in, and I know where I’m going to fit in. And I had met more people from the admissions team during like, you know, we go to these GMAC conferences and things of that nature. You’re learning, the schools are getting to know you.
[00:05:59] And it was a Haas weekend. And I said I’m going to go on out. And I remember when I stepped foot on the campus, it just felt right. And everyone that I met, I was like, I’m finding my tribe. It’s just that easy for me. I had paired up with a first-year who took me up into the Berkeley Hills and there was this beautiful view. And it’s so vibrant in my mind, still to this day. And at some point in the heels, right above the school, you can see the Bay and you can see the mountains and it was raining and it was foggy.
[00:06:36] And that was so beautiful to me. And I was like, this is my home. It just felt right. So, after meeting with the admissions staff, getting to know them, and then meeting with the Haas ambassadors, and being paired up with some first and second years, I was like, this is my tribe.
[00:06:53] And so then it’s okay, I’m going. No to UNC. So no to that scholarship. Let’s rework it so I can come to Berkeley. And I liked the fact that when I think about my academic career, there are two things. I was like, I went to Howard. I went to Haas. Were there some similarities? And as I reflected, these are both universities that stand for something. They are both activists. Both goals test the status quo. And so similar to why I went to Howard, the same situation with Berkeley,
[00:07:27] Keitha: Both very liberal in their thoughts, but also first on so many different levels and which Haas felt right. And it proved and served me very well.
[00:07:38] Sean: So, my next question naturally is why the MBA?
[00:07:42] Keitha: That’s an easy one. Oh, so as a public accountant I probably worked on one or two IPO’s. Maybe a little bit more, but there was one at the end, it was a tech company based in Maryland. And I was spending so much time with the investment bankers who were of course digging into the country’s financial statements that I had audited and spent several quarters with.
[00:08:05] And it’s I want to know what they’re doing. And then I just, I really just started to get to know the bankers on the other side of the table who are all men. And I need to understand what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, where are these models, and where are my numbers going? Because I feel like I’m feeding you all of my intelligence. And so, they started to share their career with me.
[00:08:24] Keitha: It was an introduction for me like a deeper dive into finance and how the markets work. And I learned that from my investment banking partners on that deal. And we were so closely attached. That was like, there is more for me to learn. So, as we speak about my journey, you will see every time I pivot it’s because I want to learn more, because, okay, they’re taking the knowledge that I have or what I’ve done within these financial statements.
[00:08:52] And put it into a model. What does that model, what are you doing with this, and how are we taking this company public? So, that was just my introduction into public finance. And that was the catalyst for me going to get my MBA.
[00:09:06] Sean: I feel like we’re similar.
[00:09:10] Keitha: What are they doing?
[00:09:11] Sean: I feel like I’m like your shadow about 15 years later. Because I see that you did investment banking as an internship during your MBA at JP Morgan. And I did the same thing. And it looks like you didn’t stay in investment banking, which I also didn’t.
[00:09:31] Keitha: Yeah.
[00:09:32] Sean: I got the learning I wanted out of it.
[00:09:34] Keitha: I got the learning I wanted, and that was the summer of 2001. It was not a good time in the Bay area, not for the markets. I was glad that I was going back to school. There were a lot of people around me getting let go. It was a hard time. That was a tough summer. And I was just like, Oh, my God, thank God I have one more year in business school. I’ll figure this out.
[00:09:56] Sean: Yeah, that’s amazing. So, tell us a little bit more about BlackRock. You have very big names on your resume. You have PwC, JP Morgan, and then The Siegfried Group, and then BlackRock. What was your transition and pivots after Haas? I love to hear about that.
[00:10:15] Keitha: So, maybe pivots. So, let’s go back to me in my investment banking internship. Because I just knew I’m going to business school. I’m going to be an investment banker. I don’t care what anybody says. Because I’ve already got the foundation of this from public accounting. Done some IPO’s, let’s just put a bow on it and make it pretty well. I interviewed with every investment bank on the street. Goldman, I was already at JP Morgan, Deutsche Bank, UBS city, you name it, and everyone’s like, Oh, you’re a better fit for our private bank. I would throw like internal temper tantrums, and I’m like, they don’t know what they’re talking about but my first female mentor, her name is Li Wasson and she worked in the private bank at JP Morgan.
[00:11:06] And so I’m telling her what’s happening with me. She’s like you are a better fit for a private bank. Because of my personality and how I would relate to individuals. And because I trusted her and she was my guidance, I was like, there’s got to be something to this because I’m meeting with all the different banks and everyone’s shifting my resume to the private bank. So, that’s how I went on with the private bank and wasn’t there for long. I was there for three years. Functioning as a senior banker was a great experience because my first year, I actually did a rotation through all of the groups.
[00:11:41] Early mornings I sat on the desk with the portfolio managers, but then I’d split my time with the lending person or the credit team. And we were in San Francisco. So, our team was small. There may have been 25 of us back then. And then I spent time with the trust and estate attorney.
[00:11:55] And then in between, it was me being a banker. It was a hustle those three years, or at least, definitely the first year, because I did a rotation with every like I would say, service provider for ultra-high net worth client. So, holistically, I could bring to the table the totality of the platform.
[00:12:12] So, that was a really good experience. But then after three years, it was like, huh? We don’t meet due to associates anymore. And me and the, there was only two of us who came out of the MBA program in that office of three associates at that time. And my role was considered no longer necessary.
[00:12:30] That hurt me. I was like, wait a minute. And I won’t say the other person’s name, but he too, and he actually had more experience than me before he went to business school. And I remember coming back to my desk and he’s just like, let’s go talk. And we both had the same conversation with the head of the office at that point in time, you’re like, Oh, my God is, this really happened to us.
[00:12:53] And we just got out of business school three years ago, three and a half years. And it was so here’s the start of having good its thick skin, right? This is the real world. You’re an adult. You’re not, I’m not a grading anymore. Can’t call your parents, then they can do figure it out it.
[00:13:08] So, then I just got my hustle back on. In my mind, I was like, I’m leaving California. I’m too far away from my family. I’m too far away from the core of my friend group, which of course came from Howard University. I’m going back East.
[00:13:25] So, my job offer for JP Morgan was in New York, packed up, moved here. Did three months or so associate training and then they had an aha moment. Like we need an associate in the San Francisco office and you’re the only person in the program who went to a school in so we need you to go back. So, that’s how I landed back in the Bay.
[00:13:52] Sean: I see. I see.
[00:13:53] Keitha: For another 14 years, but it was all purposeful. Because as I’m looking to go back and I remember I had an offer with Merrill Lynch in Washington DC, and I didn’t take it. And it was with their private, I don’t know if they call it a private bank, but their model was just different from JP Morgan’s. And I landed with this very small Delaware-based financial consulting firm. But I had not worked for six months and I said, you know what?
[00:14:21] Want to take it. And they hired me to step in and audit over 200 commingled trust funds. What’s that I don’t know for the former Barclays Global Investors. Now had I heard of BGI? Absolutely. Because I live in the Bay area. And so BGI is huge. BGI was a global asset manager, of course, I’ve heard of them.
[00:14:45] So, I was like, Oh, this will be cool. I’ll learn asset management. Because I’m like coming from the sales side. So, when I was in JP Morgan private bank, it was corporate finance.
[00:14:56] It was still part of like investment bank, a private bank. It wasn’t part of the asset management vertical. And so, I went in and I audited you had a team. Commingled trust funds had no idea what that even was, learned pretty quickly. And at the end of the audit BGI needed someone to come in and create a governance structure and like processes and procedures around launching new investment products and new investment strategies. And since I was already there, I was already working with BGI auditing the commingled trust funds. It made sense.
[00:15:37] Sean: You said Barclays?
[00:15:39] Keitha: Barclays Global Investors. So, Barclays Global Investors, which no longer exists because we merged with BlackRock in 2009 was the asset management arm of Barclays bank in the UK. And if you recall all the regulations that were happening, like in 2008 and 2009 within the banking system, we ended up the asset management arm merged with BlackRock in 2009.
[00:16:08] Sean: So, you have merged into the largest asset manager in the world.
[00:16:11] Keitha: BGI was the largest asset manager in the world.
[00:16:14] Sean: Oh, I see. Okay.
[00:16:16] Keitha: Cause we were the index provider. You talk about, iShares, indexing, that comes out of BGI. Yeah.
[00:16:24] Sean: You are teaching me a lot of new things today about finance that I didn’t know.
[00:16:28] Keitha: So, it was BGI that we’re the largest asset manager. That was my entryway into asset management. Little did I know I was just along for the ride. But I was learning so much and I loved my job. At the end of the night as a consultant, I was like, here you go.
[00:16:47] Once again, it’s a package with a bow on it, and the person who I was working with to create what was then called the new product office, he was like, Hey, I’ve only hired one other person. and I need another person. And the process, you’ve been building it out. Why don’t you come on and work with me full time? Yeah, of course, I will. And that was my next eight or so years with the firm and I loved it. I learned everything you want to know about product development, different investment vehicles, indexing. I was able to work around the globe and around the sun.
[00:17:27] Agnostic to where the client existed in the world if they were investing or creating, if the portfolio was going to be managed in Americas and it was fixed income or index equity, it came to me. And so, I got to see the entire ecosystem and I’m going to pivot to at BlackRock. Because was only, let’s see three years or so with BGI, and then we merged. And so, I covered for eight years index equity strategy, new strategies, and new fixed income strategies, and left it. Those are the good days.
[00:18:07] Sean: How do they get you back in New York?
[00:18:09] Keitha: So here, Keitha goes total number of fingers, what’s next? What more can I learn? And I have been chatting with yet another mentor. Gosh, I’ve been very fortunate I’ve just crossed paths with individuals who have guided me and continue to guide me professionally and personally at some point the relationship pivots when it is an authentic mentor or mentee relationship. But I don’t even think of them as mentors because I also think mentors can be peer to peer. It could be someone less experienced than me. So, I got to give them a new name. They’re all part of the Keitha Krewe. And Krew with a K R E W E. So, one of my BlackRock mentors who had already shifted from San Francisco to New York I had been speaking to him for a few years, like what’s next?
[00:19:02] Time for me to move. I could be sitting here launching fixed-income products for the rest of my life. And then what? And I saw him roaming the floor one day in San Francisco and I was like, Hey, what are you doing here? He’s like, oh, I’m looking for you. Come up to my office.
[00:19:17] I was like, okay, cool. And I was offered two opportunities on his team and the one I took was a new group where I would have the opportunity to continue to build out products. But for our defined contribution team, which is 401k assets are, we’re just. Really profit sharing. So, I went to work for the defined contribution team on a group where I would do some ad hoc projects for him as well as continue building out a pipeline of products that would specifically be meant for our DC clients. And I could’ve stayed in San Francisco.
[00:20:00] And there was no bud. Cause I was actually looking to pivot to New York because we were headquartered here. I just wanted to have that experience. And part of it might’ve been a little bit selfish because I thought I was supposed to be there 14 years ago with JP Morgan.
[00:20:19] And so, that’s how I finally landed in New York. It’s a very roundabout way of coming back to the city. But it made sense because BlackRock is headquartered here. And so, I was only in that role for maybe 18 months. And then I got tapped to be chief of staff for the then global head of institutional client business. And it was in that season where I started to noodle on. There’s gotta be more to my life.
[00:20:44] Keitha: I don’t want to say this happens for everyone, but I do believe those who know that they are called for a purpose while they exist here on earth, we’re not meant to just be consumers. We are called to do something greater. And I do believe in God. And I just kept felt like there was something on the inside of me shine. It was just like, what are you doing with your life? My mom started saying it was a midlife crisis, right? He’s you’re not through a midlife crisis. You can figure this out. I was like, I’m not going through a midlife crisis. I just know there’s more. I want to wake up knowing that I’m having an impact. I want to wake up knowing that what I do everyday matters.
[00:21:29] And absolutely the assets that BlackRock manages is important. I think to me it was more so about, I want to know who I’m impacting directly. And I knew it’s just safe to say I’ve looked at some non-for-profits and I didn’t think I was a non-for-profit type of person, but now where I’ve landed, it’s actually a five Oh one C3.
[00:21:59] I was being directed towards, Oh, we could go work. And the DEI group, the diversity and inclusion group within HR. And I was like, but I don’t know anything about HR and I don’t, that just didn’t sit well with me, it wasn’t jiving with myself. I was like I could learn HR like I learned everything else, but I’m just like, no, that hasn’t been my background. And I don’t want to do that group of a disservice. And also just because I’m black doesn’t mean I have to sit in a DEI role.
[00:22:28] Because DEI should be for all people if we’re going to get it right. So, in order to be more reflective, in 2018, I just traveled. I need to sit and be with myself and just enjoy life for a moment. And I’ll be honest, my last year with the firm, it wasn’t my happiest.
[00:22:48] But what’s one year to like 10 years of joy and walking away with great experience, but more importantly the people that I’ve met along this journey, JP Morgan, and BlackRock, and The Siegfried Group, we’ve all, a lot of people have transitioned and moved on to other entities, other organizations, or maybe doing their own thing or maybe taking time off. And it’s the relationships that have mattered to me the most. And they outlive any tenure ship at an organization.
[00:23:18] Sean: I have to ask. Where did you go for a year?
[00:23:21] Keitha: Oh, yes. I had a friend turning 50, and so we were spending a little bit over a week in Bali cause that’s his favorite place and he used to live there. But me and another girlfriend decided to tack on Dubai and Abu Dhabi. We went to Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and then met everyone in Bali. So that was trip one.
[00:23:40] Sean: Sex and the City #2?
[00:23:43] Keitha: I wish! So, it was a good time, cause I’d never been to the Middle East and it was just a good cultural experience. We went roaming in some areas we probably should’ve never been walking in Dubai, but we’re like, we don’t care, here too, like African-American women, like we’re going to find this store so we can get some authentic clothing. It was great. It was a wonderful experience. So, that was trip one. I did do some stateside trips. I always make my way back out to California for a week.
[00:24:13] So, I’ll do the Bay Area, wine country, and then had to LA. Went to Paris, France. It’s one of my favorite cities. Went to Sicily, and from Sicily, me and three girlfriends island-hopped in the Aeolian sea for a week that was like pure joy. And then after that, I went to Portugal, to Lisbon, to visit my very first Haas friend who we’re still friends to this day, but she’s the first person I met at Haas and we just happened to both be from Little Rock, Arkansas. And we both happened to go to the same high school. What are the chances? What are the odds?
[00:24:54] So, I spent some time with her in Lisbon, which, Oh, I feel like I ate my way through Lisbon, is so good. Food was so good. Yeah.
[00:25:03] Keitha: And then I did a lot of walking in that city. I loved it. Cause she was actually getting her second master’s. So, during the day I was by myself and I just explored. I went to Alabama for the first time in my life. But my best friend was getting married and I was like if I’m in Birmingham, I’m going to go see all of the historical sites, everything related to the civil rights movement. And then made a trip down to Montgomery to see the new museums there. I finally made my way to Amsterdam and then spent some time, I wanted to spend some time in the original Harlem and the original Brooklyn so I wanted to make it to the original Brooklyn.
[00:25:41] Keitha: But I didn’t. I did make it to Harlem. And so that was a fun trip. That was fun. And that was a lot of exploring by myself.
[00:25:48] Keitha: So that was 2018, but in that 2018, it gave me time to just be still and experience life for a moment and reflect. And by that fall, I was like, okay. How can I harness and leverage my experiences within financial services for good? That’s all I knew.
[00:26:06] And you start to connect the dots and people start to connect the dots for you. So, at the end of that year, I met a woman, Patricia Lizarraga, who had come from investment banking. She is the founder of Hypatia Capital. And her parents met at UC Berkeley, go figure! Everything happens for a reason.
[00:26:25] But she didn’t go to UC Berkeley. I met her and she had left her job as a managing director and I can’t remember which organization but it launched her own entity in hopes to focus on women in leadership. And so, here’s my entryway into impact, into the gender space, and what that means.
[00:26:47] And we had just landed our first deal. So, I was hired to do investor relations, fundraising for that deal. That position didn’t last long. This is also an introduction to gender lens investing and it’s an introduction to startups because we’re a small team. And primary function there was fundraising.
[00:27:09] So, you’re doing research on individuals seeing where does their investment thesis aligns with gender. And if it doesn’t, why not. But I loved also being back in front of investors, which I had not done since JP Morgan days. And just thinking through what are the options and opportunities for accredited individuals around gender to invest in women and what that meant the deal fell through.
[00:27:39] So, then there was nothing for me to fundraise for. And here is really what kicked off, okay, I’m onto something here. And what does that look like? What does impact investing mean? And so, I just started sharing what I’m interested in doing with people from across my journey.
[00:27:58] People I’ve met at Howard University to all the mentors along the way. And one by one, it’s okay, I know someone, you need to go speak to them. Okay. Wait, I know someone over here, go meet with them. Also, in that year, I took some classes around corporate social responsibility.
[00:28:17] Met some people in that class, took another class around financial inclusion. So, it’s always if I don’t know it, I’m going to go and learn it. But from those classes, people started just connecting the dots for me to other individuals or institutions in this impact space. It was not an easy journey but it was also purposeful. That makes sense.
[00:28:42] Sean: Wow. Okay. That makes, that does make sense.
[00:28:45] Keitha: Journey of discovery.
[00:28:47] Sean: What is WoWE?
[00:28:57] Keitha: WoWE. We are a unique endowment. I like to say because most endowments are attached to a university or an entity that will feed into their Corpus. We are not. So, we are a standalone endowment but we are 100% focused on gender lens investing at the intersection now of environmental and social issues that challenge women of today.
[00:29:24] Our thesis is on women as actors and deploying capital to our women can drive solutions, sustainable solutions, scalable solutions, innovative solutions around the issues that impact us when it might come to healthcare or the care economy itself, which has been heightened since COVID, to racial justice, social justice. So, we look at gender as an overlay. When you think about the UN’s sustainable development goals, there’s gender play in each of them.
[00:30:00] That’s our thesis and that’s who we are. And what attracted me to WoWE was just that as well as the founder and CEO, Patience Marime Ball, who has over a decade of gender lens investing primarily through the IFC or the world bank. And she is an absolute expert and thought leader in this space.
[00:30:24] So, as I look at opportunities and where I want it to land part mission, but also who am I going to be working with? Every day when I wake up and say, this is, this feels good. Who is that person? And it was Patience. And I was just like my interview with her went on. I think she interviewed me for about two and a half hours on a Friday afternoon.
[00:30:48] And I was just like, Oh my God, I hope I’m not tired. I hope I’m showing up in excellence. And it all, when I, Sean, when I tell you it all just fell into place because I had heard about Patience early on, let’s say May of last year through another Haas alum and through an organization called Tonic, which Tonic is a membership-based organization focused on taking individuals through the impact journey. So, you can be pretty far along, or you can be stepping into your impact journey, but they’re going to give you the ecosystem to do just that. So, you can refine what impact means for you.
[00:31:29] And so, that’s where I initially heard about Patience. So, it was full circle months later, it was the head of investments at Tonic who knew about the opportunity with WoWE and said, I have someone for you. And it was. And there you go. And so, I started at the top of the year. There’s a lot to learn, right?
[00:31:52] It’s different. When you’re talking about impact investing, it’s very different than I would say, just your normal stocks and bonds. Very different than me creating a product that’s, okay, what are we benchmarking it to? What instruments do we need to try to make this happen? It’s different. You know, when I say we’re different, we are raising assets. We have a very audacious vision that I do think is viable and one that’s needed.
[00:32:18] And we’ve aligned it with the UN goals. Like we want to raise 5 billion by 2030, a hundred percent invested in women that will be product development in the public market side, as well as co-investments and the private markets side to on grants. We think of it as triple impact.
[00:32:41] You donate into our Corpus, we’ll be able to provide not only market-rate risk-adjusted returns, but also impact returns. And then the third piece is we will then take a portion of those returns and on grant them into organizations that are also creating scalable solutions around women or tools that allow us to invest in women.
[00:33:06] Sean: Yeah. That’s amazing. I am hoping if you have the bandwidth to work together and co-host some interviews for our women’s history month.
[00:33:16] Sean: This is, this has been really enjoyable. Just hearing your story. This is what we love to get. Because the last thing I want to do is have a Q and A we’re just like, all right, Keith, where’d you go to high school? All right. What’d you do in college? All right. What’d you do? It’s just tell your story, right?
[00:33:30] Keitha: I was, I think by nature. Tell me about the Pansy Jane. There you go. I do feel like this is full circle and what I’m supposed to be doing with the second half of my life. Like the first half of my life was a setup. It was the training ground for my purpose-driven life.
[00:33:50] And it can happen within the world of the capital market, within the world of financial services. And I’ve known that I’m excited to be introduced to the ecosystem of players in this space because it’s very different than what I would see if I was at a big Wall Street bank. Yeah, you’re right. You’re about to say something.
[00:34:20] Sean: I was going to say, I actually have a lot of questions I’m gonna reserve to keep you coming back around, especially as a woman in finance. And I’m really curious to hear some stories there, but we’re going to reserve that, listeners, for women’s history month as we’ll have those conversations then. But really the last thing sometimes if I see a bookcase behind someone, have to ask them for a book recommendation.
[00:34:44] Keitha: Okay. I will give you the one that I actually, I don’t know if you’ve heard of the Forte Foundation which amazing organization focused on getting more women into business programs. The president just put out a list, I’ll send you the link actually of like here’s what top black female leaders or something of that nature are reading. And so, I’m reading The Color of Money: Black Banks and the Racial Wealth Gap.
[00:35:06] Sean: Interesting. Yeah.
[00:35:10] Keitha: Which was something of interest to me. I like to share with people before COVID hit just about the racial wealth gap, this focuses on black banks. There is another book, The Color of Law. It’s about the housing market. The intersectionality and how all of this plays out that is what is of interest to me. So, that is the book that I am reading right now, along with a myriad of others.
[00:35:34] Sean: Color of Law.
[00:35:35] Keitha: Yeah. Color of Law. Those are my two books.
[00:35:38] Sean: There, there’s a book since we’re along this line that I really enjoyed last year called The Soul of Money and I’ve heard that book, but it’s, it was a very, it was a very eye-opening book.
[00:35:49] It goes into the core tenant, in my opinion, was around the sole money isn’t for the sake of just buying things, but it’s what are you doing with it? How are you, how are you making an impact with it? And I thought it’s a really great book.
[00:36:02] Keitha: I will pick it up.
[00:36:04] Sean: Alrighty, Keitha, this has been such a pleasure. We’re going to hear a voice again soon. So, we’re not parting ways, but thank you so much for taking the time today.
[00:36:12] Keitha: Thanks for having me, Sean. This has been my pleasure.
[00:36:20] Sean: Thanks again for tuning in to this episode of the OneHaas podcast. Enjoyed our show today? Please remember to hit that subscribe or follow button on your favorite podcast player. We’d also really appreciate you giving us a five-star rating and review. Looking for more content? Please check out our website at haas.fm.
[00:36:37] There you can subscribe to our monthly newsletter and check out some of our other Berkeley Haas podcasts. And until next time, go bears.