Advisors Forum Speakers
Akasha Absher is the Chief Consulting Officer for Syntrinsic Investment Counsel, a national investment consulting firm exclusively focused on nonprofit organizations and philanthropic private clients. Akasha leads the firm’s efforts to create enduring strategic partnerships with clients and craft best in class stewardship platforms. She also is the Principal for Syntrinsic Social Capital, which provides impact strategy engagement, investment manager selection, deal advisory services, and acts as a connector, educator, convener, facilitator, and contributor to the broader ecosystem.
Akasha’s background includes investment consulting, investment banking, fixed income trading, risk management and nonprofit leadership, which gives her a unique blend of expertise and experience to work with clients to invest all resources with mission and business strategy. Prior to joining Syntrinsic, she spent many years as a portfolio manager and research analyst at Lucidus Capital Partners and Caxton Associates. Prior to that, she was VP and senior publishing analyst at JP Morgan.
Akasha earned her BA in Finance from Clark Atlanta University and her MBA from the Ross Business School at the University of Michigan. In 2017 and 2018, Akasha was awarded DBJ’s Who’s Who in Impact Investing in the Rocky Mountain Region. Akasha currently is serving as a Board Member of The Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation, the Denver College Success Corporation, the Colorado Charter Facility Solutions, and is a Board of Advisors Member of Colorado Succeeds.
Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II is president of Repairers of the Breach, national co-chair of the 2018 Poor People’s Campaign, and leads an alliance of more than 200 progressive organizations best known as “Moral Monday.” This coalition has led justice work in North Carolina for a decade and inspired organizing across the nation. The Washington Post called Barber’s speech at the 2016 Democratic National Convention “the most engaging” of many strong ones. Dr. Barber was recognized as one of the International Black Achievers by the International Slavery Museum in Liverpool England and his portrait now hangs on the Black Achievers Wall in the Legacy gallery.
As the architect of the Moral Monday he stands for a multi-racial, multi-faith movement fighting for voting rights, public education, universal healthcare, environmental protection, and the rights of women, labor, immigrants and members of the LGBTQ community. In 2013, thousands joined weekly protests at the North Carolina state legislature; more than a thousand were arrested in civil disobedience. Monday coalition continues to draw tens of thousands each year.
For the past two years, Rev. Dr. Barber has led a national organizing tour called “The Revival: Time for a Moral Revolution of Values,” working alongside Rev. Dr. James Forbes, Rev. Dr. Traci Blackmon, and Sister Simone Campbell to redefine public morality and support state coalitions to address poverty, injustice, and inequality. Rev. Dr. Barber headed the state NAACP from 2006 to 2017 and serves on the NAACP National Board of Directors. He is currently co-chairs with Rev. Dr. Elizabeth Theoharis the Poor People’s Campaign, A National Call For A Moral Revival, which focuses on Systemic Racism, Poverty and Inequality, Ecological Devastation, the War Economy and Militarism, and National Morality.
Rev. Dr. Barber graduated from North Carolina Central University, earned a Master of Divinity degree from Duke University, and a doctorate from Drew University. He is Visiting Professor of Public Theology and Activism at Union Theological Seminary and the author of Forward Together: A Moral Vision for the Nation and The Third Reconstruction: Moral Mondays, Fusion Politics and the Rise of a New Justice Movement. He is a member of the College of Affirming Bishops and lives in Goldsboro, N.C. where he has pastored Greenleaf Christian Church for 25 years.
As president of CEI, Keith oversees strategic implementation and CEI’s day-to-day operations. He leads the major operations of the organization and provides essential support to CEI’s subsidiaries in the development of policies and practices required to support program alignment and growth. Prior to assuming leadership of the organization, Keith managed CEI’s small business counseling, natural resources, and workforce development programs. He was also responsible for development and management of the $11 million Northern Heritage Development Fund; monitoring and participating in Federal rural development policy; and managing and developing foundation and investor relations. He holds a B.A. in geography, McGill University in Montreal, and a master’s degree in environmental management from the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.
Dana launched Confluence Philanthropy in August of 2009 after serving as the executive director of the Environmental Grantmakers Association (EGA). While at EGA, Dana provided networking services to over 250 grantmaking organizations from across North America and Europe.
From 2009-2011 Dana served as the Program Director and Board Advisor at The Swift Foundation while launching Confluence. Prior to Philanthropy, Dana founded Literacy for Environmental Justice (LEJ), an environmental education and youth empowerment organization for at risk youth. While there, she acted as a lead organizer in the closure of San Francisco’s infamous Hunters Point Power Plant; raising funds to supplant it with the region’s first off-the-grid educational Eco Center. She has been a fellow at the Donnella Meadows Program in Systems Theory and the California Women’s Foundation Policy Institute.
Dana has also lived and worked among the Samburu (Maasai) in northern Kenya for many years; the Cheyenne River Lakota; and Roma refugees in Europe.
Erika Karp is the Founder and CEO of Cornerstone Capital Inc. The mission of the firm is to apply the principles of sustainable finance across the capital markets enhancing investment processes through transparency and collaboration. In seeking positive societal impact at scale, Cornerstone offers wealth and investment advising, research and strategic consulting, and investment banking services. Working with investors, corporations and financial institutions, the firm drives the systematic analysis of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors throughout the global capital markets.
Prior to founding Cornerstone, Karp was Managing Director and Head of Global Sector Research at UBS Investment Bank where she chaired the UBS Global Investment Review Committee and managed a global team of analysts and strategists. Erika is an advisor to the UN Global Compact’s LEAD Board Development Program, a founding Board member of the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board, a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Financing and Capital, an advisor to the Omidyar Network’s Know the Chain initiative, and was an advisor to the Clinton Global Initiative’s Market-based Approaches track. Karp has been named among the nation's "Top 50 Women in Wealth" by AdvisorOne, the “GOOD 100” and the “Purpose Economy 100” and one of 50 “Conscious Capitalists” who are Transforming Wall Street.” In fall of 2016, Erika was also awarded the Wells Fargo Leadership award by StartOut, the national nonprofit that connects LGBTQ entrepreneurs to empower great leaders and businesses.
Matthew Patsky is CEO, Managing Partner, and a Portfolio Manager at Trillium Asset Management. He leads Trillium’s Sustainable Opportunities strategy and has over three decades of experience in investment research and investment management.
Matt began his career at Lehman Brothers in 1984 as a Technology analyst. In 1989, while covering emerging growth companies for Lehman, he began to incorporate ESG factors into his research, becoming the first sell side analyst in the United States to publish on the topic of socially responsible investing in 1994. As Director of Equity Research for Adams, Harkness & Hill, he built that firm’s powerful research capabilities in socially and environmentally responsible areas such as renewable energy, resource optimization, and organic and natural products. Matt was most recently at Winslow Management Company in Boston, where he served as Director of Research, Chairman of the Investment Committee, and Portfolio Manager for the Green Solutions Strategy and the Winslow Green Solutions Fund.
Matt is currently on the Boards of the Environmental League of Massachusetts, Shared Interest and Pro Mujer. He has also served on the Boards of US SIF and Root Capital. He is a member of the Social Venture Network (SVN) and the CFA Society Boston. Matt holds a Bachelor of Science in Economics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Mark brings more than twenty-five years of experience to his work designing, implementing and managing investment portfolios for high net worth individuals and their families, and for investment committees of charitable foundation clients. He is a voting member of Pathstone’s Investment Committee and a partner of the firm. Mark is also the Chair of the Impact Committee and a voting member of the Alternatives and Strategy Investment Subcommittees.
Mark joined legacy firm Federal Street Advisors from Scudder Investments/Deutsche Bank where he oversaw product analysis for the mutual fund business. He previously led asset allocation and manager selection research at LPL Financial, and headed up marketing at Travelers Investment Management Company.
Mark obtained his undergraduate degree from the Colorado College and his MBA from the University of Connecticut. He is a Chartered Financial Analyst, a member of the CFA Society Boston, and volunteers on a CFA Society Boston team that provides financial literacy education through alliances with local non-profit groups.
Raúl Pomares is the Founder of Sonen Capital LLC, where he operates across the firm's overall business activities, while focusing on client management, business development and industry leadership. Prior to co-founding Sonen, Raúl served as a Managing Director at Springcreek Advisors, where he was in charge of the firm's portfolio strategy. Previously, Raúl was a Portfolio Manager at Guggenheim Wealth Management, where he developed integrated multi-manager portfolios for institutional and high net worth clients. In particular, Raúl applied his expertise across a broad range of impact investment themes to create an integrated manager research and portfolio construction methodology for investors. Earlier in his career, Raúl co-founded a boutique wealth management firm where he directed client services and portfolio management. He has also served as an investment advisor, international private banker and consultant on behalf of global financial institutions and private investors.
Eva Kathleen Schulte, vice president for economic opportunity at Travois, supports the capital priorities of American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian communities. As a proven community organizer, executive, and social change leader, Eva secures economic and policy solutions to move human dignity to the center of public life.
Eva directly leveraged investments for housing stabilization, public health, and community resilience. She founded and grew non-profit organizations and leads the Travois impact work. As vice president, Eva builds on the $1.4 billion of value Travois has helped create for affordable housing and economic development.
Eva began her career supporting migrant farm workers in Iowa and wrote her master’s thesis on women’s cooperatives in Mayan Indigenous communities of Mexico. Accomplishments include supporting the co-founding of an NGO in Rwanda, building new loan models for community credit, and leading one of the largest nonpartisan civic engagement campaigns in metro Kansas City.
Diana Trump is a Trustee and the Treasurer of the Penney Family Fund, a Berkeley-based foundation supporting human rights advocacy, government accountability, and environmental sustainability. The foundation’s main focus is on green jobs creation and youth-led efforts to improve the health and sustainability of local communities. As Treasurer, Diana has overseen the transition of the foundation’s corpus to a fully screened portfolio devoid of carbon-intensive assets. In her professional life, Diana is a Marketing Manager with the venture-backed analytics startup, Heap. Diana is based in San Francisco and received her B.A. from Duke University.
Sonja Velez is CFO of The San Francisco Foundation, where she oversees financial planning and analysis, accounting, and investments. One of the most rewarding aspects of this role has been the opportunity to expand the Foundation's impact investing strategies.
Sonja previously worked in Myanmar and Thailand while serving as CFO of The Democratic Voice of Burma. Before that, she held a variety of finance roles during her 13 year tenure at Charles Schwab, including VP of Treasury Balance Sheet Management, VP of Individual Investor Finance, and VP of Corporate Planning and Analysis.
She holds an MBA from UC Berkeley, an MFA from the University of San Francisco, and a bachelor's degree in International Relations from UC Davis.