60-second interview with Gina Pereira 2018

Gina M Pereira , 6/6/2018

Gina M Pereira TEP is founder and CEO at Dana Philanthropy.

What does your firm or organisation do?

I founded Dana Philanthropy to facilitate social enterprise financing using philanthropic seed capital (applying a blended value approach through grants and investments). We provide bespoke advisory services to private clients and corporations to develop and implement their philanthropy and impact investing.

What is the most important thing STEP does, in your opinion?

In addition to promoting high professional standards and education, informing public policy, and acting in the public interest, STEP provides a critical forum for private client advisors to connect and share.

You will be speaking at the STEP Global Congress in September. What will you be speaking on and what are the main issues?

I will be participating in a panel discussion on: 'Innovations in Philanthropy: New Approaches to Attaining Sustainable Societal Impact'. The panel will explore the connections between philanthropy and investment. We will review the role of philanthropy and the private sector in achieving sustainability and inclusion, and discuss how STEP members can help their clients achieve this.

What do you most like about your job?

My work connects me with disrupters across all sectors that do not accept the status quo; these are agents of change striving to tackle the world’s problems through innovation. I find that serving as a bridge that connects resources to promising novel initiatives brings me great satisfaction and joy.

.. and what do you feel is most worthwhile?

Einstein defined insanity as ‘doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results’. Growth and meaningful change can only occur by stepping outside of one’s comfort zone and experimenting with new approaches.

What would you say to a young person thinking of a career in this industry?

If you want to ‘do good’ the option was to work for either the public or not-for-profit sectors. That’s changed. Increasingly, businesses are incorporating sustainability into their business models, not just because it’s necessary, but because it’ll strengthen the company. Multi-stakeholder collaboration across all sectors working to solve problems will become the norm. As corporations increasingly dominate the world economy, the private sector cannot stay passive, as today’s global problems are too large for philanthropy and government alone to handle. If you’re embarking on your career, you don’t have to choose between financial success and impact.

Which sectors are likely to see the strongest future growth, do you think?

Some sectors have a clear growth trajectory including health care, financials, and the one that most excites me, the tech sector. Investment and development in technology will increasingly be directed toward priority sectors of health, food security, and education.

We’re increasingly seeing technology companies shifting away from traditional charitable donations towards internal resource investment, ie using business outputs to help tackle societal problems. For instance, Planet is collaborating with scientists and civil society using its remote sensing capabilities to monitor changes in forest cover. Google has created an entire team, Google Earth Outreach, dedicated to using its technology to help conservation of the environment.

Blockchain is promising to be a major disrupter and force for social good with the potential to transform the ‘internet of information’ to an ‘internet of value’ by creating and trading value in society.

What trends do you see in the global private wealth sector at the moment?

We are in a period of what is described as the ‘great wealth transfer’, where trillions of dollars will be inherited by younger generations over the coming decades. Younger generations do not follow the modus operandi of their predecessors or possess the same values, so industry will need to adapt to meet their needs. International wealth management will be impacted by an number of factors including:

  • Greater transparency
  • Greater industry regulation
  • Greater artificial intelligence and use of ‘robo-analysts’ and ‘robo-advisors’
  • Greater demands for sustainable/impact-investing products.

What do you feel are the main challenges facing your organisation at the moment, and how will you deal with them?

Philanthropic activities are becoming increasingly regulated, making innovation and impact more challenging. For instance, the OECD’s inclusion of many charities within the ambit of the Common Reporting Standard gives rise to a number of practical concerns including potential human rights abuses. Unsurprisingly, jurisdictions offering attractive fiscal incentives to charity are the most highly regulated.

While reasonable regulation is necessary, high regulation has the potential to restrict innovation and impact in philanthropy. These trends are motivating donors and social enterprises to look beyond the traditional not-for-profit sector for solutions. For example, Mark Zuckerberg is using a limited liability company for his philanthropy, and other philanthropists are foregoing fiscal relief in exchange for flexibility by establishing their philanthropic vehicles outside highly-regulated jurisdictions. I lobby for reasonable regulation and legislation that support innovation and flexibility.

Gina M Pereira TEP is a lawyer and founder and CEO of Dana Philanthropy, which has offices in Bermuda and Los Angeles. Gina is a lobbyist, author, journal contributor, and a speaker at international conferences. She is currently developing a new podcast series featuring sustainability-driven innovation.