Hot Stuff: Investing in Energy and Climate Solutions



Location: Cambria



Moderator: Yana Kakar, Dalberg

Conversation Starters:

Rebecca Fries, Value for Women (V4W)

Leslie Labruto, Acumen

Ajaita Shah, Frontier Markets

Session Description:

The need for energy and climate finance is not gender neutral: women are disproportionately affected by climate change and energy poverty, and yet are the source of innovative solutions across small to large businesses. Pricing gender into ESG externalities as well as capturing potential returns from the gender dimensions of underlying assets and market dynamics is essential. Join us in a lively conversation at the intersection of gender and climate, exploring how to create a more inclusive investment ecosystem for women as investees, investors, entrepreneurs, and workers in value chains.


Yana Kakar

Yana Kakar

Rebecca Fries

Rebecca Fries

Leslie Labruto

Leslie Labruto

Ajaita Shah

Ajaita Shah

Yana Kakar is the Global Managing Partner of Dalberg Advisors, an advisory firm with a social impact mission that provides strategy, investment, research and design services to clients across the public, private and philanthropic sectors. Yana stewards...

...Dalberg’s strategy and oversees activities across Dalberg’s 23 offices worldwide. In her client work, Yana advises leaders on gender lens investing across asset classes to identify and analyze market opportunities, develop and diligence pipeline, design innovative instruments, structure and stand up funds and facilities, as well as provide other transaction and post-transaction capacity-building support. Four engagements serve to illustrate Yana’s broader portfolio in Gender Lens Investing: i) developing a $100M gender lens strategy for an Asian Foundation; ii) designing and structuring a $500m debt facility for energy inclusion for the African Development Bank; iii) conceptualizing and evaluating innovative financing mechanisms such as the Educate Girls Development Impact Bond in India; and iv) incubating the Senegalese Women’s Investment Club, West Africa’s first fund comprised of women investors aiming to unlock financing for women-owned business. Yana holds a Bachelors of Arts degree from McGill University and a Master’s in Business Administration from Wharton at the University of Pennsylvania.

Rebecca Fries is Managing Director and co-founder of Value for Women and leads the organization in creating opportunities for women’s economic inclusion, leadership, and SME entrepreneurship around the globe. Under her direction, the ...

...Value for Women team works globally in a collaborative, multi-disciplinary manner to take practical, hands-on approaches when solving business challenges. With more than 17 years of experience in gender, entrepreneurship and development, Rebecca specializes in designing innovative gender and social inclusion strategies and partnerships across sectors such as sustainable energy, agriculture and finance. In her work with banks, financial institutions, development organizations, corporate foundations and government agencies, she has authored sector-changing research and tool design focused on the intersection of gender, entrepreneurship, and economic development.

Leslie Labruto is the Associate Director of Global Energy at Acumen, where she leads Acumen’s $20M Pioneer Energy Investment Initiative (PEII). Leslie is responsible for driving strategy, portfolio construction, and thought leadership for Acumen’s Global Energy Portfolio. Leslie joined...

...Acumen from the Clinton Foundation, where she served as Director of Clean Energy for the Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI) and led programmatic strategy and partnerships. Previously, Leslie worked at Summit Partners, a $15 billion venture capital firm in Boston. Leslie holds two degrees in Civil and Mechanical Engineering from Imperial College London and Vanderbilt University.

Ajaita Shah is an entrepreneur, a mentor, a speaker, and board member. She is the Founder/CEO of Frontier Markets and the President of Frontier Innovations Foundation. Frontier Markets is a rural marketing, sales, and service distribution company providing access to affordable and quality clean energy solutions and appliances to low-income households in India by building a network of rural entrepreneurs. Ajaita has..

...committed to empowering rural women across the developing world through market based business models, clean energy, technology, and inspiring women to push themselves beyond their societal boundaries. Born in the US, Ajaita graduated Tufts University and started working in India from 21 til present. She started her career in Microfinance, where she won many award for her ground breaking innovation around healthcare, mobile technology, and social performance management in the sector. Some of these include: Most influential award in Microfinance for people under 30, and Business Week's 30 under 30 award, Forbes 30 Under 30’s Social Entrepreneur of the Year, #3 of top 40 women entrepreneurs of India in 2014, Nasscom Foundation’s 2.0 of 2015, Indian Affair’s India Leadership Conclave’s Women Entrepreneur of Year 2015, CNBC’s Young Business Women of the Year, Vodafone’s Women of Pure Strength, Loreal’s Women of Worth 2016, and the Global Enterprise Summit’s GIST Competition 2017 Winner.