We are proud to be part of the growing Deetken Impact team, and are excited to introduce this diverse and talented group of investment professionals. Each month, we will feature one of our colleagues so you can get to know them better!
Meet Magali Lamyin, a Managing Partner at Deetken Impact overseeing the firm’s impact management and communications strategy. She also leads business development efforts for current funds under management and co-leads the strategic development of new funds. Having actively participated in the company’s investment decisions for the past ten years, Magali is a member of the investment committees of three of Deetken Impact’s five investment funds, and her passion for advancing gender equality has been instrumental in developing the company’s gender lens investing approach and its implementation across all our investment funds.
Magali brings extensive business development and marketing experience from her work at the Central Bank of Mexico, the Canadian Institute for Market Intelligence, and the IESE-PWC e-Business Centre in Barcelona. She also managed businesses in the hospitality and early childhood education sectors for almost a decade before joining Deetken Impact.
Magali holds a BA in Economics from Mexico’s ITAM and a Master’s degree in Economics from the University of British Columbia. Currently based in Vancouver, Magali is originally from Mexico.
Having been involved in most aspects of Deetken Impact’s operations, tell us a bit more about what brought you to Deetken Impact and your 10 years (and counting) with the company?
Actually, Deetken Impact was born to fill a gap in impact investing in Canada. Our family wanted to invest our own capital in instruments that aligned with our values, and couldn’t find any good options. So, my husband and I, together with our founding partner Alexa, started exploring the idea of investing in LAC-based businesses that generated a positive social and environmental impact at the same time as market rate returns that would grow our capital. We moved our family (at the time our kids were 9, 6, and 5 years old!) to Peru for a year to start activating our networks to get the business off the ground while Alexa worked the pivotal role of registering the company with Securities Commissions. Together, we set the strong foundation that has allowed us to democratize impact investing in Canada. Because I believe in having significant “skin in the game” and being a hands-on investor, I was initially involved in generating investment pipeline and evaluating opportunities. As we started gaining traction, I turned my focus to impact measurement and reporting, and I also saw the need to create a brand and a narrative that later evolved into our communications strategy. From the beginning, I’ve had a profound passion for sharing the impact of our work because I believe that is a powerful way to connect with more people who can get onboard and build enough scale to make a real and transformational change.
You have long been a champion for advancing gender equality in all aspects of Deetken Impact’s operations; where did this passion come from, and what changes have you seen since you started out?
Having been born and raised in Mexico City by a family with traditional values, especially regarding gender roles, I experienced firsthand the weight of social and cultural norms that dictated what girls could and couldn’t do in a large, overpopulated and not particularly safe city. Growing up, without knowing about gender biases or what gender inequality meant, I always felt like I was fighting the tide. It seemed like every little decision – such as how I dressed, what activities I was interested in, or how I spent my time with friends – was questioned or not allowed. The threat of sexual harassment on the street was a big deterrent to ever walking outside by myself. Luckily, my parents believed in the value and power of education in order to become self-sufficient and successful in life. They always encouraged me to study hard and go to university, and then supported me when I decided to move to Canada for a postgraduate degree even if that meant me living on my own and apart from my family.
Fast forward to working at Deetken Impact, when we started noticing certain trends and analyzing the power that financial inclusion had in women’s lives and the increased prospects of education for their children, I connected the dots to my own personal experience. We seized a wonderful opportunity to partner with Pro Mujer and the USAID Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Hub program that allowed us to build our own team’s capacity on gender lens investing and gender business practices. Through the Ilu Women’s Empowerment Program, we designed and implemented 15 gender focused technical assistance projects with our portfolio companies, developed an open-source Tool Kit, and organized various workshops, webinars and investors education sessions. Training – a key component of all those engagements, specifically to uncover unconscious gender biases – allowed me to see how we were shifting the mindsets of participants and changing behaviors – not only in their work environment but also at home with their families. That’s when I knew how powerful our gender approach was and that it was something we could expand and apply to all of our investments. Over the past few years, that’s exactly what we’ve done. Currently, we have a tailored gender lens assessment and monitoring tool for our four active impact funds, a thorough process and an approach to accompany our portfolio companies to advance on their gender journey.
What is your favorite part of the work you do, and why?
I absolutely love hearing about new initiatives and products from our investees and how their clients are benefitting from them. I particularly love visiting the end beneficiaries of our work, as it keeps me grounded and encourages me to continue to work hard to bring in additional capital to invest in those businesses that are having a transformational impact on so many lives.
Being a passionate communicator, I also enjoy sharing our experiences and learnings in the larger ecosystem, providing advice and mentoring, and hopefully inspiring others to be agents of change within their own communities and sectors of work.
Magali and her children in East Sooke Regional Park on Vancouver Island, Canada
What is one thing people would be surprised to learn about you?
Even though I was born and raised in Mexico, my maternal grandparents were Cuban immigrants who were part of a close knit community of Cubans in Mexico City and who had a hard time adjusting to Mexican culture. Therefore, my childhood was influenced by the foods, dance, slang and general love for life of the Cuban people, but also the challenges of being forced to emigrate and leave behind the country you love.
What is your favourite city/country you have visited, and which is at the top of your bucket list to visit?
I’ve had the privilege to live in several countries including Mexico, Peru, Spain and England, and have visited almost forty countries. I love traveling and experiencing other cultures, particularly through engaging with their people and enjoying their food. At the top of my bucket list is India. A couple of dear friends who have relatives living there have offered to take me to experience it more like a local, which would be amazing!
You can learn more about Magali by following her on LinkedIn & Twitter!