About a year ago my father asked me if I wanted to join him to the Pymwymic Impact Days. I knew he always finds this annual conference incredibly inspiring and he said: “If you come along, you might get a better understanding of what we are doing with our family business”. That sounded like a good idea.

“You might get a better understanding of what we are doing with our family business.”

Shortly thereafter, I received an email asking me to introduce myself to the other attendees: could you describe “your own impact story”? Eh…impact story? I am not sure I have that at all. Or rather, I ‘work impact’, being a team leader at one of the largest Dutch social service organisations, Humanitas, but I am not so familiar with impact investing. Sure, I have been sitting with my brother in family meetings, discussing our impact portfolio for a number of times already. But I must admit, I still don’t know what we are talking about half of the time.

Joining my father to the Impact Days turned out to be a catalytic decision. To be in the midst of people who all want to make the world more beautiful, made a lasting impression on me. I can still remember the stories of the entrepreneurs, the actual change makers. Wow. To radically change the course of your career – from safe to super risky – because you think you have the solution to a world problem. That is impressive! A seed was planted in my brain: this impact investing could be quite interesting.

After these days, it gnawed at me. What do I do with these insights and how do I apply this to my daily life? I also have my own career path and social life and that is pretty busy already. I could not figure out how to align impact investing with my own career. And I felt I needed to deserve my own work stripes. To be frank, the Impact Days and the inspiration I got from it, shifted to the background again.

Until Pymwymic invited me and a few other Next Gens to discuss how they could better involve us and support us in learning about impact investing. This question was particularly interesting to me. The conversation I had with Pymwymic kept floating around in my head and suddenly it hit me why I couldn’t make up my mind. If I didn’t know how impact investing and businesses work, how could I know what my role is in the family business? And how I could manage my time between my own carrier path and start my impact journey for my own?

“I can learn from the daily practice and develop my own vision.”

I came up with a solution and asked Pymwymic if I could join their team for a few days a week to learn by actually doing impact investing. This turned out a perfect match: Pymwymic had been planning to launch a pilot programme for their Donor Fund, specifically being led by Next Gens. In joining the team, I do not only have my father to learn from about impact investments. At Pymwymic, I can learn from the daily work of the team. Plus, I can develop my own vision, independent of the vision of my family. So here I am at Pymwymic: my impact journey starts right here and now!

Next time, I will let you know what my take-aways are of this hands-on experience. If you are interested in learning more about Next Gens at Pymwymic, get in touch!

Frédérique Groenen