Ruth Shaber on the key to delivering predictable financial returns

Did you know that 90% of the world’s money is controlled and invested by white men?

Did you also know that when women are at the table, investment returns are proven to be higher?

This is a conversation that will bring to life how portfolios can predictably outperform the market.

It also shines a spotlight on a truly broken system.

Recognising the stark disconnect between philanthropic grant dollars and how the rest of foundation assets are invested, Ruth Shaber wanted to do things differently with the Tara Health Foundation.

Their bold intention was to utilise all capital, not just grant money, towards driving their social purpose of improving the lives of women and girls.

This was about being 100% mission aligned.

BUT, this was just the beginning of this journey. What they discovered next was not only fascinating, but game changing.

It was also the catalyst to Ruth co-writing The XX Edge: Unlocking Higher Returns and Lower Risk.

Ruth Shaber is the founder and president of Tara Health Foundation, a philanthropic investment group that uses evidence-informed programs to promote women’s well-being and opportunities.

She is also on a mission to increase the assets managed by gender-diverse and racially-diverse teams to 33 percent by 2033.

Today we hear about all of this.

It’s a conversation packed full of proof points, stats and solid arguments that gender-diverse teams significantly outperform the market – predictably.

If you invest money – then you need to listen to this episode.

What was once considered radical is now a beacon of hope for a more inclusive and equitable future.

So throw on those running shoes, or grab your favourite beverage, and here is Ruth.

Please don’t forget to let us know what you think of this episode, leave a review and subscribe.

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If you would like to pre-order Return on Humanity: Leadership lessons from all corners of the earth, you can do that ⁠here⁠.

If you would like to buy Ruth’s book The XX Edge, you can do that ⁠here⁠.

For more insights into Ruth Shaber’s work and the Tara Health Foundation, you can visit their website here.

Welcome to the show where we expose new perspectives on our ever-evolving world through the lenses of various industries, cultures and backgrounds. Our guests are disruptors, united by a common goal to bring their purpose to life. Whether they’re from the commercial world or third sector, from the global north or the global south, expect an inspirational journey that will transform your perspective on just what is possible.

My name is Philippa White and welcome to TIE Unearthed. Just the other day, I was fed a sponsored ad by The Economist. It read, almost everywhere, women’s careers suffer more than men’s after they become parents.

Well, I then went on to LinkedIn and saw another post questioning the status quo, putting a spotlight on gender equity or the lack thereof. The conversation around gender equity needs more airtime, not only because focusing on gender equity is the right thing to do, but because it’s proven to make commercial sense. And today, Ruth tells us why.

Hello and welcome to episode 85 of TIE Unearthed. Ruth Schaber is an MD, a changemaker and innovator who has moved from the robust career as an OBGYN and senior executive at Kaiser Permanente to empowering women across finance and health care. Currently, she’s the founder and president of Tara Health Foundation, a philanthropic investment group that uses evidence-informed programs to promote women’s well-being and opportunities.

She is also the co-founder and board chair of Rhea Ventures, a collective of foundations and investors committed to bringing new types of capital to the reproductive health field. Her recently published book, The XX Edge, Unlocking Higher Returns and Lower Risk, serves as the basis for her new initiative, the Diverse Investing Collective, which aims to increase the assets managed by gender diverse and racially diverse teens to 33% by 2033. In our conversation, we talk about how investing with a gender focus outperforms the market, and we hear how investment returns are improved and a greater social impact created when cognitive, gender, and racial diversity is considered, as well as having women at the table when financial decisions are being made.

Our conversation is rooted in proof points, which makes you question why on earth is this not being taken more seriously? Ruth explains the reasons during our conversation. If you are, like me, keen to better understand these dynamics and understand what can be done to move the needle and create more impact, have a listen. This episode will get you wanting to pick up her book and use the information in it in your next meeting.

So grab that favorite beverage or throw on those running shoes. And here is Ruth. Hello, Ruth.


Thank you so much for joining me today on TIE Unearthed. It’s such a pleasure to be having this conversation with you today. It’s such a pleasure to be with you, Philippa.

Thank you for inviting me. Yeah, the power of social media. It’s just amazing, isn’t it? We communicated with one another over LinkedIn, had a conversation.

I adored our chat, read your book, and here we are on a podcast. Thank you. Wonderful.

Obviously, I have read your book and we will be talking about that as well as many of the things that you are working in, I find fascinating. Before we get there, I’d really like to just understand a little bit of the background of the person that I’m talking to. And before we even get there, actually, just tell me, where are you? Where are you sitting today? Right now, I’m in Redwood City, California, Northern California.

What’s the weather like today? It’s a lovely day. It’s sunny and we’ve had a lot of rain this winter, but it’s a beautiful day in the 60s. Redwood City is known for having the best climate in the country.

I think it was in the 1950s, the government commissioned a test and Redwood City won. And the town motto is Climate Best by Government Test. So we’re seeing a good example of it today.

It’s a gorgeous day. Tell us your story and just a little bit about you before the Tara Health Foundation, which you founded and obviously before the XX Edge, which is your book. Who is Ruth Schaber? I think at my core, I’m a healer and I spent most of my adult life as a physician.

I was both a clinician and also a senior executive at a small little health care organization called Kaiser Permanente here in the United States. And my career, in addition to being an OBGYN and being very committed to women’s health and my patients, I also had the privilege of having many different executive roles, including being director of women’s health and starting a research institute. My last job at Kaiser, I oversaw the evidence- based medicine programs, which means that it was my job to translate medical research into actual practice.

So how to translate the best science into the actual care that people would receive across the country in the entire program. That theme that runs through my medical career is that not only was I healing patients, but I was trying to heal the system. And as we all know, medical health care is one of the most complex systems.

And so I honed my skills in evidence-based practices and performance improvement in systems engineering. I left in 2012 and with the intention of bringing all that I had learned to my new career in philanthropy and impacting us. It’s just interesting listening to you talk.

My father was a physician. He passed away, but he was an anesthetist and he was the president of the quality of care board or patient safety committee for Canada. So growing up, I would hear a lot about the importance of challenging the system and advocating for patient health.

But from the point of view of anesthesiology, I talk about that in my book, actually, there’s a story that I include of my dad in there. So yes, I understand where that passion comes from. What was the catalyst to what you’re doing now then? Well, after I left my medical practice at Kaiser Permanente, I had a brief employment at a really large family foundation here in California.

They had over a $6 billion endowment and I was recruited to help them implement their patient care grant making. And I learned a lot about philanthropy and I learned a lot about how to use philanthropic dollars for social purpose. But I also saw how this huge body of money, $6 billion, that they were not spending in their grant money was not invested for their social purpose.

So there was this disconnect between how they use their grant money and philanthropic dollars and how they invested their corpus and the bulk of their assets, you know, the 95% of their money. It was really disturbing to me. And after I left that organization and had the opportunity to start Tara Health Foundation, it was with the intention of using all the capital of the foundation, not just the 5% or 10% that’s given away as grant money, but how do we invest our assets for social purpose? And I was convinced by what I’d read and who I talked to that this was something that could be done.

That was really what sparked the foundation of Tara Health Foundation and also that my commitment to improving the lives of women and girls and my background as an OBGYN provider. I had a particular interest in reproductive health and women’s health, but also more broadly, you know, how do we use the assets of this foundation to spur optimizing outcomes for women and girls and by improving outcomes for women and girls, we knew we would be improving outcomes for the communities more broadly. So just backing up, you know, what is the Tara Health Foundation? So Tara Health Foundation is a family foundation, which means that it was my own assets that I was able to essentially give away to start a foundation.

And this is somewhat of a uniquely American phenomenon of family foundations of all different sizes. Some are huge. I’m sure that your audience has heard of the Ford Foundation or MacArthur or Kellogg, and these are endowed in perpetuity foundations from very wealthy people.

And there are also smaller foundations that individuals like myself are able to start and have the same tax structure to them and that they’re a nonprofit. And the expectation is that the foundation will give away a certain amount of their money in grant money for some sort of social purpose in order to have that tax structure. You have to be clear on

what your social purpose is and how you’re going to be giving away your grant money.

But the IRS in the United States only expects foundations to give away 5 percent in order to qualify. And they don’t have any oversight on how that 95 percent is invested. So for instance, a foundation could be really concerned about the environment and use their 5 percent of their grant money to invest in climate mitigating efforts or buying up land and turning it into protected spaces or advocating against fossil fuel consumption.

But then in their 95 percent that they’re investing, they could be invested in fossil fuel companies or they could be invested in companies that are polluting water sources or who knows what. And so there isn’t any oversight from the government in terms of how we invest, even though there’s tremendous oversight and how we give the money away. The movement that I care very deeply about and that we’ve hope we’ve been amplifying through Tara Health is this notion that the investment capital should be as well aligned as our grant making.

And there’s lots of ways to do that. And that’s what we’ve been exploring and the field that we’ve been building at Tara Health Foundation. That’s so interesting.

And so just to dig a little bit deeper. So the Tara Health Foundation, part of it, obviously, which we will talk about, which is obviously what you talk about in your book, which is how that money is invested. But on the other side, the grant money.

So the money that is then given, that goes to who, where and what types of initiatives? So in our grant making, we have several pillars. One is certainly reproductive health. So we give away money to organizations that are promoting the science of contraception development, our black maternal health in the United States, which is in so much need of improvement, or helping organizations that provide access to abortion care or other types of new cervical cancer screening technologies.

So we have one of our pillars in our grant making is around reproductive health and women’s health more broadly. We also care about corporate responsibility and how corporations are advocating for human rights and women’s rights in particular. We also care about the workforce and particularly the bottom tier of the workforce pyramid and how low wage workers are getting access to good quality benefits or decreasing the wage gap in the United States and more broadly.

So we have these distinct pillars in our grant making. But then we also have a strategy across every asset class of our investing. So that includes private investing and venture capital.

We have a very robust debt program and how we give out loans. And also in the public markets, we think about how do we use our public investing in order to promote the social missions that we care about. And I also want to say that we started Tara Health

Foundation with this commitment to women and women and girls and women’s health and economic empowerment.

But in the past four years, we’ve also brought in a very robust strategy around racial equity and justice. And so we’ve added that lens to our both our grant making and our investing strategies. Wow, that’s fascinating.

And are you just focused in the US or do you focus elsewhere? Most of our work and our programs are in the United States, but we have had grant making and programs that are around the world. In particular, we were very involved with a maternal health company in Kenya called Jacaranda Health. And that’s one of our earliest investments.

It was a grant that turned into an investment. And that’s an interesting story. We try and match the type of capital that we use, whether it’s a grant or a loan or an investment to the type of problem that we’re solving.

So we have multiple tools in our toolkit and we have hammers, we have wrenches, we have saws and not everything is a nail. I think that’s a very popular metaphor that we try and assess the right tool for that problem we’re trying to solve. Yeah, that’s really interesting.

I love stories. So my book is about stories. I like telling stories.

I feel like when I hear stories, things make sense to me. Perhaps you can choose a story just to kind of help bring this to life for someone who’s listening. There’s certainly this notion of systems change and basing our decisions and the work we do on evidence.

But I also think that one of the most important stories of the Tara Health Foundation is shifting power. We started out with a lot of money, $82 million, that was owned by this foundation. How do we move this money to where it can do the most good? One of the most important pillars of our work at Tara Health is that we’re a spend down, which means that we are actually going to be done by 2030 and distributing this money as best we can in a relatively short period of time.

So we want to get the money out there and moving. The other pillar that’s really important about how we operate is that is what I’ve talked about being 100 percent mission aligned, which means we use not just our grant making, but also our investment strategy for our social purpose. It also means that we think about our human capital.

So it’s not just the dollars, but it’s also the human capital and how we promote equity and inclusivity in our workforce and how then we encourage and train our own team to go out in the world and be social innovators and to promote some of these same principles. And then on this theme of shifting power, the notion of how do we have an inclusive, racially just organization so that then we can do that same work out in the world? And that means we have a participatory grant making structure and investing

where our team and the communities we work with are the ones that decide how our grant money is spent. And we think about it all the time and that who’s making the decisions, who’s actually allocating the capital and making sure that we have the people who are closest to the problems we’re trying to solve be the ones that tell us how we should be using this money.

How do you do that? We recruit experts from the field, for instance, in the reproductive health space. We recruit in maternal health. We recruit the folks who are out there in the field taking care of women day to day who can come back and tell us, well, your money is going to have the most impact.

Actually, in one case, it was a guaranteed income for pregnant women who are otherwise don’t have resources. You can buy them a fancy hospital or make sure they get their vaccines. But actually, what’s really going to give them the best outcome is you write them a check once a month so that they can pay for their food and make sure their kids are safe.

And the science bears that out. But we wouldn’t have known that if we were sitting in some office in California. You had to be out in Alabama or Mississippi and actually talking to people to know what what actually makes a difference.

Totally. I see that in my work all the time. The power of talking to the locals and people don’t do that enough in any industry, in any work that is being done to find the solutions, to understand really what’s happening.

You just can’t make decisions. Sometimes it’s not intuitive. No, it’s not.

We had struggled, I mean, not to digress too much, but I think this is an important part of my work. When I was at Kaiser Permanente, whether we were designing a clinical trial or some new program, it was essential that we would bring patients into the conversation because there was no way we could design the right program if we didn’t have the end users actually advising us on what they needed. And in the early part of my career, that was radical.

The idea of bringing patients in to help you design a clinical trial, to have a diabetic sitting in the room telling you how to design a trial for some new diabetic drug. Now it seems so obvious. But at the time, there was a lot of like, well, they don’t know anything about medicine or how to administer this drug and the kinds of pushback that we would get.

And and now that standard practice in medicine, you would never try and change a system without having the end user there to advise you. And and I think in philanthropy and in investing, those are really still extremely new concepts. It’s up to us to not only practice those things, but also to demonstrate why it’s an effective strategy.

Tell me, what does it mean to change the pace of finance? Finance, other than health care, finance is certainly one of the most complex systems that I’ve ever encountered. So through our work at Tara Health, and we were having these very robust investment strategies across all asset classes. And in the early days, we were told, you know, be careful, you’re going to lose money.

This is concessionary, you’re not. And and lo and behold, after five, seven years, we were seeing that actually our portfolio was outperforming the market. So not only were we not losing money, we were actually making more money.

And it wasn’t in spite of having this 100 percent mission alignment around gender and racial equity. It was because we had this alignment. And that’s what led to my writing this book with Patience Marame Ball.

We we both had this experience of investing with a gender focused and realized that our portfolio was outperforming. So we looked across the literature and surfaced all the evidence that when women are at financial decision making tables, whether they’re entrepreneurs or they’re on their local school board deciding on a budget or they’re venture capitalists or they’re debt recipients for a small business or the CEOs of a Fortune 500 company or sitting on a board of a Fortune 500 company, that when women are at the table, investment returns are higher. Hard stop.

And I recognize that I’m using the word women. And in the book, we use the word women. And of course, we know that gender is not binary.

But in our research, these are people who self-describe themselves as women. And those are the ones that we that that was the way we set up our our evidence review. And we also know that people are individuals.

So these are tendencies. And that when you look at a whole population of people, that these are the outcomes that tend to see. When women are at the table, the decision making tends to be more collaborative.

Women take a different view on risk than men do. They’re much less influenced by social pressures. Women tend to look at the long view more than the short term gains.

And if you think about how men are more pressured into gambling or taking risks by social pressures, that women aren’t nearly as vulnerable to that. And so it makes sense if you think about a boardroom trying to make some decision about an acquisition of a new company. And if everyone sitting around the table looks the same and particularly if they’re all white men, they tend to make decisions that are more social pressured rather than more nuanced.

And so what we learned in our book is that diversity, gender diversity in particular, really outperforms the market. And the rationale for why that is true really extends to all types

of cognitive diversity and particularly racial diversity in the area that we’re interested in now. We’ve launched this new initiative called the Diverse Investing Collective, where we’re focusing on particularly at the portfolio manager level.

There are lots of people who are focused on gender finance or using smaller funds, new ways to invest that look at the owners of different firms and funds in order to move more money to women owned or people of color owned investment opportunities. But actually, 95 percent of the world’s money is invested in public markets where mutual funds and other types of investment structures, the decisions are made by people behind closed doors and we call them portfolio managers or fund managers. And over 85 percent of those people are white men.

And actually, the amount of money that they control is probably more like 90 percent of the world’s money is controlled by white men. From all of our research, we know that if we can diversify that part of the finance industry, not only will we get better investment returns, but we’re going to get better social impact. And we’re also going to get great jobs for women and people of color who’ve pretty much been denied access to that to those rooms.

Yeah, I mean, this is an area that I find fascinating. I talk about it, as I mentioned to you when we last spoke. I do talk about it in my book.

I wish we had a conversation before I wrote my book because I think that that section would have actually been a bit bigger. But it was just talking about exactly that sort of companies that are run by women or have women on the boards. They are more successful.

They have less turnover. They have a culture that people identify with. And I took it a step further in my book, just saying what’s crazy is, of course, there’s a challenge just in society when it comes to child care, when it comes to having children.

And that responsibility tends to fall on the woman. And so they aren’t able to be necessarily in the workforce in the same way as men on average. And why that happens is a whole other conversation.

But what’s madness to me is I look at a whole load of my friends who are Ivy League, Oxbridge graduates, highly intelligent women, who have had to take a step back because of their children.

You’ve now got this pool of incredibly intelligent women who have huge problems with self-esteem because they’re not in the workforce or haven’t been in the workforce. But they’re highly capable and absolutely incredible assets to any company. And I just feel it’s madness that these companies have one allowed that to even happen, because why is there not more flexibility to allow these women to be in the workforce, because you will get an amazing return.

So there has to be some kind of flexibility there, or figuring out how to get these women back, because it’s not good for them. It’s a whole pool of people. Why is no one investing more in that pool of people? And also everyone should read your book because it’s full of proof that if these women were in the workforce, your companies would be better on all the metrics, all the metrics.

So well said. Well, part of our work with this diverse investing collective, first of all, our goal is to see 33 percent of capital managed by gender and racially diverse teams by 2033. An important thing that we’re tracking is dollars.

So we want the amount of capital, not just the amount of bodies. We want to see the diversity of the teams. And it doesn’t mean that we want all women teams either.

We want diversity because that’s when the magic happens, when you have people from different backgrounds sitting around the table. Your points about why are we stuck, certainly bias and expectations that these are not the right jobs for women is part of it. And there’s no question that even asset owners, the people who have the money and are making decisions about who’s investing it, that there’s these preconceived ideas that this is men’s work, which obviously isn’t true.

But what we know also is that there are a lot of women who are going into the finance industry, that they’re going to business school, that they’re graduating and they’re taking good first level jobs at some of these huge firms. But they don’t stay for all the reasons that you’ve just described. They have their families or the culture is just toxic.

How do we get them to stay? And we think that it’s a demand side strategy, which means that the asset owners, the clients of these big firms need to demand the diversity, both gender and racial diversity in the teams managing their money. And the firms aren’t going to be motivated to diversify because they’re not running out and getting my book. I wish they would, but they’re not.

And they’re not going to be motivated to diversify unless their clients demand it. And when they hear that signal loud and clear that they need to be able to demonstrate a diverse team, then they’re going to have to change their culture in order to get those women and people of color to want to stay or to recruit them back after they have their families or to tap into other industries, sales industry or marketing or places where women have been able to be more successful and rise to the top of the ranks, even though the skills that are used are very similar to the ones in the investment industry. But there needs to be that driver to change the culture in order to retain the talent.

And we’re hoping that we can do that by being really clear and demanding the transparency. So you touched on it and I haven’t highlighted specifically your book. I wonder if you can explain why did you write your book? Who should read it? And what’s it about? Okay, so my co-author Patience Marame Ball and I were deep in the gender finance space and doing workshops and teaching.

And we found that the folks who were showing up to learn about the value of women in finance were other women. And the men just didn’t think it was about them. And sadly, so many of the investors who have discovered the power of gender diversity in their portfolios are actually invested in very small, very sort of niche funds.

And they tend to actually cannibalize each other. So they’re competing for tens of millions of dollars, rather than the trillions that are over here in the rest of the market. So we wrote the book in an attempt to what we call jump the fence.

We wanted to be able to make the case to the rest of the finance industry that hadn’t discovered the power of gender diversity yet. So we are targeting men, white men who

might pick it up in an airport or have some other reason to think about it. We wanted to make it sexy that this is actually the leading edge of the finance industry.

And I still believe if there was anything else that delivered the predictable returns as powerfully as bringing women onto an investment team, it would have been done decades ago. But because our biases are so strong that we think that women don’t belong in that table, it’s crazy. A study that was published after our book came out from Vanguard looked at 2,600 actively managed funds, and they compared the fund management teams based on their gender diversity.

And they found that if you have a gender diverse team with more women than men at the table, predictably, that fund will outperform the market by at least 47 basis points. So we think that just like any market change, whether it was organic food or something else, that the consumer needs to come in and say, hey, Safeway, hey, Acme, I really want some organic food. And when enough people come in and demand that, then those traditional grocery stores are going to have to find distributors, wholesalers, who actually know the farmers who are growing the organic food.

And look, now you can go into any grocery store, and there’s tons of organic food, right? It’s not just Whole Foods anymore. And any industry operates in the same way. The supplier of the products, which are the big banks, the Black Rocks, State Street, Fidelity, Vanguard, they’re not going to actually change their practices unless their clients, which are the pension funds, the university endowments, the big foundations, come in and say, hey, look, I read this book.

It’s clear that I need a more diverse team managing my money, so what are you going to do about it? Or else I’m going to take my money somewhere else. What excites you every day with the work that you do? I’ve been so lucky to work with some amazing people. I think starting from my earliest days when I was chief of my department of OBGYN at Kaiser Permanente, through my executive work, and then starting the Tara Health Foundation, and the work we’re doing now on the Diverse Investing Collective, I’ve just been so lucky to have amazing people to work with me, peers, other organizations that we partner with.

And so that’s what really gets me out of bed in the morning is who I get to work with. And frankly, I say this all the time, you’re only as good as the people who work for you. And I’ve been really, really lucky.

I mean, just listening to you talk, because obviously, it’s been a journey, right? I almost see life as a puzzle. I say this often, actually, because I just so many people that I interview on my podcast, and so many conversations I have, it’s the same, you know, you see someone’s trajectory and how they got to where they are. And, you know, it’s all these different puzzle pieces that kind of fit together to start to create whatever that picture is.

And it’s amazing, you know, you started as OBGYN and as a physician and look at you now, you know, running your own foundation, and it’s so rooted in purpose. And it must just be so gratifying to just be able to live out your purpose and how that started with being a physician working in women’s health, but how it’s now changing a system and how it’s now challenging bias and it’s challenging business and it’s challenging diversity and saying, you know, this is how things need to be. And it’s really inspirational.

It’s fantastic, isn’t it? Thank you, Philippa. And it’s true, whether you’re healing a person or healing a system, so many of the conversations are really very similar to try and get to the root cause of why something’s not working, whether for an individual patient who can’t take her medicine to a whole system that’s broken because we have different technologies not accessible or information is incomplete. So it’s not that different.

And yes, I’ve had a fabulous career and I’ve loved it all. Tell me why is it called Tara Health Foundation? So when we were naming the organization, we wanted to name it after a powerful goddess. Most of the Greek and Roman gods, goddesses, while they may in fact be powerful, they tend to have some sort of nefarious or evil theme, right? Either they want to eat their children or destroy the world.

And I’ve always been fascinated by Eastern religion. So Tara is a Buddhist. She’s not really a goddess.

She’s a messenger of Buddha. There’s green Tara and white Tara. And white Tara in particular has a nurturing maternal streak to her and it’s hard to find anything nefarious about her stories.

That’s beautiful. I love that. Yeah.

She’s also kind of an all-purpose. Tara shows up in Hindu stories and also she’s an Irish goddess too. So she was kind of interdenominational goddess.

Perfect for an accessible foundation that’s touching the lives of many people. It’s perfect. Yes.

Now, what are some takeaways that you can leave our listeners with? Well, one thing that we didn’t talk about too much about what we write about in the book, but I mentioned it a little bit in my experience with healthcare, is about the notion of being proximate to the problems that need to be solved. So one reason in this, we talk about a lot in the book, one reason that women are such an important and essential member of a financial decision-making team is that they have different lived experiences than men. It’s not that men don’t also have important experiences, but if you don’t have women at the table, then you’re missing out on all that they could bring.

And women tend to be, you know, 85% of healthcare decisions, at least in the United States and I think around the world are made by women. Women tend to be the frontline

providers in healthcare. They tend to be the ones who are the consumers doing most of the consumer shopping.

They tend to be the ones who are the educators and understand the education system the best. And so this notion of being proximate to the problems is a really essential part of decision-making, whether it’s within a corporation or in government or you’re an entrepreneur. And I think that one of the things that I’ve learned from writing this book and talking to people is that there’s been a generational shift.

My mother’s day, she was a very successful consultant. She never talked about her children. She never would mention that she’s got a kid at home who’s sick.

And she was always scrambling to show up like a man, right? To perform in her very competitive environment. She could not in any way acknowledge what might be going on at home for her. And yet today, you know, the workforce that I’ve been able to recruit and certainly what we’ve seen in the evidence from the book, people’s lived experience and what they have going on at home is actually an essential part of the contributions that they make to their professional lives.

And so I think that one of the most important messages for people is don’t leave what’s going on for you at home at home. It’s actually really important. And to lean into those experiences, and obviously you have to sort them.

Some are more relevant than others, but to not be afraid to bring your whole self to your workplace. I think that’s such great advice. It’s unbelievable how much self-awareness is coming into the conversations that I’m having and the importance of understanding what makes you happy, but also having that self-awareness and that confidence to be able to be yourself, be vulnerable, have the courage to be vulnerable.

And like you say, the more authentic you are and the more you bring your whole self to any kind of situation, the more that people trust you, the more that people understand you and empathize with you, and the more that you can connect with people. So it really is a win-win. And I think the old school way of thinking about business and leadership and management is sort of this cold kind of calculated way of managing people.

But as my book talks about, which is Return on Humanity, Leadership Lessons from All Corners of the World, what I do try and get across is that importance of tapping into your human assets and the importance of being vulnerable and flexible and empathetic. And that’s exactly what you’ve just confirmed. And I couldn’t agree more.

That’s what I’ve also written a book on. Now, what haven’t I asked you that you’d like to tell our listeners? Well, we’ve talked a lot about the financial returns when women are at the table, when you have cognitive diversity and racial diversity of financial decision making, but we haven’t really talked as much about the social impact. This is also

something that came out in the XX Edge, that even if you’re recruiting a diverse team, because you want your portfolio to outperform, you’re also going to get all kinds of other good stuff.

We know that when women are in senior leadership positions at public companies, that they’re more likely to pay attention to climate change and to institute policies that are more environmentally aware. Or that when women are at the portfolio manager level, and they’re making a decision about what companies to invest in, they’re more likely to take things like pay equity, or the type of benefits that a company’s offering, or whether they engage in human trafficking, or whether they have sexual harassment claims against them. We know they’re more likely to take those things into consideration when they’re deciding which companies to invest in.

Those sorts of social impact implications go on and on and on. And it’s certainly true for women when they’re at the table, but also true for people with other types of diverse backgrounds. So this is truly a win-win, that you not only as an investor, you’re going to get the financial returns on your portfolio, but you’re also going to get a better world for all of us.

So while you might think, well, I don’t care about pay equity, I don’t care about how much a CEO gets paid. These sorts of decisions actually impact us all, whether we’re tiny investors with a 401k, or we’re sitting on an investment committee of a huge endowment. I think that there’s very few things in the system that clearly will give us all benefits.

In the context of what we’ve just talked about, I wonder if you have a quote that you can share with us that just sums up what we’ve been talking about today. Who controls capital matters. Oh, that’s nice.

Thank you. That’s really nice. Well, thank you very much for joining me, Ruth.

It’s been a fascinating conversation. I highly recommend anyone who finds any of this interesting to read your book. Like you did say to me, it’s a very easy read, just go through it.

And I found it a very quick read. It is full of so many stats. So if anybody is interested in this area and just needs some proof to this, literally, I would say on every page, there’s stats and just confirmation and proof points, which must have been so much work to collate for that book.

I can’t even imagine. So it’s called the XX Edge. And I will put a link on the bio so that people can just click on it.

And of course, the Terra Health Foundation, I’ll put some information there as well for anyone that finds what you do of interest. And thank you for being here today. Thanks so much, Philippa.

It was my pleasure. Take care. Hey, everyone, this is Philippa again.

I hope you enjoyed listening. Now, this is your chance to get involved with TIE. If you’re looking to create better leaders, better companies and a better world, that’s just what we do by helping leaders tap into their greatest asset, their humanity.

We have a number of corporate programs that impact a range of people from individuals at a company to 500 people around a business. Or check out my book, Return on Humanity, leadership lessons from all corners of the world. You’ll find the answers to how business can truly become a positive force while remaining at the forefront of competition.

You can find all the information you need on all of this at Get in touch and I can explain more. A huge thanks to Berna Vieira for co-producing this with me and for creating the music. I hope we’ll meet up again soon.


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