Codie Sanchez started her career as journalist, winning the JFK Award for her coverage of human trafficking and border issues. Despite the huge success of her reporting, she found that she wasn’t having the impact she wanted and decided to jump into the world of investing and finance as a path towards positive change in the world.
Her bio is long and her accomplishments many -- she is a go-getter, launching two companies before 30, and has been featured on The Today Show, Forbes, and Business Wire. I recently met Codie at a conference and was struck by her tenacity and drive. Counter to the idea that money drives greed and negative influence, she believes that financial empowerment is one of the necessities for changing the world.
You wrote on your blog, related to your coverage of human trafficking along the U.S.-Mexico border: I realized I could write about travesty but I couldn't change it. I think a common response to affliction is to donate time or money directly to the cause, but you took a different route and pursued finance to drive change. Can you talk a little about that decision?
I believe in teaching to fish, not simply giving away fish. It is the only sustainable option. It is wonderful and important to give money and time to causes we support. In truth, we receive more through that power of giving. However, charity can create an unequal power dominance. I “the giver,” provide for you, “the needy.” We’ve seen this in developing nations again and again, just Google, “How donated clothes are ruining local Africa textile industries.”
I believe that each human has something valuable to give the world. Thus, instead of making dependent communities I think we should E squared it. Meaning education + employment. I pursued finance so that I could hire more diverse humans such as Latinos into positions of power, so I could teach more minorities (veterans, women, Latinos) about investing and so that I could give them access to the type of investments they never typically get access to. If we have more humans who understand the international language of money, we will have a more diverse and equal world.
The world needs both for-profit companies and on-the-ground charity organizations to carry out positive change, but we’re seeing a rise in social enterprise and for-profit philanthropy. Curious to get your thoughts on how money and power intersect with philanthropic causes.
I believe our generation is demanding -- and rewarding -- companies with a cause. In my opinion, if your company isn’t mission driven, you are probably leaving money and impact on the table. The rise of B Corps, Giving Pledges and intertwined missions is just beginning. I remember reading Jack Mackay’s Conscious Capitalism back in the day and thinking it was revolutionary. Now it is relatively common. I hope the trend continues.
Have you seen your work in investing make an impact in your community and society at large?
Unequivocally, yes. All philanthropy starts at home.
First, it is about your family: are you teaching, caring and helping them? Given that my family all works together, that seems like a yes.
Second, your community: are you involved, engaged, educating and helping locally? We hire locally in Austin (my hometown), we do mentorships in Arizona with military members, we do support pitch competitions for female entrepreneurs through Vinetta in DC (where I spend quite a bit of time).
Finally, in my business overall, my teams are and have been 50-90% minority based, from veterans, to women, to Latinos. We are always looking for the best talent and there is no excuse to say you cannot find it in a diverse subsegment. Our work shows to me that anyone who says “the talent isn’t diverse,” isn’t looking hard enough.
And in my newest firm Cresco Capital Partners (where I just took on a partner role) we are working to bring cannabis into normalized society. From the impacts decriminalizing will have, to minority groups, to impact on opioid-addicted subgroups like veterans, to revenue when it’s taken off the black market and can be used for education — I think this will be my most impactful move thus far.
What is the one piece of advice you would give someone who wants to make a difference in the world
Start today, start small. Like a snowball grows downhill so will your efforts.
They say that money is the root of all evil. Do you agree or disagree with that statement?
Couldn’t disagree more. Money is a tool, a very powerful one. It is a tool that allows you to reverberate your beliefs and purpose. Either you get to wield it, or someone else will.
You can find more information on Codie by visiting her site at codiesanchez.com. A quick Google search will also bring up a plethora of video interviews and articles about Codie, so be sure to take a look!