Investing in Inclusion

Panel Discussion
Friday, September 15, 2017 - 2:30 pm

Comprised of investment professionals, this panel will focus on the opportunities and risks of investing in companies run by women and minorities as well as companies that explicitly promote diversity and inclusion as part of their hiring, retention, and promotion practices.  The panelists will discuss how social impact and capital investments are shaping the future of the diversity and inclusion landscape.

Investing in Inclusion

Arlan Hamilton
Backstage Capital

Arlan Hamilton founded Backstage Capital, a venture capital fund based in Los Angeles that invests in exceptional women, people of color, and LGBTQ tech founders. Started from scratch in autumn 2015, Backstage has now invested nearly $2 million across more than 40 companies.

Hamilton is an emerging venture capital fund manager, and tour manager to Atlantic Records recording artist Janine. Having founded and published the internationally distributed indie magazine Interlude, and toured extensively as a live music production professional, she enters the venture investing world from an unconventional path.

She is dedicated to minimising funding disparities in tech.

Adair Morse
Associate Professor
Berkeley Haas School of Business

Adair Morse is Associate Professor at the Haas School of Business at the University of California at Berkeley, where she teaches New Venture Finance. She is on the board of the Haas Impact Investing Network, the faculty advisor to Haas FinTech Club, faculty mentor to Gender Equity Initiative, and faculty co-director of the Hass Impact Research Prize. She holds a Ph.D. in finance from the University of Michigan. Adair’s research spans three areas of finance: household finance, corruption, and asset management, with the unifying theme that she tries to choose topics useful for leveling economic playing fields. She has won a number of top finance research prizes, and her various works have been directly implemented into policy via U.S. Congress Acts, U.S. and Canadian state banking regulations, and Greek Parliament tax reform. Within household finance, Adair has a particular interest in household debt and welfare, studying low and middle income credit products and their use via both observational studies and field experiments with companies. Her recent work studies many aspects of marketplace lending/crowdfunding. She has been invited to give a number of keynote addresses on the future of FinTech for consumers and investors. Examples of Adair’s other noteworthy publications in household finance include work on the effect of income inequality on consumption and the welfare consequence of payday loans. Adair’s other new project studies impact investing. The paper gauges demand for social returns by varying holders of capital and relates such demand to the $59 trillion in wealth signing the United Nationals Principles of Responsible Investing.

Christie Pitts
Partner and Chief of Staff
Backstage Capital

Christie is Partner + Chief of Staff of Backstage Capital. She is responsible for guiding the crew to ensure Backstage runs smoothly towards its mission as well as joining managing partner, Arlan Hamilton, in making investment decisions (aka signing Headliners!) Christie has extensive experience creating valuable partnerships between startups and Fortune 500 top 20 corporations, and joins Backstage from her role as venture development manager at Verizon Ventures. Christie holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from San Jose State University, and an MBA from University of Phoenix.

Larissa Roesch
Vice President and Portfolio Manager
Dodge & Cox

Larissa Roesch is a vice president and portfolio manager at Dodge & Cox. She joined the firm in September 1997 and serves as one of eight members of the firm’s Fixed Income Investment Policy Committee, which collectively manages the firm’s $115+ billion in fixed income AUM. She also serves on the firm's Credit Sector committee, co-leads the Long Duration Strategy committee, and is a relationship manager for many of the firm’s large institutional corporate clients. Earlier in her career, Larissa was the firm's bank/finance fixed income trader. She is a shareholder of the firm and a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Charterholder.

Larissa received her A.B. degree in music and mathematics from Dartmouth College and an M.B.A. from the Berkeley-Haas School of Business. Prior to business school, Larissa worked for various institutions in the not-for-profit performing arts industry. Larissa currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the San Francisco Ballet Endowment Foundation and the Berkeley-Haas School of Business.  

Seren Pendleton Knoll
Program Director
Center for Responsible Business, Haas School of Business

Seren manages and directs programs within the CRB focusing on sustainable investing and finance. Her content expertise has been key in developing the Berkeley Sustainable Business and Investment Forum, bringing together investors and companies focusing on the evolving concepts of risk management, capital allocation, and sustainable business practices with a focus on long-term value creation, as well as streamlining the Haas Socially Responsible Investment Fund, the first and largest student-led SRI fund within a leading business school, currently valued at over $2.5 Million.

She also directs and authors the CRB case studies in partnership with the Berkeley-Haas Case Series, focusing on supply-chain sustainability, and has been key in developing new programming in impact investing and sustainable food. Prior to the CRB, Seren worked in social services and youth empowerment throughout the Bay Area, and was recognized by CBS and the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors for her work in women and girls empowerment. She received her Master in Development Practice from UC Berkeley, and her BA with honors in Clinical Psychology and Applied Theater from Whitman College.