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Sophie Durey: Why millennials felt they had to get rid of established rules, disregard how things were done and set up their own set of rules

Not being an American myself (I am French) I will not comment on the American education system, as I never experienced it. But, one thing I can say about my generation — the Millennials — is that we lived through the 2008 crisis and it was so scary, obscure, complex, life changing that we had to get rid of […]


Not being an American myself (I am French) I will not comment on the American education system, as I never experienced it. But, one thing I can say about my generation — the Millennials — is that we lived through the 2008 crisis and it was so scary, obscure, complex, life changing that we had to get rid of established rules, disregard how things were done and set up our own set of rules. We are a generation which had to re-create a lot of fundamentals. Finance is one these fundamentals and I think we are still trying to figure out what works, and what does not…

As a part of my series about the The 5 Essentials of Smart Investing, I had the pleasure of interviewing Sophie Durey. Currently, Sophie Durey is in charge of all things impact at UMANA. Before UMANA, Sophie created The Impact Evaluation Factory, an innovative consultancy which accompanied ventures and seed/series A investors in designing their own impact strategy in an easy and affordable manner.


Thank you for doing this with us! Our readers would like to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to the finance industry?

Very early on I wanted to contribute to make the world a better place for all, and thought this would happen by working in the Humanitarian field. But after an experience in that sector, I grew frustrated by the use of money and how inefficient the system was. I knew how important money and resources were to achieve positive impact, and I realized that the industry were money is actually super efficiently used is Finance. As the daughter of a wealth manager, I decided I should bring my values to this industry and start using a fully performant system into a tool for change.

Can you share with our readers the most interesting or amusing story that occurred to you in your career so far? Can you share the lesson or take away you took out of that story?

Definitely working with the French government while I was doing advocacy work for an NGO I was part of, a decade ago. I am sure things have evolved in the right direction — at least I hope — but at the time, it took almost a year to organize a couple of events and talk to the right people to make things happen. For a young motivated woman, it was so frustrating and most of the time, such a waste of time, that it forced me out of my non profit job and into Finance. The lesson here is: I really, admire people who can deal with old traditional systems, but I prefer to create new ones!

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

UMANA is my current life project. Helping to create and redefine wealth for remarkable self-mades, I am convinced UMANA is positively contributing good and achieving massive impact in the world.

Ok. Thanks for all that. Let’s now jump to the main core of our interview. According to this report in Fortune, nearly two-thirds of Americans can’t pass a basic test of financial literacy. In your opinion or experience what is the cause of these unfortunate numbers?

Not being an American myself (I am French) I will not comment on the American education system, as I never experienced it. But, one thing I can say about my generation — the Millennials — is that we lived through the 2008 crisis and it was so scary, obscure, complex, life changing that we had to get rid of established rules, disregard how things were done and set up our own set of rules. We are a generation which had to re-create a lot of fundamentals. Finance is one these fundamentals and I think we are still trying to figure out what works, and what does not…

If you had the power to make a change, what 3 things would you recommend to improve these numbers?

Lift up the taboo on debt, educate people from a very young age on dealing with money, transparency at all levels of the Financial System to encourage accountability.

Ok, thank you! Now to the main question of our interview: You are a “finance insider”. If you had to advise your adult child about 5 non intuitive essentials for smart Investing what would you say? Can you please give a story or an example for each.

1. Investing is about voting with your money. You’ll feel super engaged if you put your money where your mouth is. Aligning your investment to your values makes a difference in the way you will monitor this investment.

2. Use the information at your disposal, don’t trust everything you read. Do your own research and make sure you’re investing because you understand what it is about, what are the conditions, what you’re actually doing. Ask questions, read, study.

3. Talk about your investments. Sharing with your entourage about investing could get you some new insights, new perspective and information, and can help educate others.

4. Start small. Better safe than sorry — start with a small amount, try it out, get a sense of what works for you and grow your portfolio. Investing is about your long term vision.

5. Diversify. There are so many features in investing. Depending on what you’re looking to achieve, you will want to go for one type of investments over the other. Diversification is key.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

My father is a wealth manager, so I definitely had help there, regarding the basics of what investing means. But I really learnt a lot on my own. Asking questions, reading, studying and experimenting were the things I did to get a sense of what works for me.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“The effect you have on others is the most valuable currency there is” — this quote from Jim Carrey is a formulation of all my belief and applies so well to what I think Smart Investing should be !

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Following up on my quote, I think the movement I’d like to inspire is a movement of kindness and empathy. I think that’s how we’ll change the world if we put ourselves in other people shoes.

Thank you for the interview. We wish you continued success!

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