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Kirsten’s Journey to RENEW

By Kirsten Newman | Sun Nov 04 2018
For as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to help people on an international scale – to be able to see other parts of the world, connect with people from other cultures and work with them to improve their communities. It probably struck most of my friends and family as somewhat of an odd dream, being from a small town in Minnesota and never having left the United States (other than a family vacation to Canada as a kid, which, for a Minnesotan, can barely be considered international travel). Nevertheless, this dream has persisted over the years, leading me on many adventures and ultimately charting the course that led me to RENEW.
Throughout college, when thinking about how to accomplish this dream, I had many ideas – should I join the Peace Corp, work for an NGO, move abroad? Ultimately, I felt that I needed to develop a valuable skill set before I could start giving back. This took me on a journey to law school, where I studied international law, and spent a summer term and a semester taking comparative law and international development courses in London. From there, I spent the next six years living in London and New York, working at an international law firm doing project finance. I was learning a lot and building up the credentials I felt I needed, but the dream was still there, waiting for the right chance to emerge.
In 2017, I finally took a trip to Africa, traveling throughout South Africa and Mozambique. Though I have now traveled to many other places in the world (beyond just Canada), there was something about Africa that I could not shake. Shortly after returning from my trip, a friend gave me a copy of a book called “The Blue Sweater”. The book captured the fascination and intrigue I had felt for Africa, as well as the outlook and beliefs I held about investing rather than giving – it was as if the book put everything I had been thinking and feeling into words, and it opened my eyes to the world of impact investing. From that moment, I knew it was finally time. I had gained the skills and knowledge I needed and was ready to find an organization with which I could fulfill my dream.
Luckily for me, this coincided with RENEW’s search for an associate general counsel. After one look at their website and mission, I knew RENEW could be the opportunity I was looking for, and my hunch was very quickly confirmed after interviewing with the partners. I could tell immediately that they shared my values and outlook and that RENEW would be a great place for me to learn and grow. It’s now going on two months, and I couldn’t be happier that I am finally living my dream!

Click here to learn more about Kirsten and the rest of the RENEW team.