Kusi Hornberger '98

Kusi Hornberger '98
Friends Select School
Kusi Hornberger '98

Full Select News
Kusi Hornberger '98

As we look forward to Alumni Weekend (April 26-28), we are proud to highlight Friends Select alumni making a difference in their communities and the world. Today we highlight Kusi Hornberger ’98, Global Knowledge Lead at Dalberg Advisors.

How did your experience at Friends Select School influence your career path and approach to tackling global challenges, particularly in the realm of sustainable development and impact investing?

Impact investing is an investment strategy that intentionally seeks to generate financial returns while also creating measurable positive social or environmental impact. FSS taught me to be values-led and to lead with my intentions to contribute solutions to some of the world’s greatest remaining challenges such as climate change, poverty, and inequality. In turn, I use my values to advise clients on how they can identify what issues they care about and how to measure and know whether the investments they make contribute solutions to those issues.

Your work intersects with the agriculture, global health, and financial services sectors. How do your projects align with Quaker values, and how do they contribute to building more equitable and sustainable systems?

The projects I lead as a consultant advisor or impact investor in agriculture, global health, financial services, or other areas are led with my values. Many of the values I carry, such as empathy, honesty/integrity, simplicity, and kindness, were either learned or reinforced during my 12 years at FSS.  

Can you share with us a pivotal moment or project in your career that reflects the application of Quaker principles, such as integrity, community, and social justice?

Working directly for a year with smallholder coffee farmers in Tanzania to help them gain access to quality agronomic technical assistance and fair prices for their products in global markets was an experience that demonstrated my deep commitment to service for others, working locally with communities, being solution-oriented and empathetic in seeking to design services that work and are sustainable solutions to global injustices, like extreme poverty.

As the Global Knowledge Lead at Dalberg Advisors, working extensively on innovative finance and technology solutions for achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals, how do you see the role of technology evolving in addressing global challenges? How can current Friends Select students prepare to contribute to this evolution?

Throughout history, technological innovations—such as the mobile phone—have been some of the most important drivers of productivity gains and quality-of-life improvements for humanity. Thus, in many cases, the role of finance is to accelerate the development and adoption of technological solutions that can make the world a better place. This, however, does not negate the potential negative impact or risks that technological innovations can present, and thus my role is often also to support clients to identify and mitigate those risks. I believe it is imperative that FSS students learn to become fluent in how to use technology for good, but even more important that students learn how to adapt to changes and thrive as new technologies continue to emerge. Artificial Intelligence (AI) for example by no means will be the last great technological advancement/disruption of our and their lifetimes.

How do you think young professionals can integrate social impact into their careers while still pursuing financial stability and growth? Are there specific strategies or mindsets you recommend based on your own journey?

I believe it is critical for young people to seek careers that combine social and environmental impact goals with financial ones. The old paradigm of getting rich first and then giving your money away to do good is broken. Instead, I encourage students to constantly ask themselves how each of the next steps on their journeys would not only be the best financial move, but also be fulfilling, allow them to be present with their families, and contribute solutions to problems in society.

Reflecting on your diverse professional background, what advice would you offer to current Friends Select students who aspire to pursue careers in social impact and global development? How can they leverage their education and experiences to make meaningful contributions to the world?

Do not succumb to the fallacy of a single path. No career path or single choice is destiny. Instead seek opportunities for growth that allow one to live a full, balanced, and whole life. The Robert Frost poem, “The Road Not Taken,” which I first read at FSS, still speaks to me and I encourage students to read it and follow its wisdom. Those seeking careers in social impact and global development will be challenged as the path they are taking is not often clear, but that choice will, I believe, make all the difference.