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in-person @jpmorgan

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David Robinson

David Robinson

What are your thoughts on impact investing?

It's always been important to me, personally and I'm glad to see more people are paying attention to how they’re investing and what they’re investing in. And they’re trying to do a better job of measuring the impact of their investing. I think those are all very good things, right? You learn kind of how to be involved, and giving the money is the last piece of the puzzle. You giving your time and your experience and your thought process. Giving up yourself is the part most people are going to benefit the most from.

How can someone start impact investing?

I'd say the very first thing is figure out what you're good at and what you’re passionate about because any type of giving is going to be a drain on you and your resources.

And you better enjoy what you’re doing. So I’d say number one is find where your strengths are, where your passions are. And then number two, find people in that area who are doing great work, and either take from what they’re doing or partner with them.

What habit has contributed most to your success?

I think I have a good sense of who I am and what I do well and what I bring to the table. And I’m not afraid to go and ask somebody to come alongside of me and to help. And I think I learned that in sports. Putting a team together, you have to know your strengths and you have to be able to take advantage of the other people’s strengths around you and work together. Because I go into the philanthropy world and I know very little about building schools or sustaining schools. And just getting around the right people and spending 25 years learning for myself has been a good experience. Same thing with business. I’m way behind my contemporaries in business. But I’m not afraid to ask the right questions and partner with the right people. And hopefully over time, my experience and my understanding will get to a level where I can be very effective.

What advice do you have for younger generations?

Get a skill set. Okay? I see a lot of the young people now, they’re jumping from job to job, and you’re trying to find the opportunity that’s going to move them forward the most. I would argue that, get your skill set. Get to be an expert at something and then build on that. It’s kind of a bad thing when you get five years, ten years down the road, and you’re not great at any one thing. So I’d say spend those first years, those early years in becoming very good at something.


Basketball legend David Robinson reveals the lessons he learned as he transitioned to impact investing.