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A conversation on finance and impact investing with Stanford Students


A dialog around money

On Friday, May 11th CNote sponsored a discussion at Stanford about impact investing, the evolution of finance, and how students could get involved both personally and professionally.

It was intended to be educational for all–both the students and the finance professionals in attendance. The event was hosted at Stanford’s Fire Truck House, which houses the Women’s Community Center. It was organized thanks to the BlackPrint student group and with special effort from Stanford student Shawn Filer.

There was a diverse group of students, from undergraduates to MBA candidates, with international perspectives mixed in. The students shared their views and posed questions to our group of financial professionals which included CNote’s CEO Catherine Berman, Steve Zuckerman, and Sasha Werblin of the Self-Help Credit Union.

An open forum to share ideas

The conversation flowed from topics, like how one defines impact investing, to financial education, and how financial literacy can shape a lifetime of financial decisionmaking.

Indeed, the students did have a lot to share. From their risk tolerance and appetite for alternative investments like bitcoin, to how their professional aspirations are shaped by the financial situation they were raised in, and even the kind of impact they’d like to see their money have in the future. It was a spirited discussion with lots of great questions and dialog.

Some takeaways

One theme was that as finance changes, the traditional big-bank model might not be sustainable. The students collectively chuckled when they all acknowledged they regularly receive credit card offers in their student mailboxes from the likes of Chase and Wells Fargo. These students seemed to look beyond the services these companies provide and deeper into the impact they have on our society. This seems to be a growing perspective, one we hope leads to a more responsible and socially proactive financial industry.

It is always refreshing to hear the perspective of bright, passionate students, and this meeting was no exception.

A big thanks to the BlackPrint student group, an “organization at Stanford University dedicated to providing African American students the necessary skills to succeed in the business world. Through professional development workshops, networking events, and corporate presentations, The Blackprint strives to empower the next-generation of entrepreneurs and business leaders.”

Also, a big thanks to the following Stanford students for helping to organize this event:

  • Shawn Filer
  • Curtis Tarik Staples 
  • Alillia Clements
  • Joshua Ojo-Osagie

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