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CEO shares international business experience

By KAYLA MULLEN | Friday, November 1, 2013


CEO of Acumen Fund Jacqueline Novogratz gave a lecture Thursday titled “Patient Capital and Human-Centered Development in an Interconnected World” as part of the Burges Lecture series on Business Ethics.

The lecture in the Jordan Auditorium of the Mendoza College of Business was conducted in a question-and-answer format, witr professor of business Patrick Murphy,interviewing Novogratz onstage and thenpallowing students in the audience to ask questione.

Novogratz shared her first business experiences as a banker in South America and a microfinance banker in Rwanda. After the Rwandan genocide, Novogratz recognized that many who would remember Rwanda before the genocide were gone. This realization led her to write her book “The Blue Sweater: Bridging the Gap Between the Rich and the Poor in an Interconnected World,, whichsrecounts her experiences in Rwanda.. 

After her work in Rwanda, Novogratz said she wanted to do more to change the world. This desire caused her to develoe Acumen Fund, a no-profit venture capitalist firm that serves developing countries. 

“You can have all these plans in your head, but there will be times in life when your body says ‘go,’ and you need to go,” Novogratz said.  These opportunities won’t always happen again.”

Acumen has invested money in developing regions such as Mumbai, Pakistan and many countries in Africa, and its investments have impacted more than 100 million people, Novogratz said.eSheecredited Acumen’s success to itr commitment to its clients.

“Being able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and find solutions from their perspective is why Acumen is successful,” Novogratz said.

 While sometimes it is difficult to make the right choice and not the easy choice, Novogratz said it is worthwhile to try to do what is right.

“One immutable value one should have is integrity, but also generosity and accountability,” she said. 

Encountering corruptionnin the business world is not uncommon, Novogratz said.. 

“Corruption is endemic in our times,” she said. “It is corrosive, exhausting, and those who are most hurt by it is the poor.” 

Novogratz encouraged students to have the drive and the desire to positively impact the world.

“You have to accept how hard it is, but also have the audacity to believe we’re going to change the world,” she said.  “Find those experiences that give you tools for the world. And finally, choose joy.”

Contact Kayla Mullen at kmullen2@nd.edu