SVI True Confessions allow us to hear from inspirational leaders who share their trials, tribulations and triumphs in creating businesses that matter. 

This year, SVI Hollyhock will welcome Sallie Calhoun: impact investor, activist, and philanthropic funder in regenerative agriculture. Her work focuses on rebuilding soil health and sequestering carbon in soil to mitigate climate change and create healthier people and planet. She is the owner and manager of the Paicines Ranch, a 7600-acre ranch in central California. There, she and her team employ a regenerative asset management system. This means using all available forms of capital – human, natural, investment, and philanthropic to affect change in the agricultural system. Prior to becoming a rancher, Sallie spent almost 25 years as an engineer, COO, and high-tech entrepreneur.

Sallie CalhounSallie was born in Knoxville, TN and received a BSEE degree from Rice University. She worked in engineering and engineering management prior to joining her husband in founding Globetrotter Software, Inc. where she served as COO/CFO. Together, they purchased the ranch after selling the company in 2001.

Since then Sallie has had many adventures in ranching, grass fed beef, meat packing, holistic management, and much more. She is the managing member of Cienega Capital, an impact investing firm, and the president of the Globetrotter Foundation, a family foundation. She has served on a variety of for-profit and non-profit boards, including Holistic Management International, Sierra Cascade Nursery, Agrarian Trust, and Estancia Beef. She loves to play tennis, hike, and travel.

Joining Sallie in this True Confession conversation is Esther Park, CEO of Cienega Capital. Prior to joining Cienega, Esther founded Commons Stock, an impact-focused due diligence consulting firm. Clients included high net worth individuals, foundations, and investment advisors. She has 15 years of experience in mission-based financial services ranging from microfinance to risk capital investments. Esther also serves as a Board member at New Resource Bank, Nutiva, and City Fresh Foods, as well as an Advisor to Kitchen Table Advisors.

Esther ParkEsther has also served as the Vice President for Strategy and Business Development at RSF Social Finance, and oversaw all lending activity from 2007-2011, which resulted in a tripling of the loan portfolio, and the development of a mezzanine debt fund. Prior to joining RSF, Esther was a senior consultant for ShoreBank Advisory Services, where she provided strategic and capital planning advice for Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), particularly small business and affordable-housing loan funds. She also trained lenders internationally in small business lending practices, and underwrote Program Related Investments (PRIs) for private foundation clients.

And in a previous life, Esther lived in Nukus, Uzbekistan, teaching English and conducting program evaluation work for the United Nations.

Esther received her MPP from University of Chicago and BA in Social Welfare from the University of California Berkeley. She lives in Berkeley, California with her husband, Greg, and their two children, Evangeline and Bryce.

Together, these two remarkable women leaders will take the stage at SVI Hollyhock and reveal the challenges and success of building a business focused on the triple bottom line.

Join us for the 21st anniversary of Social Venture Institute Hollyhock on Cortes Island, September 14 – 18, 2016. Apply to attend here.