The Economics of Inequity with Karen Wawrzaszek

This week, before we can dismantle inequality in financial systems, we must understand our roles in these systems. Karen Wawrzaszek is here to help us unpack the complexity of these systems.

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By title, Karen Wawrzaszek is Principal and Senior Director of Financial Planning at Sullivan Bruyette Speros & Blayney (SBSB). But that’s hardly enough to understand what she does and the impact she’s making in the world.

Karen is an expert on socially responsible and impact-oriented investing and financial planning. She’s led impact initiatives for two privately-held family offices. She’s the former chair of the Washington Area Women’s Foundation. She is the Pomona Society founder, a collective of women in impact who come together to effect systemic change for women and families in the district of Columbia. In full disclosure, she was also our advisor in restructuring the company’s 401K offering to be aligned with our mission and values and remains our closest advisor on all things related to impact investing.

For today’s conversation, we’re building upon the conversation we had with Carolyn Lowery in which we focused on the inner work that is required to understand how privilege, power, and racist systems and structures play out in today’s society. And as Natalie Burke discussed earlier in the season, before we can dismantle those white supremacist systems, we must understand our roles in these systems.

So, to help us along this journey, we’re heading back to June when Carrie interviewed Karen as part of our virtual community conversation series. In light of the wide and growing inequalities across our society, many of which COVID has only further intensified, we wanted to explore the role that business leaders and philanthropists play — in how they use, spend, and save money— that either drive principles of justice, equity, diversity and inclusion forward or perpetuate harmful inequities.

They begin by defining what it means to be an impact investor, and then dig into the issue, by the end having shared some practical tips that we can all take — business owner or not — to drive a more equitable and inclusive economy.

In season three of Mission Forward, Carrie Fox welcomes Natalie S. Burke explore the state of our collective health in the wake of the pandemic and what's necessary to bring us back together. They talk with experts, truth tellers, and firebrands who work and move among us to see what lies at the intersections of identity, value, and power.

Natalie S. Burke

A nationally-known speaker, “equity evangelist,” strategist, master facilitator, and public health leader, Natalie provides executive leadership for CommonHealth ACTION whose mission is to develop people and organizations to produce health through equitable policies, programs, and practices. Natalie joins Carrie as co-host for Season 3 of Mission Forward.


Carrie Fox

Carrie Fox is the founder and CEO of Mission Partners, a woman-owned strategic communications firm and Certified B Corporation that guides high-potential nonprofits, foundations, and socially responsible corporations in realizing their greatest social impact. Since launching her first firm in 2004, she has guided hundreds of organizations around the world to lead with purpose, fueling organizations and their missions forward in new and more impactful ways.