Lisa G. Thomas 2019 Speaker

Managing Director

Samata Capital


Lisa G. Thomas has dedicated her career to promoting social and economic well-being in emerging markets. She has over a decade of experience in venture capital and private equity investing, strategic planning, governance and operations in emerging markets. She is the Managing Director of Samata Capital, a fund management company dedicated to making private sector investments in small and growing businesses in sub-Saharan Africa that advance opportunities for women and promote gender diversity. An impact investor and seasoned consultant, Lisa brings robust emerging market experience in early stage and growth investing having worked with companies in more than 20 countries in Africa, Asia and the Caucasus. She is passionate about impact investing with significant expertise in the financial inclusion space including microfinance, small and medium enterprise (SME) lending, deposit mobilization and alternative delivery channels as well as experience in agribusiness, energy services, fintech, health and online marketplaces.

In 2019, Lisa gave the keynote address for the African Women’s Entrepreneurship Cooperative focusing on building diverse and inclusive cultures and the impact on company performance. She has taught and guest lectured at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and is a regular speaker at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business including an address at the 2016 Emerging Markets Conference titled, “The Role of Women in Emerging Markets.” Lisa was an Emerging Leader Fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, and co-authored the paper “Africa Is Now: The Opportunity for Mid-Sized US Companies” and appeared on NPR’s Worldview to discuss business development in Africa. Lisa serves on the Board of Directors for several financial institutions in emerging markets and spends time providing advice and mentorship to social impact start-ups participating in the University of Chicago Booth School of Business social new venture competition and those funded by Impact Engine, a social impact fund in Chicago, as well as investment teams participating in the MIINT competition for early stage impact investments. Lisa holds an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and a B.S. (Honors) from the University of Oregon.


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