A Conversation with Toniic’s Newly Appointed Board Chair, Michael Au

We are proud to announce the appointment of Michael Au as our new board chair at Toniic. Based in Hong Kong, Michael is the first board member and chairperson from the Asia Pacific region.

Michael replaces outgoing chair Alexandra (Alie) Korijn, who has served on the Toniic board for the last six years. Alie, who has since become a viral systems change leader at TWIST, deserves immense appreciation for her leadership and many contributions to Toniic over those years.  Also joining the board in 2024 is long-time Toniic member and supporter Rodrigo Villar based in Mexico.

This year’s Toniic board is the most geographically representative board to date, marking a significant evolution for Toniic, which began in 2010 as a small group of enthusiasts. Today, the Toniic community has grown into a vibrant global network of over 500 impact investors from 25+ countries. The new board reflects our diverse global reach and deep commitment to fostering impactful investments worldwide.

In this candid conversation, Michael shared insights into his path to impact investing, his motivations for embracing the new role at Toniic, and his aspirations for our community’s path forward.

Q: What inspired you to embark on the Toniic journey?

When I first ventured into the field of impact investing, Asia felt like it was in a void. The discussion here was isolated, and I struggled to find peers. My journey with Toniic began from a place of curiosity and a friendly recommendation. I initially felt that Toniic was mainly a “Western” organization, however, after participating in a few regional events, I discovered a community that shared my values and broadened my horizons in ways I hadn’t imagined.

Q: What was it like to become part of this group, and how has it influenced your journey?

It can feel daunting when you talk about being part of a network of 500+ investors, including the likes of Karl “Charly” Kleissner and Lisa Kleissner, Jed Emerson, Annie Chen, and Daniel Almagor. You’re talking about interacting with the authors of the impact investing narrative. It felt surreal to think of my place amongst these giants, even less to actually share in a group, but that’s the beauty of Toniic – it brings worlds together. They keep pulling me in, saying, ‘Whoa, you’re doing something interesting. Let’s take it to the next level.’ And suddenly, I’m not just participating; I’m contributing in meaningful ways.

Toniic isn’t just about admiring established names; it’s about discovering your unique impact. The welcoming nature of Toniic made me realize my own value within this community.

Michael Au

Q: Reflecting on your journey, how do you feel about stepping into the role of board chair, especially as the first from the APAC region?

Stepping into the board chair role is an honor and a responsibility I do not take lightly. Being the first from the APAC region adds a layer of significance, highlighting Toniic’s commitment to diversity and global representation. I see this as an opportunity to build bridges, bring fresh perspectives, and contribute to Toniic’s mission on a larger scale. It’s a culmination of both my journey with Toniic and what I hope to see in my tenure.

Toniic’s first member gathering in the Asia Pacific region was held in the Green Village, Bali in October 2023.

Q: Can you elaborate on how you view the board’s role at Toniic, particularly in guiding the organization’s future?

The board at Toniic is fundamentally about steering the organization while embracing our global mission and responsibility as one of the largest organizations of our kind. We strive to work alongside the Toniic team in co-creating Toniic’s future, not just as overseers but active participants, reflecting on the needs of the ecosystem and our membership, and ensuring our actions are relevant and pioneering. The current Toniic board represents every continent except for Antarctica and Australia, which means you will always be one or two clicks away from a board member. This helps keep a global perspective and hopefully makes us more approachable to all members!

Q: As the new board chair, how do you plan to engage with and support the Toniic community?

I remain an active, supportive member of Toniic, committed to fostering collaboration, collective action, and mutual support. I invite Toniic members to connect with me directly, whether in person or virtually. I am always open to all connections that can support us in driving forward our collective mission!

Michael and other board members will attend Toniic’s Annual Global Gathering this November in South Africa. Additionally, various regional events will see participation from board members, including the Member Gathering in Amsterdam and various meetups around the world including Oslo and New York City, and more. If you are planning to attend, don’t be shy, say hi!

Here’s a list of upcoming Toniic events and gatherings on our website, and an overview of the current Toniic board. Toniic members can connect directly to Michael via Connect – our member-only networking platform

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