Durreen Shahnaz, a global leader of social impact and impact investing, is the founder of Impact Investment Exchange (IIX) and IIX Foundation. Over the past three decades, her mission has been to build a more inclusive, sustainable world by transforming financial markets and bringing underserved women to the forefront of capital markets. Drawing on a rich career as an investment banker, development worker, researcher, educator, and serial social entrepreneur, Shahnaz’s work has helped thousands of entrepreneurs, investors, governments and impact stakeholders around the world to play a role in sustainable development and women’s empowerment.
With a career that has spanned the globe, Shahnaz has built a track record as a successful professional at Morgan Stanley (New York), Grameen Bank (Bangladesh), Hearst Magazines International (New York), and the National University of Singapore. Additionally, she founded, grew and sold oneNest (New York) – an impact enterprise and online marketplace for handmade goods. oneNest was sold to Novica United, working in association with National Geographic Society. Through these roles, Shahnaz has broken down walls and built bridges in order to connect the backstreets of underserved communities to the Wall Streets of the world.
Shahnaz’s pioneering contributions to impact measurement and social entrepreneurship have now become industry-wide benchmarks and references. She advised and supported the development of the Impact Reporting and Investment Standards (IRIS), the generally accepted performance metrics for impact investors. During her time as an Adjunct Associate Professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, Shahnaz created and spearheaded the Program for Social Innovation and Change. As part of her research, Shahnaz created the proprietary Impact Assessment methodology, that is now the most widely used impact methodology in Asia. She has authored several research and advisory papers. Shahnaz is also part of the Impact Management Project (IMP) Structured Network Working Group on Conceptual Framework for Impact Accounting, which aims to define a globally accepted common framework for measuring impact towards achieving the 2030 United Nations Agenda.
Shahnaz is recipient of the 2019 Sustainability Superwoman Award from CSRWorks, the 2017 Oslo Business for Peace Award, often referred to as the ‘Nobel Prize for Business’, the 2017 Global Steering Group for Impact Investment Impact Market Builder of the Year award, the 2016 Asia Game Changer Award, in addition to the prestigious 2014 Joseph Wharton Social Impact Award given by the Wharton School of University of Pennsylvania. Additionally, she currently serves/has served on the advisory board for UNDP, United Nations ESCAP, G20 Steering Committee for Impact Investing, the Asia Society Global Advisory Council, the Singapore Book Council and was also an appointed member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council. She has been a program advisor to the Clinton Global Initiative, a 2010 TED fellow, a TED speaker and is frequently invited to contribute as a resource person to media, foundations and universities.
Shahnaz holds a BA from Smith College; a joint degree – MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and an MA from the School for Advanced International Studies at John Hopkins University.