Nexus Member Spotlight: Amanda Miller
Co-founder, Impact Generation Partners
Amanda is passionate about growing giving and the intersection of profit and purpose. Starting her career practicing corporate law at Allens, Amanda moved into the philanthropic sector working with non-profits, in grant making, with inter-generational family foundations, and with social enterprises. She is co-founder of Impact Generation Partners, an intermediary in the impact investing space, providing corporate advisory services to social entrepreneurs and family offices. Amanda Chairs Kids in Philanthropy, which engages children and their families in hands-on volunteer opportunities and aims to develop empathy and a social conscience in children. She has been on the Nexus Australia Youth Summit Organising Committee since its inception and chaired the 2014 Summit. She is also the Chair of Philanthropy Australia’s Melbourne New Generation of Giving group.
What are you passionate about?
I am passionate about engaging people in giving – whether that’s through their time, skills, or resources (gifts and investments).
I am especially passionate about engaging kids and the next generation in giving, which I believe will provide them with a purposeful, impactful, and happy life and will improve the world. I believe in using all of one’s resources to make change and moving capital into projects and organisations that are good for the world.
If we’re sitting here a year from now celebrating what a great year it’s been, what did you achieve?
Well first of all, the 2016 Nexus Australia Youth Summit was a great success, with 200 participants enjoying inspiring and cutting edge content and great collaborations being formed between philanthropists and social entrepreneurs leading to impactful projects. My husband and I will have further helped develop the impact investing eco system in Australia and worked with a number of outstanding social entrepreneurs to help them raise capital. Through Kids in Philanthropy, we would have engaged many new families in giving and raised funds for some grass roots charities, with the kids themselves taking initiative to develop and execute fundraising projects.
Tell us about a role model who inspired your work.
A role model who inspired my work was the incredible Australian philanthropist Dame Elisabeth Murdoch (mother of newspaper magnate Rupert Murdoch). I’ll always remember Dame Elisabeth saying around the time she turned 100 that she knew her time was running out and she wasn’t about to waste a minute of it. I’ve always been driven and I want to be as productive as I can in terms of really contributing and that’s probably why I take on as many things as I do, but it’s what makes me happy.
If you could clone yourself and lead two separate lives at once, in what other field would you want to work?
I am not mathematical, but I would love to be able to code and to understand science and to contribute to innovation through technology and science. I would especially love to be involved in engaging more women and girls in technology and STEM so that they could have the best opportunities for the jobs of the future and use their skills to change the world.
What is one of the biggest challenges you have faced as a philanthropist/social entrepreneur?
One of the biggest challenges I have faced is allocating the scarce resource of time. I love taking on new projects and constantly come across opportunities to get involved with inspiring and energetic changemakers. I have learned to say no sometimes, but the way that I manage to be involved in so many different endeavors is by ensuring that they are all in an overlapping space – for me the common denominator is the next generation and finding ways to engage them.
What’s your superpower?
My superpower is my networks. In all my work, the most important things are the people and the relationships. Once you form deep and meaningful relationships, everything else flows. I have developed networks across a number of regions, and sectors, with different age groups, for profit and not for profit. The magic happens when I am able to connect people from different networks who then collaborate and go on a journey together.
Why did you come to Nexus and how has it impacted you?
In 2013, I attended the Nexus Global Youth Summit and was blown away by the incredible community of people trying to, in Rachel Cohen Gerrol’s words, ‘hurry up change.’ I remember looking around the room at the United Nations and feeling as though I had found my tribe. I am proud to have been part of Nexus Australia since then, having helped stage the inaugural Nexus Summit in 2013, Co-Chairing the Summit in 2014, and currently working on the 2016 Summit coming up in early March. The Nexus network globally is incredible, and I love being part of it and growing it in Australia.
If you could have been told one thing as a child (that you weren’t told) what would you like to have heard?
I probably would have liked to have been told that there is no rush in life, and that life is about the journey, not the destination.
Do you have any advice for other philanthropists/social entrepreneurs?
I believe that good things happen when you go out of your comfort zone and experience new things, or open yourself to new possibilities or horizons. You need to believe in yourself, back your judgement and not be afraid to take risks and to fail – it will only make your stronger. Also, don’t judge other people; philanthropy is personal and it’s all additive—every contribution you can make is valuable to someone.