The EVPA celebrated its 15th year anniversary with its annual conference in The Hague, marking another milestone in its history of work convening a community of venture philanthropists and investors focused on generating global impact. For me, being amongst such a diverse group of influencers and impact investors, was an absolute treat.
The starkest contrast to other impact focused conferences was the level of transparency and evident commitment to sharing the best practices. There was almost an immediate sense of trust amongst participants, with an invisible pact binding us together with the unspoken understanding that solving the world’s most difficult challenges, both collaboration and cooperation, is essential. This was most tangible for a participant in the design of the sessions and roundtables. It was also the opportunity engage in one-on-one conversations with thought leaders whose openness was contagious and stimulating. I repeatedly experienced that my curiosity to learn from others was met with warm reception and an eagerness to share. This transparency was and is priceless. It is how I define the EVPA’s value-add to the impact ecosystem.
Given the backdrop of geopolitical events and global tensions that plague our world today, it was refreshing to be amongst a group of 750 like-minded and motivated individuals keen to take action despite the nay saying signals of the world around us. Most of the breakout sessions and roundtables that I joined sought to share existing financing models or interventions with the objective for each group being to test the boundaries of the modality in question. Through deep discussions as a collaborative force we worked together in small teams to identify challenges and potential solutions, ultimately with each of us contributing as a subject matter expert to provide feedback to bolster the effectiveness and improve upon the models.
During the two-day conference I had the fortunate pleasure of meeting two of the EVPA founding members. Both in their own right and with imparted wisdoms provided feedback that I will undoubtedly leverage for years to come. It was Mr. Doug Miller’s opening remarks that touched me the most though. He reminded the collective group of why he and many in the room so tirelessly work to make a difference – it is for the next generation. I left The Hague humbled and forced to reflect on my own efforts as an impact investor.
Jennifer Louie is Executive Director for Nexus for Development