Leading for impact
Yet another year, the Teatre Nacional de Catalunya was the magical venue of the event of the year, an event that the entire global community was able to follow online. The 27th Esade Alumni Annual Meeting was a unique chance to reflect on major changes and global transitions, and on how to address the challenges in the area of sustainability and social responsibility with the prime goal of having a positive impact on organizations and companies, as well as on society as a whole.
But this conference is also a special time for networking and bringing added value, given that it is a gathering of different generations of professionals. To do so, the event seeks the participants’’ complicity and engagement to create community and strengthen the values that unit us. This was highlighted by Arnau Ferrer (BBA 22), vice-president of the Esade Alumni Young Commission, who opened the conference along with the speaker Enric Company (PDC 20), who stressed the role of the younger members and the initiatives being undertaken in a committee whose members are under the age of 30. They came up with the mingling activity, in which caps of many colors became the focus of networking. It was a fun activity devised to facilitate networking and foster the creation of new partnerships. At the start of the cocktail, each alumnus had to gather with everyone wearing the same colored cap to facilitate exchanges and meet new faces. The photos were shared on the social media to immortalize the moment.
Participating and contributing
During her, Patricia Valentí (MBA 02/Promociona 17), director of Esade Alumni, highlighted the need to be the actors and leaders in the change we want to materialize in the future: "We are an active, global, connected network, but we need more. We need to make an impact. And I want to thank all of you who participate and are involved in the community, because together we can achieve great things.”
The president of Esade Alumni, Daniel Sánchez (Lic&MBA 92), made his first public speech at this event in which he outlined his career path, highlighting his direction of Ship2B Ventures, a kind of venture capital that invests in startups with impact. He offered the community all his knowledge. “We are preparing a new strategic plan for the next four years in which the buzzword is Engagement: we want to get all alumni to contribute, because the Association wants to not only serve alumni but also contribute to Esade’s prestige and have a positive impact on society.”
"We are preparing a new strategic plan for the next four years in which the buzzword is Engagement”
The conference was a unique chance to reflect on the major changes and global transitions
The director general of Esade, Xavier Mendoza, also stressed the importance of participating” Esade is an institution and a project that we all build together.” This year the school is celebrating its 65th anniversary and is about to unveil a new strategic plan devised to work with companies in their transformation to deal with the technological, climatic and social challenges with a positive impact. “We need leaders with a purpose,” he reminded the audience. Mendoza also stressed the importance of the Scholarship Program, which 9% of Esade students benefit from today: “We want to reach 15% to contribute to creating a fairer society, and we hope to achieve this with your help,” he asked the alumni.
Investment with impact
In order to more deeply explore the topic of the conference, leading for impact, Lisa Hehenberger, Professor in the Department of Strategy and General Management at Esade and director of the Esade Center for Social Impact, and Gonzalo Gortázar, CEO of CaixaBank, came onstage with Daniel Sánchez to debate investment with impact to generate a twofold return. Investment with impact intentionally seeks to have a measurable social or environmental impact, in addition to a financial return; it aims to offer alternative solutions to change things instead of adapting tot hem, as Lisa Hehenberger explained. It is a kind of investment that is growing in Spain, where billions of euros are being funneled to companies with clear social and environmental impact goals, with a special emphasis on their financial sustainability and measurement.
The needs are manifold, and an important, transparent contribution from the financial and business sector is more important than ever. This was claimed by Gonzalo Gortázar, who believes that investment with impact is at the origins of the financial institution and in CaixaBank’s DNA, as well as being an important present and future commitment. “In our way of banking, we reinvest more than 30% of our profits directly in society thanks to the extraordinary efforts of our main shareholder, the ‘la Caixa’ Foundation,” he explained. This organization has issued 10 billion green and social bonds in the past five years, and it links its financial inclusion policy to impact, with MicroBank being a prime example. Gortázar stressed that a company’s sustainability and social mission are decisive factors in attracting and retaining talent, and he believes that we should be able to measure the impact of our activity in order to ensure proper oversight. In this way it will also be possible to eradicate practices like greenwashing and impactwashing, Sánchez emphasized.
The CEO of CaixaBank received the Esade aware for his responsible leadership and his efforts to work towards a sustainable economy. Plus, the Esade Alumni Awards Committee bore in mind Gortázar’s demonstrably steadfast commitment to social responsibility, transparency and diversity throughout his prominent career. “We share many values with Esade, like commitment, responsibility and the call to social action,” he said as he received his award.
The CEO of CaixaBank received the Esade Award for his responsible leadership and his focus on working towards a sustainable economy
After the event, the conference continued with the tradition cocktail on the theatre’s grounds, a time to socialize, meet new people, have fun and – why not? – get inspiration and reflect on the challenges and opportunities awaiting us in the future.
You can see the annual conference video at the Content Hub