Global Impact by the Class of 2011

In March this year, friends Geena Dunne and Izzy Jensen (both Class of 2011) reunited at the Impact Investment Summit Asia Pacific, representing their respective companies. They were there to discuss community, social impact and a transition to a more sustainable and resilient future. 

Both Geena and Izzy have come a long way from Ascham classrooms to the frontlines of global issues, exemplifying the profound influence that an education grounded in responsibility and action can have.

Geena is founder of The Cova Project, dedicating her career to addressing gender inequality and period poverty. Since 2018 her project has provided menstrual cups to over 31,000 girls in disadvantaged communities across Africa. Being able to manage their menstrual health ensures girls can stay in school and continue their education—this has had a profound effect on changing what would have been their life’s trajectory for many of these young women.

Geena recalls that social responsibility was integral to the everyday activities at Ascham. From tree regeneration projects to initiatives protecting leatherback turtles, Ascham instilled in her the importance of leading with empathy and excellence. ‘Wanting to be good at doing good has created highly effective change-makers, who, by nature of the Dalton Plan, are good at balancing a significant workload and performing well under pressure,’ she said. ‘There is no one better equipped to prioritise social responsibility than an Ascham girl.’

Izzy launched Kakariki Capital in 2022, drawing on almost a decade’s worth of experience in carbon and environmental markets. The company focuses on channelling institutional capital into projects that promote decarbonisation and environmental resilience. The Kakariki Australian Land Generation Fund was recently launched, which involves acquiring lands with high carbon sequestration potential. The aim is to promote coexistence between agricultural and carbon farming, thereby enhancing biodiversity while offering substantial returns to investors. 

Izzy was uncertain of her career path after Ascham, but knew her strengths lay in economics, mathematics and problem-solving. She stumbled upon carbon markets by chance and was intrigued by the notion of the fundamental principles and potential to transition to net zero emissions. Kakariki Capital is a combination of Izzy’s strengths and passion, which is to ‘decarbonise the planet and offer investors an asset-backed opportunity to engage with the carbon markets, thus enhancing both environmental resilience and investment returns.’

Both Old Girls credit Ascham for their success. Izzy advises current students who are eager to be change makers to ‘explore what genuinely interests you—whether it’s environmental conservation, innovative technologies or social entrepreneurship. Get involved, talk to as many people as possible about what they do, and gain practical experience through internships. Build a network of mentors and peers who challenge and support you. Most importantly, enjoy what you do! Your enthusiasm for your work will magnify your impact and spread positivity to those around you.’

8 May 2024

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