6 Women Investors Building Tomorrow’s Economy

This Women’s History Month lies on the precipice of a major transition in finance. According to a McKinsey study, women stand to inherit $30 trillion in the incipient Great Wealth Transfer by 2030. Whether it’s their own or institutional capital, women are playing essential roles in building tomorrow’s economy, and often through paths that seek to ensure that profit, people, and the planet all work together. With that in mind, here are six women building that ecosystem today as investors, entrepreneurs, and serious changemakers.

Patty Arvielo

Patty Arvielo, a self-made entrepreneur, has spent over 40 years in the mortgage industry, co-founding and leading New American Funding, the largest Latina-owned mortgage company in the US. With 230 locations and approximately 4,100 employees nationwide, she’s overseen significant growth in operations and sales. Patty’s achievements include recognition in Forbes’ 50 Over 50 list and induction into the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Hall of Fame. She champions fairness and equality through initiatives like Latino Focus and NAF Dream, aiming to increase lending to diverse communities. Patty’s industry influence extends to various committees and board memberships, including the Harvard Kennedy School Board and Century Communities.

In her work expanding the field of Latinas in business, Patty is Chairwoman and Partner of #WeAllGrow Latina, a 100% Latina-owned and operated community platform that provides access to resources and connections for professional growth. In 2023, Vanguard University named its School of Business and Management after her, marking her as the first Hispanic woman to receive such an honor.

Erin Harkless Moore

Erin’s expertise spans various asset classes, particularly in private markets and early-stage venture capital. She manages portfolios ranging from $100 million to over $1 billion. Additionally, she sits on Pivotal Ventures’ Executive Leadership Team, contributing to organizational priorities and decision-making.

Before joining Pivotal, Erin spent eight years at Cambridge Associates, focusing on impact and mission-aligned investments. She frequently speaks on investing with a social equity/gender lens and emerging managers. Erin holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BSBA magna cum laude from Washington University in St. Louis. Erin was recognized in the inaugural Black Women in Asset Management 40 under 40 List in 2022.

Erin is identifying, investing in, and overseeing a diverse portfolio that drives breakthrough innovations and promotes women’s agency and influence. Outside of work, she serves on the Board and Investment Committee for Builders Initiative and volunteers for Washington University

Celia Smoot

Celia Smoot has over two decades of experience in affordable housing, specializing in finance and regulatory compliance. Currently serving as the Senior VP Head of Fund Investments at KeyBank, she oversees the bank’s investments in Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Affordable Preservation and Small Business Investment Company Funds.

Before joining KeyBank, Celia held the position of Vice President at National Affordable Housing Trust, where she spearheaded various initiatives, including the development of focused funds for BIPOC developers and providing technical support to nonprofit organizations and housing authorities. Earlier in her career, she served as Director of LISC Housing, leading a national team in setting housing strategy and policy and managing housing funds.

Celia also directs KeyBank’s Community Development and Investment impact strategy. This program provides investment capital in every state, aiding the preservation of affordable housing and the development of new affordable housing projects like the acquisition and pending rehabilitation of Cambridge Square Apartments in Monroeville, PA.

Rachel J. Robasciotti

Rachel J. Robasciotti is the CEO and Founder of Adasina Social Capital, an investment and financial activism firm serving as a critical bridge between financial markets and social justice movements. Rachel’s passion for social justice investing is rooted in her background as a Black, queer woman and growing up in a community that struggled for safety and financial security within a rural town that was largely segregated. She graduated high school at 15 and studied economics at UC Berkeley before founding a financial services firm that would later become Adasina.

Rachel is a leader in diversifying finance, co-creating the Due Diligence 2.0 Commitment, an effort to transform the investment industry and increase capital flow to Black, Indigenous, and people of color asset managers. In late 2020, Rachel, through Adasina, launched the Adasina Social Justice All Cap Global ETF, which seeks to track an index designed to support progressive movements for change through a highly diversified, global, all-cap portfolio.

Cheryl Contee

Cheryl Contee serves as the Chief Executive Officer at The Impact Seat Foundation, which is dedicated to fostering an environment where women can thrive as business leaders. Additionally, she is the Founder and Chair of Do Big Things, a renowned digital agency focused on creating innovative narratives and technologies for contemporary causes and campaigns. Cheryl, author of “Mechanical Bull: How You Can Achieve Startup Success,” leverages her extensive startup entrepreneurship and community engagement background to guide portfolio companies and funds toward success.

Passionate about driving progress in the new economy, Cheryl co-founded, the first tech startup with a black female founder to be acquired by a NASDAQ company, and holds positions as National Board Chair for Netroots Nation and Senior Advisor for Astia. Additionally, she was the inaugural portfolio company board member of New Media Ventures.

The Impact Seat Foundation aims to create a world in which women, particularly women of color, can thrive as business leaders. Their approach is a Full Stack Philanthropy Model, which blends grantmaking, advocacy and investing. Barbara Clarke, Founder of The Impact Seat Foundation, has invested in over 60 women-led businesses and 17 women-led funds, and donated a portion of these to the foundation.The Impact Seat Foundation reinvests profits back into the grant and programming ecosystem to support women in business.

Kirsti Chou

Originally from Finland and now residing in San Francisco, CA, Kirsti Chou transitioned from a career in operations to become a climate tech investor. With a solid commitment to equity and justice, Kirsti prioritizes creating access and opportunities for underrepresented founders and funders.

Since 2020, Kirsti has devoted herself full-time to climate tech investment, startup advising, and philanthropy. Her portfolio boasts over 20 climate tech investments, and she holds three limited partner positions in climate tech funds. Additionally, she actively supports various climate-focused non-profits and has initiated the creation of an investment syndicate called Planet Positive, aimed at collaborating with other angels and families to invest in climate tech companies. Initiatives like Planet Positive,, and her diverse portfolio of founders exemplify her dedication to fostering inclusivity and diversity within the climate tech industry.

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