The Second Annual Impact Investing Workshop in Denver held July 21 was a resounding success with great sponsors, great speakers, great participants, and a great time had by all.

The major themes ended up being how impact investing eases advising millennials, how impact investments can be classified as an asset class, and how getting the word out about impact investing -- as well as education -- is all important. The fastest-growing products, it appears, are community investment notes.

Ron Cordes, co-chairman of Genworth Financial and founder of ImpactAssets, a nonprofit financial services firm, explained how forming a foundation led him down the path of creating impact investing products for financial advisors. “There wasn’t anything out there,” he says.

Gloria Nelund, chief executive of TrilLinc Global Impact Fund, relayed her experience transitioning from the head of Deutsche Bank’s private wealth management division to the impact investing industry -- and how she is pioneering a new financial advisor distribution platform for impact investment products. Fascinating. Check out

In an equally attention-grabbing session, Robert Fenwick-Smith, founder of Aravaipa Ventures, gave his philosophy of why clean tech investing can and should be part of every investor’s portfolio. Rather than swinging for home runs in the venture capital space, Fenwick-Smith says there are huge gains to be made by investing in technologies that affect the masses rather than a few. For example, hybrid technologies that service vans and buses for mass transportation as opposed to luxury cars. Smart stuff.

Confirming that just as in politics, investing, too, is local, James Malone at Community Capital Management, showcased how community investment notes can be easily layered into a portfolio from a technical perspective -- and check all the boxes for investment management consultants.

Liz Sessler at Enterprise Community Loan Fund (perhaps the most eye-opening firm I’ve seen in awhile), Megan Fielding from Microplace and Justin Conway of Calvert Foundation, laid out the landscape for impact investments that do good on a local and international level. Indeed, from Detroit to the developing world, there are now impact investment products that are available and can appeal to just about everyone.

Keynoting the day, Philippe Cousteau, president of, reminded us how his grandfather didn’t start out as an environmentalist; he saw a business in making underwater camera equipment. But Jacques Cousteau’s eyes opened to the changing ocean environment -- and thereby  changed the way the world looks at and cares for the seas. A fitting way to consider impact investing.