“Impossible just takes longer”and other lessons from an inspiring impact-maker.

The first Tuesday of classes, we enjoyed a visit from Natalie Lynn Rekstad, Founder & Chief Catalyst of Black Fox Philanthropy.

Natalie’s many roles – including private sector executive, nonprofit founder, impact investing catalyst and many others – have given her immensely valuable experience, and she brings an incredible thoughtfulness to discussing the lessons from each.nataliecolor Natalie met with students ranging from undergraduates from across Penn who are part of the Turner Social Impact Society to members of the MBA Wharton Women in Business group. Conversation flowed from her work as a member of Women Moving Millions, to her shoulder pads in the 80’s (really!), to the role of ego in entrepreneurship. We asked students to share their memorable moments from Natalie’s visit:

  • “Something that stood out to me was that large impact can be achieved through relatively little effort, such as by signing as a guarantor for a microfinance bank/firm… which drives home that financial innovation can produce social impact in unexpected ways that produce little risk for the philanthropist or impact investor.” – Petra Nichols
  • “It is clear that Natalie brings so much energy and commitment to her work. Her ability to put each piece of her career path into perspective is truly inspiring and refreshing.” – Glen Graves
  • “…I was so impressed how she used the doubt of others to fuel her drive, and not pull her back. When I asked her for examples of professional challenges she’s faced, I thought it was insightful of her to not necessarily give specific examples, but instead talk about how she’s learned that most challenges we face stem from our own shortcomings (as opposed to external factors) – and that we should recognize our weaknesses, and slowly work at them over time.” – Angela Chen
  • “Impossible just takes longer!” – Connie Chen
  • “I learned that some of the most successful organizations sparking change for women worldwide are those on the ground investing in understanding the communities they are trying to impact.” – Rebecca Klischer
  • “As a woman in a visible leadership position it is important to claim your entire space in the room!” – Debi Ogunrinde

We are so grateful for Natalie sharing her time and knowledge with WSII and with our student community. Read more about Natalie and Black Fox here, and be sure to follow her witty and wise tweets @SJphilanthropy.


Sandra Maro Hunt, MSOD ’18, serves WSII as the Associate Director of Social Impact. Sandi focuses on WSII’s work around Impact Entrepreneurship and Investing in Women and led the launch of the Turner Social Impact Society and the Penn Social Impact Consortium, both aimed at building and supporting diverse communities across Penn that are dedicated to social impact.