Foreign Affairs LIVE: Innovative Finance

New York


This event will bring together experts and policymakers from the World Bank, TIAA, the Beeck Center for Social Impact & Innovation, and the Rockefeller Foundation's Zero Gap Initiative for an in depth discussion about innovation in finance. Foreign Affairs LIVE: Innovative Finance will focus on the policy implications of emerging tools in finance such as climate bonds, microloans and pay-per-success equity investments. The panel will be moderated by Stephanie Mehta, Deputy Editor of Vanity Fair.

This event is by invitation only. To request an invitation, contact Andrew Reisman or [email protected]


5:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. | Check-In

6:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. | Panel: Innovative Finance
Diane Garnick, Chief Income Strategist, TIAA
Saadia Madsbjerg, Managing Director, Rockefeller Foundation
Arunma Oteh, Treasurer and Vice President, World Bank
Sonal Shah, Executive Director, Beeck Center for Social Impact & Innovation
Moderator: Stephanie Mehta, Deputy Editor, Vanity Fair

7:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. | Networking Reception


Diane Garnick is Managing Director and Chief Income Strategist at TIAA – the leading financial services provider for the not-for-profit market offering a wide range of financial solutions, including investing, banking, advice and guidance, and retirement services.

An industry thought leader with two decades of experience structuring retirement and investment solutions, Ms. Garnick is responsible for advancing the strategy, development, and modernization of TIAA's lifetime income solutions across the firm’s portfolio of products and services. In this role she is also charged with helping to simplify the complexities surrounding lifetime income products for the thousands of institutions and millions of individuals TIAA serves.

Prior to joining TIAA, Ms. Garnick served as a global investment strategist at State Street Global Advisors and Invesco. She was also a member of the top-ranked Institutional Investor Equity Derivatives research team at Merrill Lynch. Ms. Garnick serves on the board of the CFA Institute Research Foundation, is a member of the Editorial Board for the Journal of Retirement, volunteers for Habitat for Humanity, and chaired the CHRISTUS Healthcare Investment Committee. Ms. Garnick earned a bachelor's degree in accounting from Hofstra University, and a master’s degree in finance & strategy from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

She is a Certified Public Accountant.


Saadia Madsbjerg is the Managing Director of the Rockefeller Foundation. As Managing Director, Saadia leads the Foundation's work on Innovation. Her responsibilities include shaping and scaling innovative finance solutions that change the status quo and raise private sector investment capital for the social sector in promotion of the Foundation's dual goals of building resilience and promoting inclusive economies. Before joining the Rockefeller Foundation, Ms. Madsbjerg was the Senior Vice President for Strategic Planning at the New York City Economic Development Corporation. Prior to NYCEDC, Saadia was the head of the Strategy and Analytics team for Cisco's TelePresence Technology Group, and an Associate Principal at McKinsey & Company.


Stephanie Mehta is Deputy Editor at Vanity Fair.


Arunma Oteh joined the World Bank as Vice President and Treasurer on September 30, 2015. She manages and leads a large and diverse team responsible for managing more than $150 billion in assets, and borrowing in more than 20 currencies around the world. In addition to maintaining the World Bank’s global reputation as a prudent and innovative borrower and investor, she and her team manage an extensive client advisory business.

Ms. Oteh most recently served as the Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Nigeria. Appointed to a five-year term by the president of Nigeria in 2010, she led the transformation of the country’s capital markets industry into world-class. She was a member of the Board of the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) and the Chairperson of the Africa Middle East Regional Committee of IOSCO. Prior to joining SEC Nigeria, Oteh was Group Vice President from 2006 to 2009 and Group Treasurer from 2001 to 2006 at the African Development Bank Group (AfDB). She also held various positions in treasury and lending in the course of her career at the AfDB, which she joined in 1992.
She started her career at Centre Point in 1985 and has worked in corporate finance, teaching, and research.

She holds a masters of business administration from Harvard University and a First Class Honors Bachelor of Science degree in computer science from the University of Nigeria.

In 2011, in recognition of her contribution to economic development and to transforming the Nigerian capital markets, she was awarded the Officer of the Order of the Niger national honor. She was also named the African Investor Capital Market Personality of the Year in 2014.


Sonal Shah is an economist and entrepreneur and has spent her career focused on economic policy and actionable innovation in the public and private sectors. She is a global leader on social innovation policy including impact investing, data and technology for social good, and civic engagement through government, business, philanthropy and civil society. She has led policy innovations at the White House for President Obama and the Treasury Department for President Clinton. She brings a unique and diverse background. As an international economist she set up the central bank in Bosnia, worked post conflict reconstruction in Kosovo, and implemented poverty reduction strategies in Africa and financial crises in Asia and Latin America. In the private sector, she led technology for civic engagement and impact investing initiatives at Google, as the head of Global Development Initiatives and set up and ran the environmental strategy, including investing clean technologies at Goldman Sachs.

She served as Deputy Assistant to the President for President Obama and founded the White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation. She served on President Obama’s transition board leading the Technology, Innovation and Government Reform group. In the Administration, Sonal led the efforts to set up innovative finance mechanisms for service delivery, leveraging technology to better engage citizens in government, creating new public private partnerships and supported and trained leadership throughout government (political and civic service) to institutionalize innovative practices.

Sonal started her career at the U.S. Department of Treasury where she was an international economist working on timely development issues, including post-conflict development in Bosnia, Asian financial crisis, and poverty reduction in Africa.

One of Sonal’s most proud accomplishments is working with her siblings to create a non-profit, Indicorps, to build a new generation of socially conscious global leaders. They worked with some of the leading non-profit and social organizations throughout India working on issues of healthcare, education, farming, women’s development, etc. Indicorps created the service movement in India inspiring and incubating new social enterprises like Teach for India and Sarvajal.

She serves a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and serves on the board of the Case Foundation, Social Finance, Inc., the Urban Alliance, Non Profit Finance Fund, and the GSMA Foundation. She serves as an adviser to the Washington Area Women’s Foundation and the Future Project.

Sonal received her B.A. in Economics from the University of Chicago and her M.A. in Economics from Duke University.


The Rockefeller Foundation’s mission—unchanged since 1913—is to promote the well-being of humanity throughout the world. Today, we pursue this mission through dual goals: advancing inclusive economies that expand opportunities for more broadly shared prosperity, and building resilience by helping people, communities and institutions prepare for, withstand, and emerge stronger from acute shocks and chronic stresses. To achieve these goals, we work at the intersection of four focus areas—advance healthrevalue ecosystemssecure livelihoods, and transform cities—to address the root causes of emerging challenges and create systemic change. Together with partners and grantees, The Rockefeller Foundation strives to catalyze and scale transformative innovations, create unlikely partnerships that span sectors, and take risks others cannot.

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