168. Julie Cane of Democracy Investments: Charting a Course from the Bottom Up

Julie Cane is CEO of Democracy Investments.  The firm uses a proprietary algorithm to drive capital flows toward the economic growth of democratic countries and away from authoritarian states.

Julie has had an over 20 year background in financial services where she has developed market leading innovations at Wells Fargo, Charles Schwab Advisor Services, SEI Investments and Autodesk Ventures.  She began her career as a US Naval Aviator flying the SH03 Sea King helicopter.  Among her other roles, Julie is Chairman of the Board of Swords to Plowshares, a nonprofit helping over 3000 military veterans, and until recently was Captain in the California State Guard.

Our conversation starts with Julie’s naval training and some of the situations she found herself in – requiring split second decisions, composure under pressure and leadership.  We speak about the diversity in the military during her career and how it evolved since then.  We transition then to what inspired Julie to enter the world of finance and how the desire to make an impact was central to this.  We explore this further – looking at the kind of impact that is possible in finance.

Democracy investments uses its proprietary algorithm to detect and direct capital to countries with demonstrated hallmarks of democracies, but as our democratic ideals are not universally shared, I asked her how dynamic (or static) these classifications were. What follows is a fascinating discussion about what makes a successful democracy and we then reflect on the values and learnings from her career in the military as a means to understand this more fully.

We end with Julie’s reflections on the people and ideas that have inspired her, and reflect on the part we play as individuals in the whole.  You won’t want to miss this part of the discussion.

Series 5 is sponsored by Astarte Capital Partners, an asset management firm focused on sustainable real asset sectors, acting as anchor investor and partner to specialist emerging managers. Astarte is headquartered in London with a presence in Sydney and Toronto.