Have you ever wondered who the people behind BlueOrchard are? As part of our #BOFaces series, we are happy to introduce Rémi Filippi, Senior Investment Officer in our Nairobi office. We have interviewed Rémi to better understand what drives him and why he enjoys working in the impact investing industry.

Rémi, what do you like most about working in the impact investing industry?

Impact investing reconciles individuals’ career aspirations and personal values. I can practice a meaningful occupation with endless opportunities to learn, and at the same time contribute to make a difference in people’s lives. You get to interact with well-intended persons bringing-in different backgrounds, cultures and areas of expertise, all cooperating in impactful projects. It is very rewarding.

Why did you join BlueOrchard?

For the aforementioned reasons. Also, BlueOrchard has been a pioneer and remains a leader of this young impact investing industry; the company continually attracts new talents working alongside inspirational senior experts. Besides, I was very much interested in the advertised position (Investment Officer Africa) which was a new challenge, more grounded than my previous experiences, closer to the end-beneficiaries, with a greater scope of responsibilities and wider geographic coverage. No regrets!

What motivates you?

Seeing the impact of our work and continuously learning. As an investment officer, I meet with our end-clients, whether they are street vendors in Accra, school pupils in Abidjan, entrepreneurs in Nairobi or farmers of villages near Tunis. These conversations always provide an energy boost. Also, learning has always been my main driver, a compass guiding my education, professional and personal journeys. Over time, the desire to share has grown. I take greater pleasure at passing on knowledge, skills or ideas. All in all, these are still exchanges and new opportunities to learn.

How do you make an impact in your private life?

I try to be a connector, to build bridges between various social or cultural worlds. So that people meet, talk, get to understand and tolerate each other. This is a priority in today’s fragmented world where communication tools are plenty but we seem to have lost the instruction manuals. And I do this because I consider being well-equipped to bridge these gaps. I am a farm boy who grew-up in a small French village, left the countryside for Paris (France) to study management in prestigious institutions, travelled on five continents and migrated to Nairobi (Kenya) where I have since been working. That good fortune I had all along granted me with some keys to open various doors, and these are powerful tools I want to share.

What is the most valuable advice you can give to people interested in impact investing?

Contact us, we need you! Jokes apart, the industry is growing and so are work opportunities. Many applicants come from mainstream finance industry but engineers, environment specialists, techies are also required. So, my advice is to reach out to your friends, friends of friends or total strangers working in impact investing. Ask for a call or to share a coffee in order to get insights from insiders, demystify the work we do and see where you can best fit. There are several conferences, informal groups and we are also active on social media.

What is the biggest global challenge in your view?

To me, this is reducing inequalities while adapting to climate change. Depending on your lenses, inequalities are rising or reducing. What is sure is that climate change poses multiple risks to the planet, life in all its forms and the equilibrium of our human societies. Marginalized populations living in fragile countries are the most vulnerable and will bear the largest cost for global changes they have least contributed to. We need to find, finance and implement equitable sustainable solutions to meet both objectives.

Thank you, Rémi!