Lata Reddy on making lives better by solving financial challenges - Kathy Varol
Lata Reddy
September 13, 2023   |   Episode #: 064

Lata Reddy on making lives better by solving financial challenges

Show Notes:

Lata Reddy is Senior Vice President of Inclusive Solutions at Prudential, and chair of The Prudential Foundation. In these roles, Lata harnesses the power of capital markets to drive financial and social mobility. By combining diversity strategies, impact investments, philanthropy, corporate contributions, and employee engagement with Prudential’s full business capabilities, she helps position the company to promote inclusive economic opportunity and sustainable growth.

Under Lata’s leadership, Prudential became one of the first institutional investors to grow and manage an impact investing portfolio with $1.2 billion in assets under management. Additionally, she oversees a yearly grant-making budget of over $40 million through The Prudential Foundation, and a $17 million corporate contributions budget.


In this episode we discuss:
✅ What it means to be an anchor institution (in your corporate HQ geography)
✅ How the revitalization of a Newark mansion is supporting equity and access in the city
✅ The importance of a learning mindset


Key takeaways (listen to the full episode for a lot more gems!): 

1️⃣ This conversation reminds me of how small the world is, and the beauty that lies in finding overlapping connection points with others.

Lata and I both have immigrant parents. Both of Lata’s parents are from India. My father, and his parents and siblings, were refugees from Lithuania after WWII. When my family immigrated to America, they moved to Chicago. My grandmother found a job as an office cleaning-lady in the Prudential building downtown. Through employment, Prudential played a significant role in supporting the agency and financial security of my family, helping them integrate into a new community.

I share this story to highlight the generational ripple effect. If my grandparents couldn’t find work as refugees, my story would be drastically different. During this conversation, we discuss many ways that Prudential supports inclusive growth through its operations, investments, and grants. As Lata defines it, inclusive growth is about creating agency within people’s lives so that they have the ability to make the best decisions for themselves and their families. These actions create ripples.

2️⃣ Over the course of history, our expectations for the timeline an investment should take has drastically shrunk. The Great Wall of China was built over the course of more than 2,000 years. Notre Dame took more than 100 years of major construction, and work continued for hundreds of years after. The Giza pyramids were built over the course of three generations. In contrast, a modern-day shopping mall takes 2-5 years.

With these shrunken timelines, the beauty and joy the end result delivers has also plummeted. The same immediacy mindset has happened with financial investments. The existence and growth of day trading is an illustration of this. In day trading, a trader buys and sells a financial instrument within the same trading day. The truth is, most things in life don’t maximize over a day, or even a year. Getting a college education. Having children. Growing your career. Starting a business. If you’re only focused on immediate returns, you can miss out on some of the most rewarding and impactful opportunities.

From an investment standpoint, Prudential bucks this immediacy trend. They use a different approach called long-term investing, or patient capital, which means making a financial investment with no expectation of turning a quick profit but with an anticipation of more substantial returns down the road. As the saying goes, good things come to those who wait.



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