CEO, Greenpark Capital
Marleen Groen founded Greenpark Capital, a $700 million global secondary private-equity investment manager, in 2000. Plans to close the firm's first fund by September 30 2001 were dealt a blow by the turmoil that followed September 11. But it would take much more than that to hold back a woman who once marched through an ancient Indian rainforest trail between Colombia and Panama with a machete. Jungle, mountains, rivers, ticks, snakes and a giant spider couldn't stop her then, so it is hardly surprising that the fund closed on target soon after.
Groen does not give up easily. After being forced a year ago to turn back 500 metres from the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa's tallest mountain at 5,896m, because of problems adjusting to the altitude, she went back this year and conquered it for charity. The oxygen level at that altitude is half that at sea level. "What can I say? I'm Dutch, I was born below sea level, my cells like oxygen," she says.
Last month, Groen returned to East Africa and successfully scaled the extinct volcano in six days with 16 other members of the European Venture Philanthropy Association (EVPA) on a charity trip that raised more than $150,000.