Pablo Guevara feels passionately that business – and investment banking – can be a force for good. Based in purpose, culture, and diversity, he brings this vision and practice to the world as a partner at Epoch Pi, a values- and purpose-driven investment bank in Cleveland, OH. Join us for a chat about the interplay of diversity, purpose, culture, and caring as Pablo describes this new way of doing investment banking. Welcome to the show! I hope it sparks new ideas and positive visions about how conscious leaders can make a difference.
- 00:30 Intro to Pablo Guevara, partner at Epoch Pi, a values- and purpose-driven investment bank in Cleveland, OH. Pablo is also a leader of the Cleveland Chapter of Conscious Capitalism.
- 1:45 Reminiscing about the 2017 Conscious Capitalism conference. The stories are energizing and reminds us why we’re working to enhancing the business world.
- 3:30 Putting words to this soulful feeling of conscious business and how that fits into finance and investment banking. We focus so much attention on the rational and logical, but the “soft and squishy” heart-based connections make the world go around.
- 5:26 Each of us in on a different stage of the journey toward heart-based business. As long as we don’t do harm.
- 6:30 Epoch Pi (not “epic pie!) and the thinking and inspiration behind the name. The fifth epoch of economic development – the purpose economy.
- 8:32 How Pablo’s childhood connects to his passion for purpose-driven, heart-based business. The high contrast in Mexico City led to seeing how important a meaningful job is for people. Growing up in a country like Mexico teaches you about diversity, innovation, creative problem-solving, and possibility. They taught Pablo how to see things differently.
- 10:38 This new epoch – the purpose economy – requires that we bring a new level of thinking, which makes diversity and inclusion very important for innovative businesses.
- 11:30 Diversity in leadership brings diversity of thought. We’re in a place where we need a new experience of problem-solving. The different experiences that people bring offer depth and perspective that elevate the conversation and the culture.
- 14:30 Inclusion is vital. It doesn’t go any good to have diverse team members if we fail to include them in conversations. Getting comfortable with a different flow, a different approach, and appreciating the weaving of connection into the so-called rational conversation. It’s not just about “business” when you have a diverse culture.
- 16:14 Financial world is a little rigid and focused on the numbers. How is your approach different than the norm?
- 17:10 What happens after the transaction closes? There is often a lack of culture awareness – the people part of the business that makes it thrive. Culture tends to be an afterthought in the financial transactions of investment banking. 70% of people after the fact say that the transaction didn’t meet their goals.
- 19:15 Pablo gives an overview of what a “financial transaction” means in investment banking – looking to acquire, sell, or invest in a company.
- 20:02 The challenge is being able to see how transactions create a new business that blends the two business cultures. How do you facilitate this conversation after the investment banking transaction has been completed? Epoch Pi uses a holistic approach that measures success from beginning through transaction, through to the integrated culture.
- 22:26 Epoch is nurturing the newly formed relationship, including two components – evaluating culture from the beginning and measuring success 100 days out or 1 year out, depending on the client’s goals.
- 24:05 We’re the only ones doing it this way right now, and we’re open to having this conversation with others who are interested in doing business this way.
- 24:40 What is Epoch Pi’s role in the community of investment banking? Are you working to change the mindset? We’re striving to bring these conversations and looking to build more collaborative relationships.
- 25:54 This new epoch is less about competition and more about collaboration. We get still get eye-rolls when we talk about what we’re doing, and that’s part of it, hearing different perspectives and being open to hearing why they think that way.
- 26:57 There is resistance in some people because you cannot measure some of these factors. Humans are messy, emotions are messy. It requires presence and a willingness to be vulnerable in order to create a space where these things can exist.
- 28:45 We DO have measures that can help people recognize intangibles, how these factors impact productivity, engagement, and retention. But, if someone is not even open to the idea of it, then it doesn’t matter what measure you put in front of them, they still say no.
- 29:48 Becoming a conscious leader is about being willing to do that personal journey rather than retreating into the “safety zone” and ignoring the impacts and costs of not taking the journey.
- 31:30 Recognizing that everything is interconnected is what changes how we do business. The idea of a zero-sum game doesn’t exist in nature.
- 32:40 The culture of Epoch Pi – we live with purpose. Our values are about love, service, and fun. We bring our whole selves to work. It matters to us that we create deep relationships with everyone that is involved in our business.
- 35:47 The importance of uncertainty, knowing where your expertise serves the client, and looking to collaborate and facilitate conversations with experts in specific fields.
- 37:25 What it means to work one logical level above the specifics of an industry. The advantages that brings to bring diversity of thought.
- 38:45 Pablo gives an overview of impact investing and its growth over the last 10 years. The intention to generate positive social and environmental impact along with financial returns. There is a shift in collective mindset of society that wants money to be purposeful.
- 44:05 Conscious Company Magazine did an article on the role Millennials are playing in driving the growth of impact investing. The idea of purpose and profit together. They leverage each other.
- 45:49 Pablo’s role in the non-profit Esperanza and his work in urban education, supporting secondary education. It isn’t just about college, but fostering curiosity that leads to lifelong learning.
- 48:56 Speed round!
TODAY’S GUEST: PABLO GUEVARA
Pablo Guevara is a Partner at Epoch Pi, a values and purpose driven investment bank that believes on creating a better world through business. Epoch Pi takes a holistic approach to capital formation transactions (buy or sell companies as well as raising capital from values aligned investors) that utilizes proprietary culture tools and integration planning in order to deliver the best value and the best fit for its clients.
Before joining Epoch Pi in 2016, he held Strategy and Business Development roles with Eaton Corporation and Cliffs Natural Resources. Pablo was head of Business Development for PINFRA an infrastructure development company in Mexico where he founded VIAPASS, an electronic toll collection Company and deployed strategies to diversify the organization’s customer base. His 8 year tenure at Wal-Mart provided him with significant financial and operational experience in the global business environment.
Pablo is a strong supporter of the renaissance of Cleveland, and through his work as President of the Northeast Ohio Chapter of Conscious Capitalism (CCNEO), he hopes to make his adopted hometown of Cleveland a hub where conscious businesses flourish. A strong supporter of urban education, he serves on the Board of Directors of Esperanza and is a past board member of Near West Intergenerational School of Breakthrough Charter Schools. He obtained his MBA from the IPADE Business School, Universidad Panamericana in Mexico and holds an accounting degree from the Instituto Tecnologico Autonomo de Mexico (ITAM). As an avid traveler and sports fan, Pablo enjoys bicycling, skiing, long distance running and participating in triathlons. He and his wife live in the Ohio City neighborhood of Cleveland.
LINKS MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
- Epoch Pi – Purposeful Investment Banking – “EPOCH Pi was created in 2015 with the intent of creating a better world through business. EPOCH Pi is focused on helping purposeful companies thrive and flourish. Whether they think of themselves as impact, conscious capitalists, benefit corporations, social enterprises or purpose-driven leaders, they are for-profit businesses that are endeavoring to generate social as well as financial returns. They see the interconnectedness of stakeholders and believe they succeed when benefiting all stakeholders, not just shareholders.”
- Conscious Capitalism – The CC2017 conference took place in Philadelphia in April. Follow this link to find your local chapter.
- Brené Brown TED Talks – Listening to Shame and The Power of Vulnerability
- Esperanza – The mission of Esperanza is to improve the academic achievement of Hispanics in Greater Cleveland by supporting students to graduate high school and promoting post-secondary educational attainment.
BOOKS MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE: