Imagine my surprise when I looked at
the UBS Unlimited social networking site and found the leading article was
about my friendVicki Saunders featured as theUBS
Wealth Question – Are women changing the
way we see wealth? I was surprised
becauseUBS has the choice to
feature any successful woman around the world through the UBS supporting women initiatives. They
chose to shine the spotlight on a great Canadianentrepreneur - Vicki Saunders.
Vicki and Iare onOCAD University's business catalystadvisory boardtogether and we share acommon interest in being passionate
about supporting entrepreneurs.I
have always admired Vicki's ability to get traction for female entrepreneurs.
Just as UBS discusses in this article, Vicki is changing the definition of
wealth with VC investing.Here
is the UBS article talking aboutwealth
and VC investing:
Saunders came to start the SheEO because she saw that current funding models
for young women entrepreneurs were broken––not only were women receiving just
4% of venture capital, but economic models optimized for growth at the expense
of everything else disadvantaged women. Here is an excerpt from the article:
have seen is that from a VC [venture capitalist] point of view we look at women
and see all the things that are wrong with them,” said Vicki when I spoke to
her, before listing many of the gendered criticisms she’d heard while working
in Silicon Valley: “women aren’t bold enough; women aren’t confident enough;
women don’t take enough risks…” Vicki, however, turned the meaning of these
insults upside down; what she heard instead was that women don’t overpromise on
what they can deliver, that they do what they say they are going to do. Studies
have shown that women often extract more value and profit from capital than
men, giving Vicki the confidence to pursue SheEO.
the state of our economic system, Vicki argued it was time for a change. “What
if we were optimizing for wellness, or for quality of life? We made up this
current model, and it is no longer working for us, so we need a new one.
Providing women with funds and a network is the best way to bring that about.”
view, Vicki Saunders took the criticisms of women entrepreneurs and understood
there is a flip side to look at women’s qualities. She had seen the perspective
of many women entrepreneurs and this experience gave her the confidence. She is
now helping women across the world create wealth. Women need to be the change they
want to see and Vicki shows that my favourite saying is true - action speaks
louder than words.
UNLIMITED* is a new venture powered by UBS, bringing together – from across geographies, sectors and
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We work with an extraordinary group of entrepreneurs and investors, and we
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TAF Board of, Directors: Jason Kotler, Susan McLean, Jacoline Loewen, Keri Diamond, Mik Layton
The impact of investing in sustainable business is now asked about by investors. This has been the mandate for The Atmospheric Fund (TAF) and its investments. The TAF mandate is to reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions in
Toronto and GTA,supporting the
City of Toronto’s target to reduce city-wide emissions by 80 per cent by 2050.
TAF invests its endowment based on a Council-approved investment policy
overseen by a blue-chip volunteer investment committee.
"Now celebrating its
25th anniversary, TAF was the brainchild of a City Council led by Mayor
Art Eggleton which created the agency in 1991 and endowed it with $23 million
from the sale of surplus City property. TAF has invested the capital ever
since, using the returns to seed innovative projects, advance game-changing
policies, and demonstrate and de-risk low-carbon solutions to help the City
achieve its ambitious climate targets. The endowment has been invested three
times over supporting over $50 million in community grants and investments and
shaving $60 million off the City’s operating budget. All this at no cost
to the taxpayer.
What are the two lessons Canada’s
senior governments can learn from TAF’s success?
First, a strategic focus is essential.
TAF produced Toronto’s first GHG inventory which revealed waste as a key source
of emissions. As a result, Toronto became one of the first cities in the world
to capture methane leaking from landfills and turn it into green power,
simultaneously shrinking a major GHG source and creating a new revenue stream.
Second, seeing is believing. The
adoption of new green technologies or programmatic approaches carries inherent
risks that are more appropriately advanced by an independent innovation group
like TAF. If a new initiative fails, municipal staff who champion the
innovation may fear being sidelined. Pilot projects designed at TAF to test and
verify results de-risked new technologies. Thus, a wide variety of advanced
technologies have been adopted across the city, from industrial wind and solar
electricity generation at Exhibition Place, to LED traffic signals, to electric
vehicle adoption in Toronto’s fleets." Read the full article here.
Julia Langer, CEO of TAF, said it was
wonderful to have so many current Board members of The Toronto Atmospheric
Fund attend the TAF@25 celebration. There were about 400 people in the
room from the business, technology, finance, environmental and government
sectors demonstrating TAF’s broad network.
Sandra was an excellent
emcee, and thanks to gamesmaster Mike Layton for making the carbon poker
game a hit.
Above all, thank you to the CEO of
TAF, Julie Langer, who leads with passion but also great organizational
Please find our TAF celebration press release here
and see highlights from Twitter here.