Sorenson Impact Institute Virtual Convening Series

The Next Virtual Convening:

Financing Women and Women of Color Entrepreneurs in Utah speakers

Financing Women and Women of Color Entrepreneurs in Utah

A Sorenson Impact Institute Virtual Convening
Wednesday, May 22, 2:00–3:00 p.m. MT / 4:00–5:00 p.m. ET


In 2023, Utah was ranked one of the top 10 states for business for its skilled workforce, robust economy, and business-friendly environment. Yet a recent study by Clarify Capital revealed that Utah ranks among the worst states for women-owned businesses, highlighting a stark gender disparity in the state’s business environment. Differing attributes of women- and men-owned businesses — such as workforce size, industry, and operational histories — in Utah contribute to challenges in accessing capital, even when accounting for factors like financial literacy, mistrust of financial institutions, and business sophistication. This disparity also represents an opportunity for financial institutions, which are currently underserving an important sector of the business economy.

How can financial institutions better serve underrepresented entrepreneurs? Join Sorenson Impact Institute and JPMorgan Chase & Co. for a virtual convening on May 22nd at 4:00 p.m. ET to explore this topic in depth. Attendees will hear first-hand from Utah-based entrepreneur McKenzie Bauer as well as representatives from financial institutions as we discuss the challenges and opportunities to remove barriers to access to capital.

In this conversation, host Dr. Nzinga Broussard of Sorenson Impact Institute and moderator Danielle Wright of J.P. Morgan Private Bank will be joined by panelists Sara Day of Utah Microloan Fund; Mary Milodragovich of MoFi; and McKenzie Bauer of Thread Wallets and Female Founders Only.

Attendees of this convening can look forward to:

  • Taking a deep dive into the challenges underserved entrepreneurs face in accessing capital and what can be done to better serve them
  • Learning about the work community development financial institutions (CDFIs) and other financial institutions are doing to provide capital, technical assistance, and trainings to underserved entrepreneurs
  • Exploring how large traditional banks, foundations, and government agencies can support the financial institutions that are providing much-needed services to underserved entrepreneurs

If you’d like more background before the conversation, explore Sorenson Impact Institute’s recent report on the topic, supported by the JPMorgan Chase Foundation.

Sign up to Join the May 22 Conversation:

Meet the Speakers

Nzinga Broussard

Dr. Nzinga Broussard is the Senior Director of Impact Measurement at Sorenson Impact Institute. She oversees, plans, and implements measurement and evaluation programs for the impact strategy team. Broussard has held various positions in academia, the private sector, and the public sector and has over 15 years of research and applied experience working in the fields of development, agriculture, and labor economics.

Jeremy Keele

Sara Day’s entrepreneurial spirit began at the ripe old age of five with lemonade stands and bake sales on her street corner. Sara is now the Program Manager of Training and Outreach at Utah Microloan Fund where she provides business consulting and training to emerging entrepreneurs as well as leads marketing and outreach efforts across the state. 

Alan Lo

Mary Milodragovich is a Senior Qualification Specialist with MoFi, providing accessible information about financing options to businesses across the West. She also serves as a liaison between local and state governments on special programs.

McKenzie Bauer

McKenzie Bauer is the co-founder and former CMO of Thread Wallets, an online and retail brand of carrying accessories located in more than 2,000 retailers nationwide and ranked twice on the Inc. 5000’s fastest-growing companies in the US. McKenzie is an advocate for women’s equality and bettering the lives of minority individuals in Utah.

Danni Wright

Danielle (Danni) Wright is the Head of Utah & Idaho for J.P. Morgan Private Bank and serves as Chairwoman of the Utah Market Leadership Team where she is responsible for coordinating all JPMorgan Chase business lines in Utah. Within Private Banking, Danni leads an experienced team of Bankers & Investment Specialists who advise individuals, endowments and foundations on investing, banking, credit, generational wealth transfer, insurance and philanthropic endeavors.

About Sorenson Impact Institute’s Virtual Convenings

Sorenson’s Virtual Convening Series features solutions-oriented discussions with members of the Institute and its community of impact leaders. Together we take a deep dive into the most pressing issues of our time, exploring challenges, opportunities, and learnings to scale actionable solutions.

See our past convenings below:

Our Past Virtual Convenings:

Housing Gap Header

Bridging the Affordable Housing Gap With Impact Real Estate

A Sorenson Impact Institute Virtual Convening
December 7, 2023 

A conversation with:

  • Kate Murray, Director of Impact Strategy & Measurement at TAS Impact
  • Jeremy Keele, Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Catalyst Opportunity Funds
  • Alan Lo, Manager, Impact Finance at Sorenson Impact Institute


The United States and Canada face a severe shortage of affordable housing. Over the last 20 years, the U.s. developed a gap of 5.5 million housing units, while in Canada, the gap amounts to 3.5 million. The staggering number continues to rise, compounded by soaring construction costs, inflation, and steadily increasing interest rates. Both renters and buyers feel the burden — nearly 50% of renters in the U.S. and over 43% of recent renter households in Canada spend more than 30% of their income on housing.

How can we allocate capital to alleviate the burden of housing costs felt by so many and create affordable, sustainable living situations for millions of people?

On Thursday, December 7 at 4:00 p.m. ET, Sorenson Impact Institute hosted an insightful conversation with impact leaders who are forging innovative solutions to bridge the housing gap. Sorenson’s Alan Lo was joined by experts in real estate impact investing: Kate Murray, Director of Impact Strategy and Measurement at TAS, a Canadian impact company that uses real estate as a tool to drive profit and purpose; and Jeremy Keele, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Catalyst Opportunity Funds, a real estate impact investment firm focused on transformative investments in historically underserved markets.

Attendees of this convening:

  • Took a deep dive into the current state of the affordable housing crisis.
  • Leared about one of the most comprehensive, rigorous approaches to impact management practice in real estate.
  • Explored impact fund structures to achieve real estate goals, as demonstrated by Sorenson’s collaboration with TAS.
Ascent Series webinar speakers graphic

Accelerating Social Change with Pay For Success Financing

A Summit Ascent Series Virtual Convening
September 28, 2023

Pay for Success (PFS) is an outcomes-based financial model used to fund effective solutions to social challenges. The Impact Finance team at the Sorenson Impact Institute helps partners fund and execute evidence-based PFS projects, driving measurable results and lasting impact for underserved communities.

At this virtual convening, attendees learned how to successfully implement the PFS financing tools that build community resilience by allocating resources to results. The Institute’s Director of Impact Finance, Janis Dubno, was joined by representatives from The Institute for Child Success (ICS) and Maycomb Capital, both leaders in outcomes-based financing.

Attendees of this convening:

  • Gained valuable insights into the strategy of organizing, modeling, and implementing a large, evidence-based, multi-partner PFS project;
  • Learned about the challenges this team experienced and the solutions they developed; and
  • Discovered the impact that this project is making in its South Carolina community, as well as the overall benefits of improving early childhood health and education outcomes in underserved communities.

Community-Engaged Impact Measurement

June 20, 2023

This conversation was hosted by Sorenson Impact Institute Chief Operating Officer Katie Macc, Dr. Tiana Rogers, the Institute’s Senior Director of Impact Strategy, and Paul Kuttner, Associate Director at University Neighborhood Partners (UNP). UNP builds partnerships with the University of Utah and west side Salt Lake County neighborhoods, uplifting historically underrepresented voices to advance reciprocal learning, action, and benefit.

Dr. Rogers and Kuttner shared how the Institute recently helped UNP identify approaches to better demonstrate their impact and ensure community priorities remain at the core of their impact measurement efforts.

Attendees of this convening:

  • Developed a clear understanding of social impact measurement: what it is, how to apply it, and how it can advance your work
  • Learned how to identify existing data and apply it to impact measurement
  • Learned how to engage a community in evidence-based decision making

Be the first to know when a new convening has been scheduled by joining our mailing list: