Fireside Chat

Moving Toward Inclusive Capitalism

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Capitalism is an economic system that has lifted billions of people out of poverty, but it has also created a vast amount of wealth for some at the expense of others, falling short for billions more and leaving them behind. Left unguided, capitalism can create short-term thinking, take advantage of marginalized communities, exacerbate income inequality and destroy the environment. If left unmoored, capitalism allocates risks and rewards inequitably across its stakeholders. The devastating reality of this has been laid bare within vulnerable communities, as reflected in the response throughout America to the killing of George Floyd and during the current COVID-19 pandemic. Not only is the reality of this  immoral, but it is likely damaging to the long-term sustainability of capitalism as well.

Acumen and EY share a vision of the role of business in creating a world based on dignity, where every human being has an opportunity to thrive while simultaneously safeguarding the environment.  Reflecting on this shared outlook, Acumen and EY are expanding upon the work of both organizations and partnering on the Inclusive Capitalism Project. Through this project, Acumen and EY seek to better define ‘inclusive capitalism’ and offer inspiration and moral and practical guidance for small and big companies alike, as well as investors. 

Acumen and EY would like to unveil at SoCap their work and a new tool to move all participants in capitalist economies toward a more inclusive form of capitalism.

Confirmed Panelists

Otho E. Kerr III, Chief Investment Officer, Acumen

Otho Kerr joined Acumen in November 2019 and is Chief Investment Officer. Prior to joining Acumen, he was a founding partner with Encourage Capital, an asset management firm that leverages private capital to generate environmental and social impact as well as compelling investment returns.  Otho was the Chief Operating Officer and more recently led an effort to work with native communities to develop carbon offset projects that would positively impact both the environment and the economic condition of landing-owning indigenous communities.  Otho has worked in investment banking and asset management for over twenty years, having begun with Goldman Sachs & Co.  He began his professional career as an attorney with Simpson Thacher & Bartlett.

Otho received a BA from Dartmouth College and a JD from The Harvard Law School.  Otho was the first member of his class to receive the Dartmouth Alumni Award.  Otho was a co-founder of the Institute for Youth Entrepreneurship in Harlem and a fellow in the Rockefeller Foundation’s Next Generation Leadership Program.  Most recently, Otho was an Ambassador for Health Equity, sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and serves on the National Academy of Medicine’s Advisory Committee on a Culture of Health Program.

Jessie Coates, Global Impact Entrepreneurship Leader, EY

Working with small and growing businesses globally to help scale new technologies and business models that purposefully drive progress toward the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, Jessie is the EY Global Impact Entrepreneurship Leader.

A Chartered Accountant by trade, she began her career in corporate finance before working with clients spanning the social, private and public sectors within the EY UK&I Advisory services. Since 2017, Jessie has focused on supporting impact entrepreneurs in overcoming barriers to growth, primarily in emerging market contexts. She also serves on the board of several local and international impact enterprises and non-profits.

Jessie holds a BA and MA in Natural Sciences from the University of Cambridge, graduating with a First Class Honors, and is an alumnus of the INSEAD Social Entrepreneurship Program.

Unconfirmed Panelists



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