Jeremy Balkin knew he wanted to work in finance as early as age 13. He had already established his first investment company by the time he was in college at the University of New South Wales.
But on December 27, 2008, everything changed for Balkin. While climbing a rope up a 40-foot cliff (yes, extreme, he admits) he "suddenly heard this loud 'pop' noise," he wrote in a 2013 blog for HuffPost. The pop was his left humerus bone snapping. He woke up in the hospital with an 18-centimeter titanium plate and 14 screws in his left arm.
In his TED Talk entitled "The Noble Cause", he explains that upon waking up in the hospital, the surgeon said to him, "Jeremy, you are a very, very lucky young man."
"I made a vow that never again would I value my self-worth based on the money I was making," he said in the TED Talk. "Or allow my energy to be dictated by the volatility of the stock market."
Balkin joined HuffPost Live in Davos, Switzerland at the 2014 annual meeting of the World Economic Forum, and spoke more about this wakeup call. "In my rehabilitation, I realized that I'm very lucky to be on this earth and would devote every ounce of my being to being the best person I could be," he said in the clip above.
He established Give While You Live, a fundraising platform to inspire his finance-world clients to embrace philanthropy. According to the Give While You Live website, its next big push is to send a team to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro while raising funds to support cancer research and prevention.
"My mission in life is to positively influence the allocation of capital, make money by doing good," he said in his TED Talk. "If we can change the culture in finance, we will change the world."
Five years after founding Give While You Live, Balkin established Karma Capital, which "matches great ideas with capital", to further his mission. After the financial crisis of 2008, everyone was asking the "what" of finance, he said, but no one was considering the "how" or the "why".
Balkin admits that this large-scale change certainly won't happen overnight. "Changing the culture of finance is going to be a long painful road ahead, kind of like a marathon," he said in his TED Talk. But being no stranger to long-distance running, he's pushing hard through the finish line. "When I put my heart and soul in something, I've got the horsepower to go the distance," he said. "This is a marathon worth running... Who's joining me?"
Watch more from Balkin in the clip above and get live updates from Davos below:
01/25/2014 10:07 AM EST
Bill Gates Discusses The Hyper-Connectivity Concern
01/25/2014 10:06 AM EST
Polman's View On Work/Life Balance
"We are very fortunate to do what we like to do... so I get a lot of energy out of what I do," Polman said.
"I don't personally believe in work/life balance," Polman said, adding that he hopes to have a happy life balance that includes his work.
"We have to watch what we do, I like to run so I do that every day, and increasingly watch what you eat and maintain your health a little bit," Polman said.
01/25/2014 10:00 AM EST
'We Have A Moral Obligation'
"I think we have a moral obligation to use what is given to us for the benefit of all," Polman said.
"We have no rights to exclude people," Polman said.
01/25/2014 9:59 AM EST
Statue Of Responsibility
"I always say when they built the Statue of Liberty on the east coast of the United States, they forgot to build the Statue of Responsibility on the west coast," Polman said.
01/25/2014 9:56 AM EST
'We Really Need To Move Into Reaction Mode'
"I think people are starting to discover that we really need to move into reaction mode," Polman said.
Polman said the political process has become "incredibly difficult" and is riddled with "poor agreements."
"There is some progress but frankly, not fast enough, and the business community can not wait," Polman said.
"There is more of an urge from responsible business... to drive to action," Polman added.
01/25/2014 9:55 AM EST
'There Is An Enormous Demand On Food'
"Obviously as the population grows with the changing dietary habits, there is an enormous demand on food," Polman said.
Polman said he's worked to find sustainable solutions to food production.
01/25/2014 9:52 AM EST
'There's An Enormous Pressure On The CEO Of Today'
Arianna sat down with Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever, on HuffPost Live at Davos on Saturday to talk about pressure in business.
"There's a lot of pressure on the short-term," Polman said.
"There's an enormous pressure on the CEO of today," Polman added.
Polman said "the real purpose of business is to serve society," not to cater to the shareholder, but often the latter is what CEOs are focused on because of pressure.
01/25/2014 9:22 AM EST
Al Gore: 'We Need To Put A Price On Denial In Politics'
01/25/2014 8:49 AM EST
Brad Smith On Unplugging
Smith said he unplugs by getting outside and learning new things by doing things like reading.
"To me, that's a real joy," Smith said.
01/25/2014 8:45 AM EST
Relationship Between Business And Government
Smith said the relationship between business and government has a few different dimensions that usually exist at the same time.
"The government defines the laws and we comply with them," Smith said. "There may be times we think the government goes too far and we challenge them... there are times when we work together. There are times when the government is our customer."