Lauren is featured in Wharton Magazine's special issue, 40 Under 40: Young Alumni to Watch.
Lauren Cochran WG09, 36; director of private investments at the Blue Haven Initiative, where she seeks investments in Africa that build economies and improve standards of living
Proudest professional accomplishment? Goldman Sachs buying Imprint Capital, the firm I joined right after Wharton and helped build for five years, was definitely up there. Everyone around me was skeptical when I moved across the country in the midst of the financial crisis to join what amounted to a startup in financial services that no one had ever heard of, run by people without lengthy traditional financial services backgrounds. Since I come from a traditional private equity background, the need to prove that impact investing is “real” finance still takes up some of my time, but when I tell people that story, it’s third-party validation that I’m not crazy.
Best advice you’ve been given? Do things that make you uncomfortable. When you have to close your eyes, heart pounding, and say, “Okay, I’ll do that” despite a real nagging fear that a potential outcome is abject failure— that terror in the moment of a decision means that it’s a decision worth making. Learning to lean into that moment has led to a lot of great decisions and personal growth, even when those decisions don’t turn out exactly as one would expect.