We are excited to welcome Anshul Krishan to the Social Finance team! Anshul brings a strong background in corporate and development finance to Social Finance, as well as 20 years of cross-functional leadership in the US, UK and across Asia.
As Chief of Staff and Chief Investment Officer for the International Finance Corporation (IFC) from 2013 through 2016, Anshul represented the IFC globally and oversaw key corporate functions and impact investment strategies for developing world regions. Prior to joining the IFC, Anshul worked at Goldman Sachs in Europe and across emerging markets in Asia where he held various leadership roles as Managing Director in the investment banking practice.
More recently, Anshul was a Senior Fellow at the Center for Business & Government at the Harvard Kennedy School, focused on issues at the intersection of the public and private sectors. He is also a Global Leadership Fellow of the Aspen Institute.
We sat down with Anshul to ask him about his vision for Social Finance and Pay for Success, how he hopes to lead, and what he does for fun.
1. What are you most excited about for Social Finance and the field as you start this new chapter in your career?
I think what excites me most is that Pay for Success has the potential to not be a “field” but rather a mainstream approach to achieve socio-economic progress. This is, of course, easier said than done. This is partly because re-tooling social delivery mechanisms is complicated, and means different things to different people. But, also in part, because our own capacity to drive substantive change is humbled by the scale of the need.
Social Finance has all the building blocks to push further, by evolving our innovation, our outreach and our partnerships. As more solutions to our most challenging social issues are developed and implemented, I believe Social Finance is uniquely well-placed to help connect the dots. That, right there, is exciting!
2. Before you joined Social Finance, you worked at the International Finance Corporation and at Goldman Sachs. What have been the common threads in your career? How are you bringing them to bear for Social Finance?
A common thread across all of my work has been using financing tools to affect positive change, whether it is by building deeper and more resilient capital markets or by increasing access to funding where it is most needed. Beyond that, my past experience has helped me appreciate why our greatest systemic challenges require a confluence of solutions. They require using all of the tools in our toolkit and assimilating the objectives of a very diverse range of stakeholders. I hope I can offer additional guidance and leverage in these areas to the incredible team we have here.
3. What role do you see Pay for Success playing in addressing the social challenges we face nationally and globally?
First, I hope to better understand and learn from the array of take-aways that the last ten years of projects and efforts have yielded. Conceptually, I see Pay for Success as an approach that can be expressed in the working languages of several ecosystems. It supports agencies in their mandate to deliver effective interventions; enhances capacity and funding visibility for service providers; incorporates empirical rigor; and offers specific investment opportunities for impact investors, while bringing in added execution discipline.
Functionally, this generates real world projects with defined roles and a clear interaction mechanism between policy making, service delivery, private investing and of course the ultimate intended, individual beneficiary. Few other development tools bring together such features in a practical setting. But, we have to be willing and able to refine structures; and validate the efficacy of our design in addressing the larger problem. With that, I see immense potential for broadening its application not only across issue areas, but also in helping to mainstream “deep impact”.
4. What are the most important values you demonstrate as a leader, particularly for an organization that is continuously innovating and evolving?
To be steady but not dogmatic. To be accessible but not casual. To be strategic but not impractical. A mission that necessitates innovation and evolution cannot be delivered effectively without humility and open-source intellect. At the same time, we must be bold with our ideas and use our experiences at delivery level to punch up high — often above our weight — to really move the needle. Such agility has been a key tenet of my leadership approach and, I hope, may serve us well in striking this balance.
5. What do you do for fun?
Having lived across four continents through my personal and professional journey, I have benefited greatly by experiencing and learning in vastly different places. Naturally, I can’t shake this wanderlust and remain an avid absorber of all things multi-cultural — not just the more obvious aspects such as food and travel but also, for example, stand-up comedy across distinct settings! While acknowledging this may hardly seem as “fun” to many others, my leisure reading menu is often shaped by a keen curiosity for the bigger picture. At present, I’m big on cosmology and astrophysics — just bite-size of course!
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