Leaders Series: Economic inclusion & advancement

A live recording of our Q1 Chairman’s Reception panel focused on the importance of inclusion and the advancement of minority-owned businesses.

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June 1, 2022 | 30 minute read

About this episode
In March 2022, FS Investments hosted its Q1 Chairman’s Reception, featuring a panel of three inspiring business leaders in the area. Each of these individuals have dedicated their work to equity and economic inclusion through various avenues ranging from public service and education initiatives to capital raising and impact investing. We hope you enjoy their stories as much as we did!


  • Della Clark, President of The Enterprise Center
  • Damien Dwin, CEO of Lafayette Square
  • Jeff Hornstein, Executive Director of the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia

To learn more about each of these organizations and FS Investments’ diversity, inclusion and belonging efforts, visit https://fsinvestments.com/company/diversity-inclusion/

Transcript excerpt:

Bernadette Bridy:
Welcome back to FireSide, a podcast from FS Investments. This is Bernadette Bridy, Head of Marketing here at FS. On this episode of FireSide, we’re sharing a live recording of our quarterly Chairman’s Reception, which featured a panel discussion on the topics of inclusion and the advancement of minority owned businesses. The panel included three esteemed Philadelphia business leaders: Della Clark, President of The Enterprise Center, Damien Dwin, CEO of Lafayette Square, & Jeff Hornstein, Executive Director of the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia. We’re so grateful to each of these panelists for sharing their stories with us, and we hope you enjoy this engaging conversation as much as we did.

Michael Forman:
Good afternoon, everybody. It’s great to get everybody together. Feels like old times a little bit. This is quite an exciting day and we have a great panel here. I want to thank my colleague, Mike Gerber for helping to put this together and the rest of the inclusion group for making this happen. It’s an important day for us. I’m going to introduce Damien Dwin. Damien founded a business called Brightwood, which is a platform for diverse managers, which is a way for him to express his investing acumen in a diverse environment. I’m on the board and not only is it 50% diverse, but it’s 50% female, which is just amazing in our business to build that kind of business. And I’m really proud of what Damien has accomplished and proud to call him my friend. Damien will be one of our panelists, and Chris and Lara are going to introduce the other panelists.

Chris Condelles (00:02:48):
Thanks, Michael. So I’m excited to introduce Della Clark. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Della over the past two and a half years as part of being an advisor to the Innovate Capital Growth Fund. I’m sure Della is going to tell you more about it, but it was really conceived by Della to address a need in minority led businesses, where you found that the early stages, all they could get was really expensive debt as a leverage guy like that, but for a small business, equity’s really what they need. The best way for me to introduce Della is by a quote from Larry Plat, when he interviewed her, he described Della as a force of nature. And I think when you think of the impact Della’s had on the community, I think that’s the right way to describe her. She’s president and CEO of The Enterprise Center since 1992. In that time they’ve helped 1000+ small businesses through alliances and partnerships. She’s procured over $631 million in contracts to help those businesses, made 110 loans. And with the Innovate Capital Growth Fund, she’s taking it to the next level for these entrepreneurs. So I’m excited you’re going to get to hear from her, and I’m really appreciative of Mike and Michael for letting me be part of that. So thank you.

Lara Rhame (00:04:14):
Hi, my name is Lara and I am proud to serve on the board of the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia. I have been on that board for the last five years, thanks to FS Investments, which has given me that opportunity. So thank you, Mike and Michael, for that. Jeff Hornstein joined us as the director soon after I joined the board and he just has had an incredible impact, but I work closely with the Policy Hub Initiative. Jeff describes it as the goal of creating policy with actual data underlying it. So it’s just one of these dreams that we share. And then of course coordinating with other cities across the U.S. to understand what they’re doing, how they’re doing it and how really as economies grow and as cities grow, we can really create a rising tide that lifts all ships. So Jeff really is cares very deeply about trying to improve job quality, quality of living and standard of living across the entire city. So he’s a great neighbor and has been a really powerful executive director of the Economy League over this time.

This information is educational in nature and does not constitute a financial promotion, investment advice or an inducement or incitement to participate in any product, offering or investment. FS Investments is not adopting, making a recommendation for or endorsing any investment strategy or particular security. All views, opinions and positions expressed herein are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions or positions of FS Investments. All opinions are subject to change without notice, and you should always obtain current information and perform due diligence before participating in any investment. FS Investments does not provide legal or tax advice and the information herein should not be considered legal or tax advice. Tax laws and regulations are complex and subject to change, which can materially impact any investment result. FS Investments cannot guarantee that the information herein is accurate, complete, or timely. FS Investments makes no warranties with regard to such information or results obtained by its use, and disclaims any liability arising out of your use of, or any tax position taken in reliance on, such information.

Any projections, forecasts and estimates contained herein are based upon certain assumptions that the author considers reasonable. Projections are necessarily speculative in nature, and it can be expected that some or all of the assumptions underlying the projections will not materialize or will vary significantly from actual results. The inclusion of projections herein should not be regarded as a representation or guarantee regarding the reliability, accuracy or completeness of the information contained herein, and neither FS Investments nor the author are under any obligation to update or keep current such information.

All investing is subject to risk, including the possible loss of the money you invest.

Michael Forman

Chairman + CEO

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