Isabelle Hau, a former investment banker at Morgan Stanley (where I originally met her more than a decade ago), now serves as the investment partner for US Education at Omidyar Network. She joined me to discuss a recent report showing the importance of educational intervention at a remarkably early age.
Beginning at 18 months, researchers can identify vocabulary differences in children raised by parents with a college education compared with those who are not. By age five, when children start kindergarten, the difference can be almost too great to overcome.
Children who are not reading and speaking on grade level by the third grade are shown to face greater challenges throughout their lives.
Hau sees an opportunity to invest in children before they start school to level the playing field and give every child an equal opportunity at success in life.
Interview with Isabelle Hau, the Investment Partner, US Education Lead of Omidyar Network.
The following is the pre-interview with Isabelle Hau. Be sure to watch the recorded interview above.
How are you personally affected by Early childhood education?
Twenty years ago, I immigrated to the United States from France. My access to a quality, public education from a very young age has been transformational. In addition to being raised by a loving family, I was enrolled when three months old into a childcare setting subsided by the hospital where my dad worked. Following, I attended a free, full-time public preschool starting at age 2 ½. Through these affordable and high-quality programs, I learned not early literacy and early maths, but more importantly all the social-emotional learning skills that have helped navigate my personal and professional journey through guided or unstructured play – creativity, collaboration and conflict resolution, communication, self-control, etc. As a result, I am passionate about early education being one of the most powerful means of creating opportunities for each and every child regardless of gender, race or zip code- “an equalizer from the start of life.”
What is your take on Early childhood education?
We have also supported convenings and field-building activities in measurement and assessment, and bridge between academia/research and entrepreneurial activity. Yet we need more.
More about Omidyar Network:
Omidyar Network is a philanthropic investment firm that invests in and helps scale innovative organizations to catalyze economic and social change. Established in 2004 by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and his wife Pam, the organization has committed more than $1.3 billion to for-profit companies and nonprofit organizations across multiple initiatives, including: Digital Identity, Education, Emerging Tech, Financial Inclusion, Governance & Citizen Engagement, and Property Rights. To learn more, visit www.omidyar.com, and follow on Twitter @omidyarnetwork #PositiveReturns.
Isabelle Hau’s bio:
Isabelle is an investment partner at Omidyar Network, where she leads the firm’s US education work through an inter-generational approach, investing in quality learning opportunities for both young children and parents.
She has held board seats or observer/advisory committee roles with EdSurge, Ellevation, GeniusPlaza, Holberton School, Khan Academy Kids, Reach Capital, and Tinkergarten in US education, as well as d.light and dr.consulta outside of education.
She joined Omidyar Network in 2012 in investment management. Previously, she was an executive director at Morgan Stanley, where she worked in venture capital investing in technology companies, and in investment banking. She also worked at ImpactAssets, a non-profit organization focused on increasing capital flows in impact investing.
Isabelle earned an MBA from Harvard Business School and graduated from ESSEC and Sciences Po Paris. Isabelle was honored as 100 Harvard Business School Women in the Bay Area.
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