Bo Parfet is a seasoned real estate professional. He spent his early days on Wall Street working for JP Morgan where he learned the ins and outs of traditional investment models. He worked arduously for his clients and built a name for himself within the industry.
After business school, he launched Iconic Development, a real estate investment firm dedicated to building and financing multi-unit residential developments. At the time, real estate investments were rapidly rising, and on the strength of this uptick, Iconic Development landed on Inc. 500’s Fastest Growing Companies list.
Parfet has long believed that the most successful way to build a strong, resilient financial portfolio is to structure a diverse set of investments. He wrote a white paper explaining this theory, titled Investing Outside the Dot: Rethinking the Case for Alternatives, in which he shares that the traditional (now contemporary) style of stock market investing has become saturated with investors and limited in the number and diversity of participating companies.
Parfet encourages a close study of a wider set of opportunities and urges investors to rethink their traditional ways of thinking (i.e. 60% stocks and 40% bonds). For Parfet, taking a hard look at private equity, real estate, and private debt is worthwhile.
Driven by his resolve to think ‘outside the dot,’ Parfet and his wife Meredith co-founded Denali Venture Philanthropy (Denali), an impact investing entity that fuses their love of business with the passion they have for improving the environment and helping communities around the world.
Denali solves the problem that many investors face when it comes to building strong, diverse portfolios. It helps identify those businesses and organizations pushing forward positive social change and allows well-established investors to make educated decisions about where their money is going and its potential above and beyond direct monetary return alone.
Constantly striving to improve, Parfet forces himself to think alternatively. His strategic process for thinking alternatively applies to many situations, as he shares with us below:
Define the problem.
Defining the problem is a three-step process for Parfet. He takes a hard look at the issue and identifies three ways that the problem can be explained.
For example, if your company is having a tough time retaining employees, the first definition of your problem might put the focus on the employees themselves. The second definition might put the focus on management. The third definition might put the focus on the overall company. In building these scenarios, different measures can then be created for each major focus of the problem of employee retention.
Identify the goal.
A major second step in thinking alternatively is to identify the goal. Taking the example problem of low employee retention, next you will want to build parameters around the specific outcomes you want to achieve.
Parfet insists that the important part here is identifying, structuring, and measuring specific goals to overcome the problem. What percentage of employee retention is acceptable? In each of the above-defined problem areas, what is one way to overcome each? If you choose to look at the overall structure of the company in the context of employee retention, perhaps you could create a more detailed and structured training program so that incoming employees are made fully aware of what to expect.
Identifying what you want and measuring the complexity of the problem helps develop a stronger alternative solution to the issue.
Build a plan to move forward.
Lastly, Parfet shares that he takes into account all definitions and considered approaches to the problem in order to build out a plan to move forward. In doing so, some considerations may simply not be feasible for the company or the current situation and can be laid to rest.
Brainstorming over complex issues helps one see outside the framework of the everyday decision tree. Utilize the best moments of concentration to develop alternative ideas and gather the most trusted leaders and confidants to help see these alternatives through. Most importantly, think creatively, positively, and with passion to eventually achieve successful outcomes.
About Bo Parfet
Bo Parfet is a real estate professional and philanthropist. He is a mountaineer, naturalist, and author. He and his wife Meredith co-founded Denali Venture Philanthropy (Denali), an organization focused on promoting global social change of which he is CEO. He also leads as Managing Director for DLP Real Estate Capital.
Parfet began his career as a Research Fellow at the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and joined J.P. Morgan as an investment banker on Wall Street. He founded Iconic Development, a successful real estate development firm that earned the Inc. 500’s Fastest Growing Companies distinction.
Parfet leads his personal life with the same determination and drive as his professional life. He is a passionate mountain climber and is one out of about 85 people in the U.S. to have completed the Seven Summits. He shares his experiences in his book, Die Trying: One Man’s Quest to Conquer the Seven Summits. He also contributed his stories to the book, They Lived To Tell The Tale: True stories of Modern Adventure from the Legendary Explorers Club.
Parfet is a philanthropist at heart. He received the Presidential Volunteer Service Award for completing more than 4,000 hours of volunteer service worldwide. He is a member of the Explorer’s Club and Young Professionals Organization, and he is an advisory board member for the non-profit, Adventure Scientists and sits on the board for the Gilmore Car Museum.
Parfet has a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Colorado State University, a Masters in Applied Economics from the University of Michigan, and an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. He and his family reside in Boulder, Colorado.
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