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It is unusual to find someone who wanted to be something as a child that they are today. Daniela started volunteering at age 12 and she always knew her life would be dedicated to making the problems of the world better. These experiences increased her resolve to do something about it, even if she did not know how. The end was always purpose.
A glide path
“When you look back, it all seems to make sense”Daniela
However, it was not so rational at the time. As Daniela was working in Private Equity, she realized her skillset was truly invaluable in the social sector and realized she could start making a difference in this space sooner than she expected. The right opportunity appeared to go and work at Save the Children and she took it. This was a great opportunity to evaluate the challenges and benefits of charities and the whole development space and provided the best information for the following career moves.
Daniela recognised the models of traditional finance were not working. So at Impetus, she focused on supporting charitable organizations in order for them to be more impactful, being able to scale and broaden impact. This was at a time when impact investment was not a thing. I remember this is when I first met Daniela, as I considered making a move to a world at the time (very little) known as Social VC. They experimented a fair amount and it was Daniela’s first large stride in creating impact at scale.
Scale together with purpose
Daniela is fundamentally interested in impact at scale. It needs to come hand in hand with impact for her. So, when looking at opportunities, she is looking for pathways to finance projects that can be replicated and open avenues for more funding going into it. Snowball was also the first fund of its kind globally, optimizing for risk, return and impact. The model was done scalable from the start, with the view of making impact investment available for all. With a 6-year track record, impact investment is what they do, not a strand, not a separate goal, it is intrinsic to the model.
Implementing a vision
“Our vision is very big and the day-to-day is nitty-gritty”
Hardly a quote could replicate better how the best vision is implemented and that I could say better myself. In Daniela’s view, every investment has an impact, even if people are not accounting for it. So at Snowball, they internalize these responsibilities day to day, to ensure the investment system is serving the environment and planet and recognising the impact of each financial decision. Whilst they have a grand vision of what they want to achieve, as CEO, she spends her time ensuring each action is aligned and contributing forward to this vision.
A CEO that cares
Daniela’s defining characteristic as CEO across all her ventures is that she cares. She cares about the mission, the people and the outcome. Daniela surrounds herself with people that can challenge her and are also constructive and able to build something together. At the same time, she can operate at a very high picture strategic level and down to the detail. My type of CEO, no doubt, navigating between the 2 at all times!
Daniela is extremely positive about the opportunities ahead. Seeing impact investing as the only way to invest, she identifies multiple areas of opportunity where we can achieve impact at scale. Throughout her life, she has tuned in this vision of purpose, of impact and of scale.
- Quote: “Business is the most powerful force invented, it can solve problems as effectively as it creates them”
- Word of the Year: Patience and Lightness
- Book: Difficult Women, Helen Lewis