When TPG first started working on what is now known as the Rise Fund, the idea was to invest in strong businesses that were also driving measurable environmental and social impact. Back in 2015, the largest fund of that kind was investing between $350 million to $400 million. The Rise Fund would first seek to raise $1 billion. Then, it doubled the amount.
“The idea was to prove to the markets that this is important work that can and should be done,” explains Maya Chorengel, co-managing partner of the Rise Fund. “We now have $15 billion in assets under management, and TPG has forever changed the impact investing industry as the largest, global, private equity impact fund with the deepest financial and impact track record.”
And, while she won’t take credit, Chorengel has been there since nearly the beginning.
The co-managing partner has spent three decades in the investing world including two of those decades in the impact space. She left a vice president role at Warburg Pincus in 2002 to start a series of small impact funds on her own. But, the chance to alter fundamentally the journey of impact investing lured her to TPG in 2017.
In addition to her leadership role at the Rise Fund, when TPG went public, Chorengel was asked to join the firm’s board of directors. It wasn’t a role she was seeking out, but as a woman of color, Chorengel quickly realized just what her assuming the board role meant for other women in the space.
“The number of notes that I received from younger women at the firm telling me how much it meant to them to see me up there, to know that someone who looked like them could have a seat at the table, was really powerful,” Chorengel recalls. “This wasn’t a seat that I asked for, but once granted the opportunity, I take the responsibility of representing more than just myself very, very seriously.”
Chorengel’s influence on the Rise Fund and its effect on impact investing is important. However, she notes that every highlight comes with its own challenges, which she shares with other women in hopes of making their journeys easier.
“Whenever I talk with women, I try to share my own struggles in finding the right balance in my life,” she explains. “It has always been important to me to spend time with my family and my two sons, and I wanted to make sure I was taking care of myself too. I think the difficulty in finding that balance is something working parents I speak to understand very well.”
An additional challenge for Chorengel includes sometimes being the only woman or Asian in the room. Things have gotten better, but she hopes to see even more change. In fact, she is an active member of several employee resource groups at TPG and is providing guidance for the next generation of leaders hoping to create more change in an industry that will only benefit from it.
And, if there’s one thing Chorengel has proven, it’s that she can create incredible change.