The How, the who, and the why:
Corporates and Gender-Smart Investing



Location: Stafford



Moderator: Jon Shepard, EY

Conversation Starters:

Ann Cairns, Mastercard

Katja Freiwald, Unilever

Darryl Thompson, New Voices Fund

Session Description:

How can corporates invest in women outside their own workforce? With tens of billions of dollars in corporate venture funds, and global value chains that touch the lives of so many, their powers—and responsibilities—to innovate and do good are immense. Alongside successes we'll explore disincentives and barriers, and aim to define tangible 'to-do' lists for corporations that want to do better. Our focus will be on making connections and narrowing to tangible next steps.


New Voices Fund

Mastercard and WFP partnership


Jon Shepard

Jon Shepard

Ann Cairns

Ann Cairns

Katja Freiwald

Katja Freiwald

Darryl Thompson

Darryl Thompson

Jon Shepard leads Enterprise Growth Services: a heavily-subsidised, non-profit extension of EY's global consulting business that sends experienced professionals from across the world to work hands-on with... entrepreneurs, helping them develop and scale sustainable business models and operations. To date, EGS has worked with over 150 enterprises in 35 countries, largely sourced through impact investors. Jon began his career with the British Army, and then worked for The Prince's Trust and Accenture before joining EY. He is the chair of The Advocacy Academy, an innovative London NGO that trains hand-picked young people to become effective advocates for social change in their communities.

...over 200 countries around the world. In this role she focused on building sustainable, strong growth rates across both mature and emerging markets. She has led the company’s expansion into new and diverse geographies and opened up new customer segments; embracing the continued evolution to digital while driving an increased focus on safety, security and convenience. Ann is passionate about the role Mastercard can play in delivering financial inclusion through innovation and has continued to build new global partnerships with governments, telecommunication companies and organizations including the World Food Programme. Ann brings more than 20 years’ experience working in senior management positions across Europe and the U.S., where she ran global retail, commercial and investment banking operations. Prior to joining Mastercard in August 2011, Ann was head of the Financial Services Group with Alvarez & Marsal in London, where she led the European team managing Lehman Brothers Holdings International through the Chapter 11 process. In addition she helped restructure banks across Europe including Ireland & Iceland. Ann has also held senior positions within many global organisations including a tenure as CEO, Transaction Banking at ABN-AMRO, and 15 years in senior operational positions at Citigroup. Ann sits on the group board of the Fortune 500 Company Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) and is chair of ICE Clear Europe. A Pure Mathematics degree from Sheffield University and a M.Sc. with research into medical statistics from Newcastle University resulted in an early career as an award-winning research engineer, culminating as the Head of Offshore Engineer-Planning for British Gas where Ann was the first woman qualified to go offshore in Britain.

Katja Freiwald graduated in International Business from Hochschule Harz in Germany and holds her MBA from Pfeiffer University, North Carolina. She has been working with Unilever over 15 years and has built her career around a broad expertise in marketing, sales and sustainable business in different roles. Currently she is working in the Chief Sustainability and heading Partnerships and Advocacy efforts linked to Women´s Empowerment and Enhancing Livelihoods. Building on her business acumen, she is...

...providing strategic counsel to the business, co-creating strategic partnerships and inclusive business models aiming to drive sustainable business growth whilst embedding the UN Sustainable Development Goals – with great focus on SDG 5. She has been managing various multi-stakeholder partnerships with NGOs, Governments, UN, commercial partners and key opinion formers. Katja has a great passion to make to make a difference for particularly women living at the Base of the Pyramid. Professionally and personally she aims to spend a lot of time in developing and emerging markets. As a mother of 2 young girls she wants to use her abilities to contribute making the world a more inclusive and equal place for the generations to come.

Darryl Thompson has over 25 years of investment experience in managing alternative assets. Mr. Thompson is the Chief Investment Officer of New General Market Partners, the investment vehicle for the Dennis Family, the founders of Sundial Brands and the owners of Essence Communications. In addition, Mr. Thompson is...

...a Partner in the New Voices Fund, a fund created by Sundial Brands and Unilever to empower women of color. Prior to joining New General Market Partners and the New Voices Fund, Mr. Thompson was the Managing Partner for Bacara Partners, LLC, a consumer and media-focused business development and consulting firm. Prior to Bacara, Mr. Thompson was President of Belenos Capital Management LLC, a quantitative hedge fund focused on liquid alternative strategies.