Joe Meginnes is the Director of Strategy, New Product Legal and Operations at Calvert Impact Capital. Based in Maryland, Calvert Impact is a global nonprofit investment firm that helps investors and financial professionals fund organizations that strengthen communities, increase access to capital, and address climate change.
What is your proudest achievement in your career so far?
I’m most proud of the decision I made in late 2021 to leave my role as Deputy General Counsel at a hedge fund manager in pursuit of a career in the impact investment space. At that point, I had invested 11 years in my private funds practice, but I was feeling incredibly burned out and unmotivated by my work. I hoped to better align my career with my values and make my working hours feel more interesting, meaningful, and worthwhile.
The role I found at Calvert Impact was the product of years of networking and volunteering in philanthropy, social enterprise, and impact investing, and I love it. It’s a hybrid role. I work alongside our VP of Strategy and General Counsel to meet the legal, operational, and program management needs of our firm’s new products. Essentially resetting my career in a new practice area, I leaned on the core transactional skills I developed at Sidley to navigate structured finance for the first time. I’m also proud to once again work at a firm that is doing some of the most innovative, complex, and exciting work in its industry.
Can you share a couple of the most exciting projects that you’ve handled at Calvert Impact?
At Calvert Impact, we seek to build better connections between traditional capital markets and organizations that have demonstrated the ability to deliver impact at scale. Among other activities, my team creates financial products that meet both the requirements of institutional sources of capital and the needs of our program partners, with the goal of amplifying those partners’ impact across nine sectors (including renewable energy, microfinance, affordable housing, and sustainable agriculture).
I’m leading one of Calvert Impact’s newest initiatives on its Small Business platform, a series of state-based loan participation funds supported by funding from the U.S. Treasury pursuant to the State Small Business Credit Initiative. We’re pairing this public money with private capital we’ve raised to increase the availability of affordable credit to small businesses in unbanked and underbanked communities via our network of community development financial institution lenders (CDFIs). This effort builds upon the five recovery funds we helped design and launch over the past few years, bringing together state and local governments, banks, corporations, foundations, and CDFIs to help small businesses survive the pandemic. We believe that access to affordable credit is key to creating an inclusive, diverse, and more equitable economy, and these funds have deployed over $350 million to 5,500 small businesses to date. I’ve enjoyed learning about small business lending while working alongside my many talented, committed colleagues at Calvert Impact and our partner organizations.
As you’ve come up through your career, have you felt the presence of a mentor or sponsor?
Mentors have played a massively important role in my career. As a young associate at Sidley, senior lawyers in the Investment Funds, Advisers, and Derivatives group quite simply taught me how to practice law. Beyond the substantive knowledge I gained through formal and informal training, they showed me how to manage clients, organize my workload, and provide practical, solutions-oriented advice. I am still in touch with many of my former colleagues.
Over the years, my mentors have also proven instrumental in helping me find and transition into new roles. I found my role at Calvert Impact as a result of the relationship I built with its General Counsel — someone to whom I was introduced through a former Sidley colleague. Throughout my career, the best mentors — and the ones I seek to emulate — have been those who genuinely cared for me as a person, offered constructive feedback, and sought to build my confidence as a lawyer and a leader.
Published April 2023
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