Founder, Impact Investment Exchange (IIX)
Durreen Shahnaz’s courage, vision and defiance to build a more inclusive world for women arose from her personal journey—beginning in the back streets of war-torn Bangladesh. As the first Bangladeshi woman on Wall Street, Durreen understood the immense power of financial markets and grew determined to transform it for social good. Armed with her experience in Wall Street, the World Bank, Grameen Bank, and as a woman of color serial entrepreneur, Durreen’s contributions were soon recognized by the Rockefeller Foundation who invited her and other thought leaders to come together and innovate a new way to address global inequities (out of which the term “Impact Investing” was coined).
With the Rockefeller Foundation’s support, Durreen founded Impact Investment Exchange (IIX). A decade later, her bold vision to transform financial markets – so that women are brought front and center of capital markets – has led to many firsts: the world’s first social stock exchange; the largest equity crowd-funding platform for impact investing; and the world’s first gender-lens financial product to be listed on a stock exchange (Women’s Livelihood Bond Series). Through Durreen’s leadership, IIX is aiming to impact half a billion women by 2030. Durreen’s work has been globally recognized, receiving the 2017 Oslo Business for Peace Award, often referred to as the “Noble Peace Prize for Business”, the 2016 Asia Game Changer Award by the Asia Society, the Joseph Wharton Social Impact Award in 2014, as well as two global awards for the Women’s Livelihood Bond Series in 2019: the P4G State-of-the-Art Partnership of the Year award (for advancing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals) and the UN Climate Action Award.