Constructing a prezi presentation

Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of presenting the VANCOUVER+acumen/Acumen Fund model to an impact investing meetup in Vancouver. It was also the first time I was on a panel of speakers and it was a really humbling experience to be there with other passionate/knowledgable people working in the Vancouver impact investing space. I would like to share my prezi presentation that I gave that day as well as couple of notes that I have picked up along the way from building my fair share of prezi presentations.

1) Build a picture: Prezi is a fantastic tool when you are trying to present a concept as an overall vision. It adds the dimension of space to the presentation which is a blessing in disguise. I find the best prezi presentation is a picture that you build in an audience’s mind. When the presentation is finished, it really should be a complete single picture with a few takeaways. This is the most important differentiation point on why you should pick prezi over keynote: when you want to construct a visual picture as opposed to a linear flow of ideas.

2) Draw out your presentation: When constructing this presentation, I spent a long time beforehand thinking about what I wanted my final picture to be. I knew the message I wanted to deliver: the acumen story in two parts – the business/investment process and moral leadership. How that information is presented is a different story. I chose a mountain and split my presentation to show the first part and then unveil the lower half of the mountain as the second story.

3) Construct your path: I love the zooming ability of prezi, and when used properly, can really add alot of impact to your presentation. My two favourite ways of using this tool is the ability to give a sense of diving into something, or moving from one concept to another (think – movie reel). I personally haven’t been able to find an effective way of using the tool that rotates words (unless its surrounding a circle) as I find that it disrupts the flow path instead of adding (I’ve had feedback where I was overly excited and use it too much – people actually became dizzy with the zooming in and out).

Hence, this tool really should then be used to unveil layers (think – Inception dream layers) in your presentation – however deep you want to dive. Keep the layers consistent working from big –> small, or in my presentation above, I chose to go small –> big. For my presentation the 3 layers I wanted to create was moving from the core of Acumen – creating a world beyond poverty, to the how of their business model, building on that to their complete picture which includes moral leadership, and finally the overall call to action of getting involved with Vancouver for Acumen.

If you’re interested in getting in touch to learn more about VANCOUVER+acumen/Acumen Fund, please feel free to be in touch!

Note: The pictures in my prezi is an Acumen investment: WaterHealth International. You can read more about them here.

*All pictures and images are the property of VANCOUVER+acumen and Acumen Fund. 

VANCOUVER+acumen Presentation – Making an Impact through Social Finance

For the past year and a half or so, I have been involved with an incredible group, VANCOUVER+acumen. We’re a volunteer chapter supporting Acumen Fund by actively championing Acumen’s innovative model of patient capital to elevate global poverty. We achieve this by engaging in community, ranging from informational workshops, monthly salons and our annual case competition. As one of the founding members, it has been a great privilege to work alongside such passionate individuals in this space and to continue to create a world beyond poverty.

I’m really excited to announce that I will be speaking at the inaugural Canadian Global Impact Investing meetup in Vancouver on behalf of the group – sharing the acumen model (both on a global and chapter level) to the impact investing community in Vancouver. The event will be held on Wednesday, Nov 23rd from 6:30pm – 9pm at SFU Segal Graduate School of Business in downtown Vancouver. You can check out more details about the event here.

Three other organizations will also be presenting at the event: Vancity, Global Catalyst Initiative and Opportunity International Canada. Also, at the event, they will be giving away door prizes ( 2 books I couldn’t recommend highly enough): Impact investing: Transforming How We make Money While Making a Difference – Jed Emerson, Antony Bugg-Levine and Banker to the Poor – Muhammad Yunus.

See you on the 23rd. Looking forward to connecting with other fellow impact investing/social enterprise champions.

Catalyzing Social Capital Markets: 4 key publications

I’m not sure if I suffer(?) a bad case of Confirmation Bias but it seems (and this is a broad generalization of course!) that there has been a rise in news, webinars, events or articles about impact investing and/or social enterprise. I wrote the post below for SocialEarth two days ago and it already needs updating! From the amount of responses and retweets, people really love resource/reading lists! Hence, I will start sharing resources that I come across here instead of blasting out via email to my friends (I’m under a delusion that they love receiving news like this – no one has opted out so far!).

So 2 quick updates. Upcoming (free!) webinars on impact investing.

1) How to Be An Impact Investor hosted by MaRS Centre for Impact Investing

Date: Thurs, Oct 27th 2011

Time: 12pm – 1pm (EST)

Key themes/questions (from event description):

  • How do you convert your motivations for a just and equitable society or a pollution-free environment into an effective investment policy statement that will enable you to make both positive impact and seek the financial return requirements of your organization?
  • What level of due diligence should you conduct to determine whether a venture is a good candidate for such investments?
  • What skills and expertise can you draw on internally or acquire through external advisors or managers to aid in your decision-making process?
  • What opportunities and challenges should you be cognizant of as you seek to re-align your investment portfolio with your mission and values, both organizationally and personally?

2) Impact Investing: Challenges and Prospects hosted by Jed Emerson and Antony Bugg-Levine

Date: Mon, Nov 7th 2011

Time: 12pm -1pm (EST)

Key themes/questions (from event description):

  • Roots of impact investing, examples of its practice today
  • Challenges that need to be addressed: regulations, cultivating transformational leaders, measuring blended value, bringing in philanthropic capital, limits and challenges of impact investing
  • Charting a course for ‘blended value’ investment strategies that make money while improving social and environmental conditions.


*The post below was orig­i­nally pub­lished on on Oct 11, 2011

Capitalism has alot to answer for these days. Members of this group range from ardent Occupy Wall Street protesters to a sense of common vision that seems lacking amongst citizens. Today, we turn to four wonderful publications highlighted at  SOCAP11  that has been creating momentum to redefine capitalism and would be a significant contribution to the public debate.

1) Impact Investing: Transforming How We Make Money While Making A Difference – Jed Emerson, Antony Bugg-Levine

This ground-breaking book should be your first choice to pick up to explore the transformative power of impact investing. The book explores an integrated alternative to traditional philanthropy and investing – highlighting the applications of impact investing as well as its potential. It demonstrates how it is and can be a positive disruptive force. Perhaps the most interesting angle of this book is the usage of time with impact investing, providing a historical and predictive perspective enabling readers to have a solid understanding of what the present holds. The authors ultimately offer a optimistic vision for what we can collectively achieve when our assets work in unison with our values. As a bonus, I can assure you that the authors are as inspiring in person as they are in the book. No jokes.

Further Resources:


2) Innovations Journal: SOCAP 11 – Impact Investing Special Edition

I’ve been a big fan of Innovations – quarterly compilations of commentary, research and essays from leading innovators in their field. There was a special edition of Innovations for SOCAP11 containing a myriad of perspectives on building the intersection on money and meaning as part of the solution to global challenges. Below is the complete list of contributors in this special edition.

My pick out of all the essays was one by Robert Katz and Brian Trelstad of Acumen Fund on Mission, Margin and Mandate. The essay firstly unwraps the definition of scale and sustainability and then lays out the three paths to achieve this goal through mission, margin and mandate. I was particularly hooked on the dilemma presented: what should take precedence when building out a social enterprise?

  • “At what point do you evangelize your solution to raise mission-based grant capital or volunteer support to work on that new product?
  • At what point to you buckle down and simply execute on sales and service to grow your margins?
  • When do you approach the government for changes to policy that might help get that mandate to scale?”

Further Resources:

  • You can obtain a free copy of their essay here
  • Bonus offer: Write an Amazon review for the SOCAP11 Impact Investing Special Edition and receive a free subscription to the Innovations Journal.


3) Design for the Other 90% – Cynthia Smith, Paul Polok

“It is a discipline that uses the designer’s sensibility and methods to match people’s needs with what is technologically feasible and what a viable business strategy can convert into customer value and market opportunity”. Tim Brown, Change By Design

This book is an extraordinary collection of more than 30 design projects targeted specifically to design low-cost solutions for the world’s population that have little or no access to most products (the other 90%). The stories and brilliant illustrations (partnered with the Smithsonian’s Cooper Hewitt, National Design Museum) takes the reader through unique ways to provide better access to basic needs and how innovations in design are often the most successfull in addressing these issues.


Further Resources:


4) A New Foundation for Portfolio Management – Portfolio 21, RSF Social Finance

One of the fundamental concepts that permeates portfolio construction and the asset management world is Modern Portfolio Theory (MPT) – how do you maximize portfolio expected return for a given amount of risk by choosing various proportions of assets. This paper is a great starting point in a call to arms to reevaluate MPT in light of the impact of ecological limits and global impact of investments. The premise of the paper focuses on: 1) Integrated Risk; 2) Selective Growth; and 3) Multidimensional Utility Function to provide investors clarity on the long-term implications of managing a portfolio that goes beyond a purely financial purpose.

Further Resources:

  • Portfolios of the Poor: How the poor live on $2 a day  – Daryl Collins, Jonathan Morduch, Stuart Rutherford, Orlanda Ruthven


Review: UBC iWeek Global Keynote Speaker- Paul Rusesabagina (Hotel Rwanda)

A couple weeks ago, I attended a very interesting event, one that provoked two thoughts:

1) There is always, always two sides of a story and

2) We need to use resources around us – beyond what we have at hand in order to learn

This event was in UBC as part of the International Week celebrations:

To provide some background: (Taken from event description)

Mr. Paul Rusesabagina was the manager of the Sabena Hôtel des Mille Collines, and sheltered hundreds of Tutsis and moderate Hutus people for a hundred days using all available resources to him.  His courageous efforts thwarted bands of genocidal militia while Rwanda descended into outright genocide and civil war, and was celebrated in the Hollywood movie production, “Hotel Rwanda”.

A recipient of numerous international awards, including the Wallenberg Medal and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Mr. Rusesabagina is a powerful speaker with a story of heroism and humanity in inhumane conditions.  In addition to his experiences during and after the Rwandan genocide, Mr. Rusesabagina will share his insights into the nature of the conflict, the failure of the West to stop it, and the challenges of reconciliation.

The event started out with a quick introduction by Brian Sullivan and quickly proceeded to Paul Rusesabagina’s speech itself. I won’t go into details of the speech, which was an account of his experiences of the Rwandan genocide and what went down in Hotel Rwanda. It was incredible hearing his accounts first hand, but the real experience cam during the Q&A period. Prof. Michael Byers was the moderator for the session.

Three things occured during the Q&A that took me completely by surprise:

1) There was a substantial amount of people that are Rwandan genocide refugees that were present. I had no idea that event of this event managed to reach past the UBC community, which was impressive.

2) The questions regarding comparisons of South Africa and Rwanda’s economy was very much unexpected, considering the different political, cultural and economic conditions of both countries.

3) The response towards Paul Rusesabagina’s speech was centered around his accountability and actions of Hotel Rwanda.

Needless to say, due to time constraints, only 3-4 questions were answered and the session ended. However, several Rwandan community representatives spoke up on their version of Paul Rusesabagina’s actions, questioning his motives, financial accountability as well as alliances during the genocide. They had the Chan Centre riveted with accounts of their personal stories of their survival and encounters with the military.

I have been to numerous events at the Chan but this was the first one that I have ever experienced such a strong outcome and discussion after. Students were gathering outside the Chan around these Rwandan genocide survivors who were engaging in more personal conversation about their experiences and there was buzz in the atmosphere about newfound knowledge.

My Main Takeaway: Paul Rusesabagina has been potrayed by Hollywood as a hero and revered for his courageous efforts during the genocide. However, the discussion at the Chan center which questioned his alliances, financial accountability, and actual self-preservation efforts. This  has made me realise that there are always two sides to a story, no matter how well know one side is. It is our responsibility to always be aware of the other side.

I leave you with a phenomenal TED talk by Chimamanda Adiechi telling the danger of a single story. Because our lives and cultures are composed of many overlapping stories, if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding.

Review: The Munk Debates

“We need compassion to get ourselves started, and enlightened self-interest to get ourselves serious . . . that’s the alliance that changes the world” Paul Collier

“Evidence overwhelmingly demonstrates that aid to Africa has made the poor poorer, and the growth slower. ” Dambisa Moyo

“Unless there is recognition that women are most vulnerable… and you do something about social and cultural equality for women, you’re never going to defeat this pandemic.” Stephen Lewis


I absolutely love the concept of bringing together ideas, as I think it is one of the most vital platforms in which we can learn and grow from one another. Consider The Munk Debates, a remarkable debate series that I followed/am following that brings together prominent leaders to debate about major issues concerning the world and Canada.  It is one of the few platforms that brings together the opinions of prominent people and places them head to head against each other and see how they fare. The model of this debate also works around the fact that the debate is subject to public scrutiny and opinion.

In terms of organisation, they have been wise in their selection of debaters. ie. Stephen Lewis – pretty much a Canadian icon, or controversial writers like Dambisa Moyo that would really draw the audience to participate and consider the topic of choice. The chosen topics are also well timed, the first one set just before the US presidential elections in November 2008, urging the public to consider global security in light of the elections.

So, if you haven’t been following the debates (There is one every 6 months), here are three reasons why (aside from the usual exposure to new ideas):

1) It’s FREE

The organisers have done an amazing job making the debates accessible online. The debates are streamed live, can be re-watched, audio, mp3, read the debate transcript, etc. Did I mention that its all free? Enough said. Watch!

2) SAVES you time

There are few places online that you are able to find Stephen Lewis, Paul Collier, Dambisa Moyo, Mia Farrow, John Bolton’s, etc. opinions all in one place. All of them are extremely influential and respected individuals in their respective fields and it’s a one stop/click/video for amazing insights into different topics. It also enables you to see their positions on certain topics, which would help you greatly in terms of referring/researching on a topic/individual should you want to investigate in more depth their publications and opinions.

3) COMMENT on your position

For a certain period after the debates, an online poling station (open to a random selct group of Canadian panelist) and mediated forum (open to the general public) is set up. You get to see and comment on an ‘opinions forum’, and sometimes you find some of the most amazing ideas and positions that the public has taken on it. A data analysis is also run based on the online poling station and you can see the breakdown of opinion on the debate topic as well as the key points that are brought up during the debate.

In other words, you watch the debates, comment, and view stats. Love it.

Past debate topics:






Some future debate topic lineups:

Religion is a force of good in the world

More Free market and less government regulation is the answer to our economic woes

Final thoughts: Ranked: 9/10. Improvement: Better advertising. I only found this after navigating heavily through the Globe and Mail.


Note: All pictures are taken from