Interview with Jennifer Popescu-Urbain, Assistant for Communications and Shareholder Relations for the Luxembourg Microfinance and Development Fund (LMDF)
Jennifer Popescu-Urbain has been working for LMDF for the past three years, but has been immersed in the sector of inclusive finance for several more. We met with her one sunny day in the offices of LMDF, located at the House of Microfinance in Luxembourg City and took the opportunity to retrace her career.
Could you describe your career path towards inclusive finance?
I entered the inclusive finance sector by pure chance. I worked for a luxury television channel at the beginning of my career, in a sector that is diametrically opposite to financial inclusion. The company I was working for went bankrupt and I was looking for a job. A recruiter proposed a position of executive assistant for a Luxembourg NGO specialising in microfinance. I immediately accepted even if I had never heard of microfinance before. After a couple of years I then changed jobs and joined the small LMDF team. There were only two of us at the time. These professional experiences made me want to go deeper into the question of microfinance and inclusive finance.
What are your current responsibilities and what is a working day at LMDF like?
I am currently assistant for communications and shareholder relations. My work is highly varied and no day is like any other. My tasks range from the preparation of half-yearly reports to the preparation of the newsletter, and include updating the website, administrative tasks and the organisation of events. We also organise events around the theme of “invest differently”. The topic of the most recent event was “Gender Lens Investing”. I am also in charge of the relations with private shareholders. For example, it consists of the administrative follow-up of their files, sending them information on LMDF projects and sending them our newsletter.
What is the biggest project you have handled for the moment?
Among other things, I am currently involved in the process of recruiting a trainee. Our recruitment process takes place in several stages. The next semi-annual report and the organisation of several events are also on the planning for the coming months.
Inclusive finance: a passion, job or learning experience?
When I started working in the inclusive finance sector, I had never heard of it. I have learned so much with my work and continue to learn every day.
What lessons have you learned by working in a social investment fund?
Our work can have an impact on the lives of other people. My work has made me aware of problems that are unheard of in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. For example, we have recently written an article for the LMDF blog on the question of access to education that are a real eye-opener on what goes on in the rest of the world. It makes you realise the problems that part of the world has to face that we don’t have here.
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Picture 1 © Pallab Seth