Why did you choose to come to RPCK after accomplishing so much throughout your career, most recently at the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation and at FINCA Impact Finance?
RPCK is the kind of firm where I always wanted to end up in my career. I’ve worked in the social impact and impact investing spaces for the past 10 years. I had always thought of going back to private practice, but it was about finding the right fit and the right firm.
There aren’t that many firms that have a dedicated practice in impact investing. And it’s still quite difficult to do this work in a meaningful way within the confines of a big law firm. At RPCK I have this really unique opportunity to do cutting edge work alongside a world-class team while doing things that really matter. And I had known Bjorn and Aaron for years and was really attracted to the idea of working with like-minded colleagues. You really do have a choice as an attorney. You can choose to do great work that also reflects your human values. So, for me all roads really led to RPCK.
Tell us about your journey to impact
My interest in impact investing – or at least the issues that the impact industry is seeking to solve – started at a young age for me. I grew up in France and started traveling extensively overseas, including across Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Latin America. I remember being struck early on by the wealth disparity between the haves and the have nots, and I realized how lucky I was to have been born where I had been born. I just recall feeling that there was so much work to do to improve the world and help people.
My family also instilled in me very altruistic human values at a young age. I have really always had a personal mission of wanting to leave the world in a better place and decided early on that I wanted to combine this interest with my career. So, my journey to impact was actually quite organic and authentic – there was no RPCK back then!
What are some of the impact areas that you’re passionate about?
One of the through lines in my career has been my continued interest in women’s empowerment and gender related causes that improve women’s lives. I did a Masters degree at Georgetown University with a focus on international affairs and wrote my thesis on women’s empowerment and peace building, and used as case studies the role of women in bringing peace in Sierra Leone, Northern Ireland and Tunisia. At Holland & Knight, I represented tax-exempt organizations that had a focus on women’s issues. FINCA has, as part of its mission to provide financial assistance to women in developing countries, and at the DFC I worked, for instance, with a microfinance company that only provided financial services to women.
I’ve also had the privilege of being able to travel extensively in my career, working on projects in Africa, Eurasia, Middle East, and South Asia. What this gave me is real boots on the ground experience – a very practical kind of experience where you can see the positive impact of your work. This goes to the very heart of why I got into impact investing, and I bring the learnings from these experiences to bear in what I do every day.
You’ve spent a lot of time working with development finance institutions (DFIs) and with tax-exempt or mission-oriented organizations. Can you tell us a bit about this work and how you think RPCK might be able to assist clients like these with their impact agendas?
I got interested in working with not-for-profits and other mission-oriented organizations when I was working in big law. But it was difficult to develop this practice in a big law firm, especially 10 years ago. They just didn’t believe that the economics were compelling enough to take on this work. This is in part why I went to work at FINCA – to work for a global microfinance organization across the globe and get this experience in-house. Again, l always had the idea of returning to a law firm in the future and I thought this type of experience would help me better serve clients. I wanted to further diversify my practice and got the chance to do this at the DFC where I had the opportunity to do equity work in the venture and private equity spaces for both direct deals and funds as well as some work on the debt side.
There’s a lot of opportunity for RPCK to work with DFIs, NGOs and international organizations whose missions are aligned with impact, and I’m looking forward to leveraging my experience and network to help grow our practice in this area.
What kind of work do you focus on at RPCK?
Given the breadth of my legal background, I focus on a variety of areas including impact-focused international corporate transactions, private equity, venture capital and investment funds, cross-border mergers and acquisitions, and corporate advisory work. And I will lead RPCK’s growing practice working with DFIs, which involves both representing DFIs on their direct and fund investments, as well as representing fund managers on navigating the unique aspects working with DFIs as LP investors.
With respect to my longstanding interest in women’s empowerment and gender lens investing, RPCK already has a number of clients whose mission is dedicated to women, and I would certainly welcome the opportunity to bring in other clients with this focus.