189. Afsaneh Beschloss of Rockcreek: When Mission and Work Become One

Afsaneh Beschloss is the Founder and CEO at RockCreek, an investment firm which invests across diverse sectors with a special focus on climate, affordable housing and education investments in developed, emerging and frontier markets. She is on the Board of Directors of the World Resources Institute, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Rockefeller Foundation and holds numerous other Board and Trustee roles.

Our conversation starts with Afsaneh’s upbringing in Iran and the differences that were in place then in terms of access to education for women. We trace her move to Concord Massachusetts, and the serendipity that attracted her to a role in finance. One of her earliest roles was in the World Bank, where she was encouraged to become an expert on the energy industry, and we discuss her foray into emerging markets from that unique vantage point.

We move then to her founding of RockCreek and the concept of partnership with investors that has characterized the firm until this day.  We speak about the adaptation it has undergone in light of changing client needs and expectations. Our discussion of diversity is an essential part of our conversation and we discuss the ongoing challenge that raising capital presents, even as an established firm.  We look also at the venture capital landscape and how diverse managers are starting to gain more traction there, even if progress is slow.

Turning to personal reflections Afsaneh notes that fulfillment that followed when her mission and her career started to converge, and similarly reflects on experiences where work environments did not allow for growth.

Series 2 of 2023 is kindly sponsored by Beach Point Capital Advisors, an investment manager that believes in investment beyond the traditional.  It specializes in credit investments and employs a flexible, value-oriented, risk-controlled focusing on complex and less well-followed opportunities.

You can find all of our podcasts on The Fiftyfaces Hub, Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.