I frequently think about the legacy we will leave behind— how will we improve lives and our world? How will we lift communities, build and manage ourselves and learn to collaborate in effective, meaningful ways? That is why we created Altura back in 2005 as an impact investing firm. We firmly believed that Diversity and Inclusion mattered greatly in the investment industry and that they could act as a lever to build significant value for investors and a better world for all. We have also believed in investing in low- and moderate-income communities and creating high-quality jobs. Those three beliefs emerged as the three pillars of our Impact thesis— focusing mainly on the “S” from an ESG perspective. What can be a more powerful engine to transform societies than enabling business owners to maximize their value-creation potential?
We founded Altura with my husband Jay Garcia, a partner in life and business. We were later joined by our partners Carlos Signoret and Judy Frodigh— all stellar private equity professionals and business builders. Since inception, we asked ourselves: how can we generate long-term value and build strong partnerships with our investors and our ecosystem at the same time? We began our journey in data and analytics of diverse money managers and then pivoted into asset management. We chose private equity and private debt impact investing because we saw a large and growing market opportunity to team up with Corporate America to help them build solid and scalable diverse suppliers. The road has been rewarding, and we are scaling up a model that has proven to effect change. We are building to leave behind a meaningful organization that will be a force for good and transformation for generations to come.
We have continued to enhance our systems, infrastructure, and team to seize the opportunity at hand, recognizing that playing a role in scaling the businesses we invest in is one of the most inspiring and meaningful endeavors. It is an opportunity to open corporate doors and share proven models and systems to help management build value while continuously improving them. Building businesses requires tenacity, discipline, and hard work, and we team up with business owners to climb the mountain together. There is no job more rewarding.
The world has changed dramatically in the past two years— the pandemic altered our lives and productivity, stress-tested supply chains and manufacturing, accelerated technology enablement and transformation. Racial and social equality, impact investment management, and ESG as a force for good and long-term value creation became boardroom topics and priorities. In tandem, millennials and new generations are driving behavioral changes. They are elevating degrees of consciousness about the need for increased access to healthy food and its direct impact on health outcomes and quality of life. They have raised awareness about the importance of financial planning and investment to create more vital lives, families, and communities. Finance can and should be a powerful source for good, including impact and ESG investing and public-private initiatives that can move markets. Turmoil and dislocation in the market have brought phenomenal opportunities for new models and meaningful human progress. I have great hope that these forces will lift our communities and others that are underserved. We must continue to work together to utilize our institutions and our businesses as a source for good and positive outcomes for investors (for whom we act as fiduciaries) and the world.
We must make every effort to ensure that the paths we travel are accessible to more people. We must teach the power of finance so that more kids from early ages are exposed to these careers and encouraged to expand on the paths we have helped open. Thanks to our education and our parents, who taught us principles and values with their love and example, we have the blessing of being where we are today.
Businesses and communities take years to build. Institutions and scalable, diverse businesses matter because they become the vehicle of collaboration, promoting the exchange of ideas and designing new futures. They become influential voices that can drive change.
We can and should be architects of our own solutions. That is why we believe the impact investing work we do is important and meaningful, and that is why we believe the work that NAA does is critical. NAA is an institution that has allowed us to be there for each other, share best practices, have a voice to effect change and build a platform for future generations. It’s an engine to improve ourselves, our community, and our country. Thanks to our CEO, Solange F. Brooks, a dear friend with whom we have a history of building value together and being there for each other. After a short depart, I’m glad to be back at NAA. I look forward to working together with the NAA community to envision and act towards maximizing the human capital potential of our community and our country, especially in business, finance, academia, and public policy. They are all intertwined, and only sophisticated and intentional collaborative models will allow us to create a new future together. It’s in our hands. I invite Institutional Investors, including foundations, family offices, and corporations to join us on this quest.