There is growing attention, and debate, when it comes to ethical investing and how to scale a business ethically and responsibly, while still making a profit. This is particularly true in the tech sector, where ethical concerns with companies, including the treatment of their employees, customers, and communities, as well as the potential for harm from their products and services, is mounting. Moreover, there is evidence that ethical investing trends are also producing better returns or are at least less susceptible to downside risk (e.g. Morgan Stanley, Morningstar). Whatever the case, investors often feel ethical pressures with their decisions, which can in turn impact how earlier stage companies think about the tradeoffs between growth and other (often competing) values. Equally, the values of ethical company founders can incentivize investors to devote more care and resources to these concerns. In this session, we will explore trends in value-driven investments, the challenges faced by ethical companies as they scale, new and emerging means of organizing and monetizing a business, and why the future of investing is female.
This panel is part of IDEA Week 2021. Register for IDEA Week here.
Lisa Conn is co-founder and COO of Icebreaker, a community engagement platform. She's held leadership roles at Facebook, the MIT Media Lab, FWD.us, and President Obama’s campaign, consistently focused on healing societal division through community and technology.
At Facebook, Lisa led the company's efforts to build products that reduce polarization and build empathy on the platform. Lisa's expertise in reducing polarization came from her time at the MIT Media Lab when she partnered with Twitter to create the Electome which tracked the public response on social media to the 2016 U.S Presidential election. The product produced the first visualizations of the electorate’s ideological polarization and was described by Vice News as “a treasure trove on how Americans discussed one of the most contentious presidential races in history.
Lisa's roots are in community organizing. She led large-scale community organizing programs as the National Organizing Director of FWD.us, and as a field director in the battleground state of Florida for President Obama.
Lisa studied social movements at NYU and earned her MBA at MIT. Previously named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list, her work has been featured in the New York Times, Boston Globe, Washington Post, Vice News, and more.
Michela Gregory is Director, ESG Services at NEI Investments, a Canadian asset manager. She is actively involved in NEI’s corporate engagement work and spearheads dialogues with companies across a number of sectors including tech, consumer staples, consumer discretionary and pharmaceuticals. Prior to joining NEI, Michela was based in Ghana with an impact investor focused on investment in early-stage, tech-enabled, social enterprises in sub-Saharan Africa. She is a lawyer by trade, called to the bar in Ontario Canada, and practiced plaintiff-side class actions law in Canada across various legal issues including: securities litigation, product liability, consumer protection and price fixing issues.
Brandeis Marshall, Ph.D.
Brandeis Marshall is an education activist, scholar, and data justice advocate. Originally trained as a computer scientist, her work sits at the intersection of data/AI ethics, data engineering and culturally responsive pedagogy. She is the CEO of DataedX a talent development firm advancing the data science capabilities of the everyday professional. Brandeis regularly instructs, mentors, speaks and studies the racial, gender and socioeconomic impact of data in technology. She's developing culturally responsive data resources as a 2021-22 Stanford PACS DCSL Practitioner Fellow. Her first book, expected release in mid 2022, will cover the interlocking impact web of data, algorithms and society.
Sheila Moussavi leads strategy and operations at Bocoup, a technology consulting company that advocates for accessibility, inclusion, and justice on and through the web.
Sheila's work focuses on cultivating effective, justice-oriented organizations and work spaces. In her role at Bocoup, she leads the team in aligning business operations, strategy, policies, and practices with the company's mission and values. She also delivers strategic management support to Bocoup’s customers and partners.
Prior to Bocoup, Sheila held leadership positions in strategy and operations at nonprofit organizations focused on health equity and disability justice. She has an undergraduate degree in Political Science from Vassar College, where she studied social movements. She received her masters degree in International Business, with a focus on change management, from Ecole Supérieure de Commerce de Rennes.
Elizabeth M. Renieris
Elizabeth M. Renieris is the Founding Director of the Notre Dame-IBM Technology Ethics Lab, the applied research and development arm of the University of Notre Dame’s Technology Ethics Center, where she helps develop and oversee projects to promote human values in technology.
She is also a Technology and Human Rights Fellow at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, a Practitioner Fellow at Stanford’s Digital Civil Society Lab, and an Affiliate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society.
Elizabeth’s work is focused on cross-border data governance, as well as the ethical challenges and human rights implications of digital identity, blockchain, and other new and advanced technologies.
As the Founder & CEO of HACKYLAWYER, a consultancy focused on law and policy engineering, Elizabeth has advised the World Bank, the U.K. Parliament, the European Commission, and a variety of international organizations and NGOs on these subjects. She’s also working on a forthcoming book about the future of data governance through MIT Press.
Elizabeth holds a Master of Laws from the London School of Economics, a Juris Doctor from Vanderbilt University, and a Bachelor of Arts from Harvard College.