“Unleashing our souls, our creativity has a place even in my work-world: we need more creators, ideas, we need different ways to communicate, to connect, to innovate, to reach out to others!”
Edina Csanyi is Senior Social Programme Officer at the EIB Institute. She joined EIB in 2009 as a lawyer, and later worked in various positions, such as setting up the European Investment Advisory Hub. She is a certified corporate sustainability advisor (NYU Stern) and an avid guest lecturer at universities and other forums on the topic of net positive, the law of unintended consequences and other subjects relating to the challenges of our times. Further, in her life outside the Bank, she enjoys spending time with her favourite people (=her family) and works on community projects and anything that has to do with movement and music.
We had an insightful conversation with her, about her first experiences with impact investing, the rewards and challenges of her work, and also about the main trends in impact investing she foresees.
When did you first meet with term impact investing? What were your first thoughts about it?
10 years ago in Budapest, at the Social Innovation Tournament (an EIB competition created by my now-boss Luisa Ferreira, to reward Europe’s best social entrepreneurs), I started talking with Peter Zaboji, and I knew that something special was beginning in Hungary!
What were my first thoughts? That it is time to return to invest into producing, creating products and services that are truly useful to society, to the environment, and it is time to step away from profit being the only goal and measurement of success.
By “return”, I mean that we may not have to reinvent the wheel: when the industrial revolution started, products and services were first created because they were truly useful for the user until, at some point, we arrived at today, where profit is the goal, and companies use “smart” marketing tools like influencers to explain to people why they need to purchase and subscribe to things or services in an extortionate excess that suffocates both the people and the planet.)
So, I tought, great, it is time to step away from profit being the only goal and find back to (and take a refreshed take on) the “old days” where we create things and services that actually help improve our lives!
In your bio you wrote a phrase I really liked: „I am an aspiring change-maker at the crossroads of rationality and creativity: a lawyer who is a dancer/choreographer”. How difficult is to be at this crossroad, can you easily balance between these roles?
To be honest, for a while, I was hiding my creative side because I had this observation that, in the corporate/banking/finance world, ‘’oddballs’’ fit in less: you may be an interesting character if you play in a theatre or a band, but might not be taken that seriously professionally…you know, you would always be ‘’that artistic one’’. However, I realised that unleashing our souls, our creativity has a place even in my work-world: we need more creators, ideas, we need different ways to communicate, to connect, to innovate, to reach out to others! This is why design thinking and creativity has become so popular that it is now taught at universities and for executives.
What are the main trends you are expecting in the impact investments sector in the region?
Since I only work very marginally with investors, I might not saybe what the trend forecasters say about the region! However, here it is: I always thought that the CEE region is special. In our history, there were so many turbulences, impacts, changes, and we, CEE-ers have developed a strong survival and adaptation instinct. I’d like to hope that kept this ability to cope with all the changes that happen in front of our eyes: climate change, war, migration, energy crisis, disease, etc… I hope that people in the region will be able to rely on this adaptability, on this ‘survival instinct’ and they can lead the way for Europe to take on the new challenges! I also hope that the sector will take up some of what we see more of in Western Europe: more mentoring, true philanthropy, more overarches between non-profit and profit.
Join us on the CEE4Impact Day on the 12 October!
More information on the CEE4Impact Day 2023 HERE
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