We believe that sharing impactful experiences from Impact Experts and thought-leaders will spread knowledge of impact investing, creating a bigger impact and a better world. That’s why we’ve assembled this rock-solid group of Impact Experts and Enthusiasts to help our cause.

Every Impact Expert that participates in Impact U is participating in more than a video or piece of content; they are supporting the impact movement by sharing their insights creating a ripple effect; spreading impact and hopefully inspiring you to do the same.

Without these like-minded and passionate individuals, there would be no Impact U. So from all of us on the Impact U Team, we send a huge thank you to all our experts who agree that Impact together is bigger and better.

Now go ahead and read all about them. Trust us, they’re really awesome people!

Steve Distante is the CEO (as he likes to say, “Chief Entrepreneurial Officer”) of Vanderbilt Financial Group, an Independent Broker Dealer and Registered Investment Advisory that manages over $1 billion in assets. Steve prides himself on being a social entrepreneur with a focus on Impact Investing, investments that have either a Social and/or Environmental Impact. Vanderbilt’s headquarters, located in Woodbury, NY, recently became Long Island’s first LEED Platinum Office Building creating a tangible example of Vanderbilt’s commitment to sustainability.

When Steve began his Impact journey he, like many others, sifted through the commonly confused topics of socially responsible investing, philanthropy, and impact investing. He quickly realized that learning about impact investing was as not easy or accessible as it should be. In 2016, Steve launched IMPACT U to provide a unified and easily navigational platform where Impact Experts can collaborate, share experiences, and teach impactful ways of investing.

Learn more about Steve here.

Dr. Corrinne Graham, a management consultant, small and start-up business specialist, has nearly two decades of experience across a diverse spectrum of businesses with revenues ranging from $20m to $500m. She has served as chief officer, director, senior manager or interim COO for companies with revenues for Start-ups under $1m as well “Mom and Pops” businesses to name brand enterprises across the market spectrum such as: Retail, direct marketing, family entertainment, security, foodservice, and healthcare. Dr. Graham serves an educational liaison role with Farmingdale State College, Stony Brook University, and University of the West Indies- Institute for Sustainable Development. Chair for Long Island Advancement for Small Business- Women in Business Partnership, Member of Town of Brookhaven Black History Commission, Facilitator and Co-Founder for “Brand Yourself in the Energy World,” and Past facilitator for Long Island and Town of Brookhaven Dress For Success Going Places Network Program. Dr. Graham Mentors and participate in a number of college and middle students programs.

Dr. Graham developed the CDP Model from her published research of Profitability and Cultural Diversity. The CDP Model sheds light on how to grow economies in the global economy through diversity. Some of her portfolio includes:

▪ Fuel Cell Technology
▪ Direct-Coupling technology
▪ Emergency Shelters (Sandy Victim in Amityville, NY and Haiti)
▪ Keeping The Lights On, STAR Technology a light saving technology for individuals
▪ Three Workforce Development Program Initiatives
▪ Micro-Grid
▪ Tiny Homes
▪ Digital Currency
▪ Space Renaissance

Kevin D. Mahn is the President and Chief Investment Officer of Hennion & Walsh Asset Management. Mr. Mahn is responsible for all of the Wealth and Asset Management products and services offered at the Firm including the SmartTrust® series of Unit Investment Trusts (UITs). Mr. Mahn also was the Portfolio Manager of the family of SmartGrowth® Mutual Funds. These mutual funds were target-risk oriented “mutual funds of ETFs” designed to track the Lipper Optimal Indices.

Mr. Mahn is the author of the quarterly “ETF and CEF Insights” and “Market Outlook” newsletters as well as a co-author of the book, Exchange Traded Funds: Conceptual and Practical Investment Approaches, © 2009 Riskbooks. Mr. Mahn is a member of the Forbes Investor team and a frequent contributor to the Forbes Intelligent Investing blog and the Seeking Alpha website.

Mr. Mahn received his Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Muhlenberg College and his M.B.A. in Finance from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Mahn has also served as an adjunct professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University within the Department of Economics, Finance and International Business. In 2015, Mr. Mahn received the “50 Under 50” award, which recognizes the College’s top alumni business leaders under the age of 50, from the Silberman College of Business at Fairleigh Dickinson University.

Interviews with, as well as byline articles and insights from, Mr. Mahn have appeared in/on CBS News, Fox News, CNBC, Fox Business News, Wall Street Journal, Investor’s Business Daily, Fortune, Forbes, New York Times, Financial Times, USA Today, Bloomberg, Reuters, Business Week, Reuters, Wall Street Week, CNNMoney.com, SmartMoney, Investment News, The Street.com and MarketWatch.

Chintan is a founder of RPCK, a global boutique law firm focused on helping investors and entrepreneurs get complicated deals done in an efficient manner.  He counsels private equity, foundation, family office and growth company clients on a wide variety of corporate, M&A, finance, and dispute resolution matters.  Chintan is also head of the firm’s Impact Investing practice.

Chintan advises clients on all major aspects of private investment fund and portfolio company growth and development, from formation to developing and protecting assets to negotiating agreements with business partners, to fund raising and exit. Chintan has diverse experience representing a variety of clients and, as an entrepreneur, is well-versed in the challenges facing growing companies.  He is passionate about helping impact investors and social entrepreneurs achieve double and triple bottom line results.


Mr. Pierce co-founded IdealsWork in 2001 and was instrumental in transitioning the company in 2004 from its original design as a responsible shopping website for consumers to IW Financial, a provider of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) products and services to the financial services market. Under Mr. Pierce’s leadership, IW Financial has become a top provider of ESG research and analytics. The firm delivers patented, best in breed technology and ESG research on more than 6,000 global companies to more than 150 clients worldwide. Sam has more than two decades of experience in gathering and utilizing corporate ESG data and analysis in a number of roles within the investment industry.

Immediately prior to joining the IdealsWork, Sam served as the Director of Socially Responsible Research for Proxy Monitor’s Socially Responsible Investor Services division. In addition, he was formerly a Senior Research Analyst and Vice President at Citizens Funds, Inc., where he determined, and supervised the review of, the suitability of proposed portfolio companies held in the funds of that socially responsible investment company. While at Citizens, he also managed the planning and implementation of direct shareholder activism initiatives. Sam cut his teeth in the investment management business at Wellington Management Company where he was formerly an Assistant Vice President in the Regulatory

Joan Trant is the Director of Marketing and Impact and a key member of the TriLinc Global Executive Management team, a member of the Investment Committee and of the Sustainability and Impact Committee. Her primary responsibilities include accelerating fund sales through specific channels, helping build the TriLinc brand, and leading the Company’s efforts to support the continued development of the impact investing industry. Prior to joining TriLinc Global, Joan launched and was Executive Director of the International Association of Microfinance Investors (IAMFI). IAMFI’s Limited Partner members’ microfinance commitments/ investments totaled $780 million, and General Partner members managed an aggregate portfolio of $1.84 billion. IAMFI led the microfinance investment industry with proprietary research, contributions to third party publications, educational and networking meetings, tailored member services and consensus-building for investor best practices.

Prior to IAMFI, Joan was Deputy Executive Director of The Resource Foundation, supporting community-building programs in 20 Latin American countries, benefiting annually 4.6 million underserved children, youths, women and men.

Previously, Joan spent 15 years in the financial services industry, holding international sales, financial advisory and operations management positions at Bankers Trust and Citibank, with direct experience in the Spanish, Mexican and Argentine markets. She oversaw a combined portfolio of $225 million in client assets.

Joan is a graduate of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business Executive Level Nonprofit Management Certification Program. She graduated magna cum laude with a B.S. degree from Georgetown University. Joan serves as an advisor to Inspiring Capital and coleads the Georgetown Alumni College program in New York City. She is fluent in Spanish with working knowledge of Portuguese. Joan is based in Manhattan.

Michael Whelchel brings over two decades of experience financing, acquiring, selling, growing, and operating growth-oriented companies to Big Path Capital. Prior to cofounding Big Path Capital, he worked with both start-ups and later-stage companies in a range of industries, playing key roles in the early development of two private equity firms focused on growth-oriented companies. Michael managed the full investment process including sourcing, deal structure, due diligence, negotiations, financing, portfolio management, sales on exit, and fund raising.

In 2007, with the old economy at a dead end, Michael established Big Path Capital to advance an expansive economy built on natural, social, and financial capital. In partnership with Shawn Lesser, Michael has founded a number of first of their kind initiatives all of which demonstrate SmarterMoney+ – maximize return, maximize impact. Those include the Five Fund Forum, Impact Capitalism Summit, and Impact & Sustainable Trade Missions.

Michael received his BA summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa from the University of the South in Sewanee, TN and received a joint MBA and MEM (Master of Engineering Management) from the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University. Michael is an advisory board member of the Croatan Institute and the Babson Center for Global Commerce and is a member of the Social Venture Network and Net Impact.

We believe that sharing impactful experiences from Impact Experts
and thought leaders will spread knowledge of impact, creating a bigger impact
and a better world. Impact together is bigger and better.

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