Durreen Shahnaz is a global leader of social impact and impact investing. She is also the founder of Impact Investment Exchange (IIX) and IIX Foundation. IIX is the home of the world’s first social stock exchange and the largest impact investment private placement platform. IIX is also a leader in impact assessment methodology and innovative financial structures such as the world’s first Women’s Livelihood Bond. The company bridges the gap between finance and development by carving out a third space for social and environmental solutions through financial mechanisms and subsequently driving forward the Sustainable Development Goals. IIX and IIX Foundation’s work has a particular focus on women empowerment, climate action and community resilience.
Born in Bangladesh with a career that has spanned the globe, Shahnaz has built a track record as a successful social entrepreneur, banker, media executive and academic 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.
During her time as an Adjunct Associate Professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, Shahnaz created and headed 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, and published an academic paper on social enterprises in Asia for the Stanford Social Innovation Review. Shahnaz also taught a graduate level course and Executive Education courses entitled “Frontiers of Social Innovation,” emphasizing CSR, Social Enterprise and Impact Investing.
Shahnaz is the recipient of the 2017 Oslo Business for Peace Award, often referred to as the “Nobel Peace Prize for Business,” and was awarded the 2016 Asia Game Changer Award by the Asia Society in addition to the prestigious Joseph Wharton Social Impact Award in 2014 given by the Wharton School of University of Pennsylvania. Additionally, she currently serves on the advisory board for UNDP, United Nations ESCAP, G20 Steering Committee for Impact Investing, 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.