TGIF, remember? Thank goodness I’ve Friends! I met this week’s object of my gratitude at a Meetup last winter referred to me by a b-school classmate. Robert was the speaker, and presented his long strategic efforts to get mainstream investors aware of and bought into Triple Bottom Line investing. Most of us had not heard of him or his organization because of TBLI’s focus in Europe (until their fabulous first NYC conference in June), as well as mainstream commercial investors rather than the ‘tribe’ of impact investors, CSR professionals, or social entrepreneurs. This choice makes Robert’s work a steeper uphill battle, but with a markedly higher upside in terms of the impact he has when he does convince a client or partner of the logic and potential of Triple Bottom Line Investing.
When I sent Robert a LinkedIn request after the Meetup, he replied with an apology for having provided what he felt was an inadequate response to my question about professional opportunities in the field. We met for coffee before he went back to Amsterdam, and had a great chat about his career and vision and my own aspirations. He made several recommendations of individuals whom I should meet (and introductions), and included me in the preparations for the first TBLI conference to be held in New York.
The conference was outstanding, as I wrote in June, and the people that Robert has connected me to have been uniformly helpful, smart, and optimistically ambitious about the future of triple bottom line investing in the mainstream as well as the smaller, faster-moving niche of social entrepreneurship. I even had the chance to meet Robert’s wife and son, and hear about his wife Rieki’s incredible social tourism project in Bhutan, including an upscale eco hotel and vocational hotel school.
The benefits just keep coming - I had two fantastic calls with outstanding women that Robert insisted I connect with yesterday, both of which I am confident will yield some rewarding, educational, and fun work! I am so grateful to have been embraced by Robert and the TBLI community, and look forward to getting more involved and active in their work. Next stop: TBLI Zurich in November…