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Speakers & Bio

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Obi Akunwafor 

Obi Akunwafor is the Global Head of Counterparty Risk at Invesco. Obi is responsible for the identification, quantification, and monitoring of counterparty risk exposure across Invesco’s investment strategies and partners with the portfolio teams to deliver superior performance within appropriate risk parameters. In this capacity, he is responsible for the oversight of newly traded derivative and structured products, global counterparty risk policy, collateral management and supporting trading documentation. 

Obi is the sole director of Tremont Group Holdings LLC, a hedge fund, fund-of-funds asset management affiliate of Invesco and serves on the board of directors of Tremont Group offshore fund companies.

Prior to joining Invesco in 2009, Obi was a Senior Credit Officer at Goldman Sachs & Co, where he executed credit advisory mandates in the Industrials, Structured Finance, and Natural Resources & Chemical sectors and had credit risk management oversight responsibility for numerous traded derivatives and financial instruments.

Obi holds a B.Sc. in Accounting from Bernard M. Baruch College and FINRA Series 7 and 63 licenses.

Machel Allen, CFA
Metis Global Partners 

Machel is the President and Chief Investment Officer at Metis Global Partners. She leads the firm’s business strategy efforts as well as the investment team responsible for researching and managing the firm’s portfolio strategies.

Machel’s investment career spans over 30 years, including ten years with Brandes Investment Partners where she led the quantitative investment team that designed and implemented the investment process used by Metis today. Prior experience includes Lord Abbett, as an Equity Analyst to international and domestic portfolios, as well as institutional investment consulting roles at LCG Associates and Watson Wyatt.

Machel earned an MBA in investments from the Robinson Business School at Georgia State University (GSU) as well as a BBA in finance from GSU. She is a Past President and Board Director of the CFA Society of San Diego and is a member of the Chicago Quantitative Alliance (CQA). Machel is an Advisory Board Member of The Brandes Center at University of California, San Diego – Rady Business School.

Samuel M. Austin, III

Sam Austin, based in San Francisco, California, manages NEPC’s Western Region public fund consulting activities. For 34 years, Sam has offered consulting advice to public fund, corporate, multi-employer, endowment and eleemosynary clients. Sam currently serves as Chair of NEPC’s Governing Board. He previously chaired NEPC’s Partner Nominating Committee. Sam also is Chair of NEPC’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Board.

Prior to joining the Partnership at NEPC in 2017, Sam was a Senior Vice President at FIS Group (now Xponance) for five years, where he advised pension clients on the portion of their asset allocation dedicated to emerging managers. Sam contributed to manager selection decisions as a Voting Member of the Investment Committee at FIS. Previously, Sam worked for 10 years at Virtus Investment Partners where he held the position of Executive Managing Director. As a Member of the Virtus Executive Committee, reporting to the CEO, he was a key participant in the strategic planning and implementation for the spin-out of multiple boutique money management subsidiaries from Phoenix Insurance. Earlier in his career, Sam was a Principal and Team Leader for the Public Fund and Taft-Hartley businesses at Barclays Global Investors (now BlackRock). He also served initially as a Portfolio Strategist for Quantitative Equities and later as Principal and Co-Head of Marketing at Bankers Trust Company (now Deutsche Bank).

Sam is the founder and Board Chair of the Investment Diversity Advisory Council (IDAC), an organization with representation from all stakeholders in the investment business, dedicated to working collaboratively to implement strategies that can transform the equitable representation of all parts of the population throughout our industry. Sam was also the founding President of the New York Chapter of the National Association of Securities Professionals (NASP-NY), where he created the NASP-NY Trustee Education Seminar in 1994. His initiative to launch the NASP Finance and Scholastic Training Track (“FAST Track”) Program in New York has been adopted by other local chapters of NASP around the country and has introduced hundreds of inner- city high school students to careers in banking, finance and asset management. Sam was inducted into the NASP-NY Wall Street Hall of Fame in 2013. Sam earned his M.B.A. degree in Finance from the Questrom School of Business at Boston University and a Bachelor of Science degree from Boston University.

Ryan Bailey
Paradigm Institutional Investments

Ryan Bailey is an accomplished financial professional with extensive experience in investment management and strategic leadership. He currently holds the position of Chief Investment Officer and Managing Partner at Paradigm Institutional Investments, where he oversees both discretionary and non-discretionary investment practices. In this role, Ryan provides guidance and expertise across various areas, including manager research, Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) initiatives, governance, and all functions of a high-performing non-profit investment office.

Prior to joining Paradigm, Ryan served as Co-Chief Investment Officer at Investment Office Resources and was a co-founder of Carbonado Partners, LLC. His previous experience includes a notable tenure as the Head of Investments at Children's Health System of Texas, where he managed a $1.8 billion investment portfolio for the hospital's pension, foundation, operating cash, and long-term pools. As the inaugural investment officer for the hospital, Ryan played a crucial role in establishing the department and implementing effective systems, processes, and governance structures.

Before his time at Children's Health, Ryan served as an Investment Officer and Interim Chief Investment Officer at the Meadows Foundation, where he led due diligence efforts, contributed to strategic asset allocation development, and developed and executed investment strategies to achieve competitive performance.

Ryan is a Yale University graduate, holding a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics. He possesses several certifications, including Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), Financial Risk Manager (FRM), Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA), and Chartered Market Technician (CMT). Ryan's career began with the founding of a trading company at the World Trade Center in 2000, and after surviving the events of 9/11, he relocated to Dallas, Texas.

Throughout his career, Ryan has been recognized for his exceptional contributions and industry expertise. He was featured in D magazine in June 2011, named one of the "40 under 40" by Asset International–Chief Investment Officer Magazine (aiCIO) in April 2015, and was a finalist for the aiCIO's 2015 Next Generation Award. He received the Institutional Investor 2016 Investor Intelligence Award for Healthcare Institutions' Portfolio Construction and was a finalist for CIO Magazine's Industry Innovation Award for Healthcare in 2017. In addition, Ryan was awarded Institutional Investor's Healthcare System of the Year Award in 2018.

Ryan actively serves as a director on the boards of Blue Dolphin Energy (BDCO), the Texas Alternative Investment Association, Bridgeway Capital Management, STREAM (Strengthening Racial Equality in Asset Management) Foundation, Portfolios with Purpose, Dallas CFA Society, and is an Angel for the Texas Wall Street Women. Furthermore, he serves on the Investment Committees for the Texas Employee Retirement System, American Heart Association, Dallas Police and Fire, and Parkland Hospital, reflecting his commitment to contributing to various organizations and causes.

Sara Balawajder 
Builders Vision

Sara Balawajder is a Vice President on Builders Initiative Investment Team, where she helps manage the Foundation Endowment, working to allocate 90%+ of the portfolio to mission-related investments across asset classes. She also leads impact investments for the Donor Advised Funds, seeking out under-represented emerging fund managers dedicated to impact. Additionally, Sara oversees investments for the Firm’s impact-first sustainable food and agriculture portfolio. Her strategy makes investments utilizing early-stage direct equity checks, creative debt financing, and fund structures to facilitate the adoption of technology that support a food system that affords healthy food to all and restores the environment rather than harming it.
Previously, Sara worked at Hall Capital Partners and helped manage global, diversified portfolios for ultra-high net worth families, endowments, and foundations. It was during this five-year tenure that Sara developed her passion for impact investing and assisted the firm launch its first Full Consequence Investment Fund.

Sara holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and a bachelor’s degree from Colgate University.  

Melissa Binder
Women Investment Professionals (WIP)

Melissa Binder is a managing director on the global distribution team at PPM America, Inc. (PPM). She is responsible for building strategic relationships with institutional prospective clients and consultants. Prior to joining PPM in 2017, Melissa was a portfolio manager at Segal Marco Advisors, where she managed the equity sleeve of the firm’s outsourced CIO platform and was responsible for conducting due diligence and recommending investment managers to institutional clients. Melissa earned a master’s degree in business administration with concentrations in economics, finance, and accounting from the University of Chicago and a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Illinois. She is a CFA® charterholder and holds Series 7 and 63 licenses.

Stephanie Braming, CFA
William Blair Investment Management

Stephanie Braming, CFA, partner, is the global head of William Blair Investment Management. She is also chairman of the board of trustees and president of the William Blair Funds, chairman of the William Blair SICAV, and serves on the firm’s executive committee. She is responsible for leading and setting the strategic direction for Investment Management, including broadening, deepening, and evolving the firm’s investment capabilities. She also chairs the leadership team for Investment Management and serves on the firm’s global inclusion council. Before assuming leadership of William Blair Investment Management in 2017, Stephanie was a portfolio manager for the International Growth and International Small Cap Growth strategies. Joining the firm in 2004, she was instrumental in portfolio construction and portfolio design and had a leadership role in the enhancement of the firm’s systematic research tools. Stephanie also served as portfolio manager for the Japan strategy from inception in 2013 to close in 2015. Before joining the firm, she was a principal at Mercer Investment Consulting, where she was responsible for the strategic investment direction of her institutional clients. She also previously worked at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Stephanie is a member of the CFA Institute and the CFA Society Chicago, where she served on the society’s board of directors, the Economic Club of Chicago, and The Chicago Network. She also serves on the Board of Governors of the Investment Company Institute (ICI), and is on the Board of Directors of the Museum of Science and Industry, and Working in the Schools (WITS), the largest volunteer literacy organization serving Chicago Public School students. Additionally, American Banker named Stephanie one of the 25 most powerful women in finance in 2021, and Barron’s named her one of the most 100 influential women in U.S. finance in 2022. She received a B.A. from DePauw University and an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.

Martin Cabrera, Jr.
Cabrera Capital

Martin Cabrera is the CEO and Founder of Cabrera Capital Markets (CCM) and Cabrera Capital Partners (CCP).  

Cabrera Capital Markets (CCM) provides global investment banking and institutional brokerage services to a substantial and diversified client base that includes financial institutions, states and municipalities, corporations, unions, foundations and endowments.   CCM has issued over $900 billion in debt and equities for municipalities and corporations domestically and internationally.  CCM’s taxable fixed income and global equities trading desks are transacting over one billion in securities daily.

Cabrera Capital Partners (CCP) provides commercial and residential real estate development expertise, investment, and consulting services to a full range of clients in the public, private, institutional and non-profit sectors.  CCP has experience providing investment advisory services including development, acquisition and management of over $3.5 billion in institutional real estate.  CCP’s current real estate development focus is the transformation of a thirty-six acre vacant in-fill site on Chicago’s Southwest side into a 400+ million mixed income and mixed use community providing essential housing, services and jobs.

Martin has over twenty-five years of investment experience. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance from Northern Illinois University and studied at the London School of Economics.

Martin currently serves as a Board Member at Chicago Community Trust, Member of the Archbishop’s Finance Council and Chairman of the Real Estate Committee for the Archdiocese of Chicago, Chairman of the Board of Trustees at St. Ignatius College Prep, Board Member of World Business Chicago, Board Member of Latino Donor Collaborative, Board Member of Children First Fund, Former Chairman of the City Colleges of Chicago and Former Chairman of the Chicago Plan Commission.

Richard T. Chari

Richard is a member of the Corporate Practice Team and his consulting responsibilities include servicing defined benefit, defined contribution and corporate clients. In supporting clients, he is primarily responsible for the development and monitoring of investment policies and objectives, the modeling and implementation of asset/liability studies, the evaluation and selection of investment managers, and the measurement and analysis of investment performance.  Richard previously led the firm’s Corporate Pension Solutions Group and has expertise in Liability Driven Investing as well as Pension Risk Transfer.  Richard joined NEPC in 2008 in our Performance Analysis group. Prior to joining NEPC in 2008, Richard was in graduate school and previously worked for Intermarket Unit Trusts, Harare, Zimbabwe in 2002. 

Richard passed Level I of the CFA Program and also earned his B.S. in Economics from the University of Zimbabwe and his M.B.A. in Global Business from Johnson & Wales University.

Dr. John Claisse

John Claisse joined Albourne in July 1996, relocated from London to San Francisco in July 2003 and became Albourne Group CEO in August 2015. John is an equity partner and member of Albourne’s Executive Committee and also chairs the firm’s Corporate Planning Council, which comprises Albourne’s function and region heads. John helped develop the firm’s proprietary risk analytics and was formerly the Senior Analyst for quantitative equity strategies and multi-strategy hedge funds. John remains a Portfolio Analyst working with several public and corporate plans, large endowments and foundations. John also serves on the Advisory Board of the Sussex University School of Business, on the Board of Trustees of Standards Board of Alternative Investments (SBAI), and on the Governing Board of The Robert Toigo Foundation.

John holds a first class Mathematics Degree and a PhD from Sussex University.

Albourne is an independent advisory firm focused on hedge funds, private equity, private credit, real assets, real estate and dynamic beta. Founded in 1994, Albourne has over 330 clients with over $700bn invested directly in alternative investments.

Carole K. Crawford
CFA Institute

Global finance and investment executive with 25+ years of leadership experience driving investment and business results in an ever-changing environment. Diverse experience spanning asset and wealth management and strategic c-suite roles. Entrepreneurial, forward-looking, trusted advisor, fostering relationships at the highest level of industry and government. Trademark revitalization process, cultivating innovation and driving growth aligned with an organization’s competitive edge and culture. Robust investment expertise across multiple asset classes in public and private markets, including sustainable, venture and niche investments.

Fintech Expert, actively engaged in its complex innovation ecosystem of startups, investors, incumbent banks and investment firms, consultants, advisors and regulators, identifying industry trends and relevant opportunities.

She has an avid interest in the political process, and has served on business, economic policy and finance councils for several Presidential, Congressional and major Mayoral campaigns, called on by political leaders on both sides of the aisle and around the globe to engage entrepreneurs and business leaders in the political process.

James A. Diossa
Rhode Island General Treasurer

James A. Diossa was elected Rhode Island General Treasurer in November 2022 and sworn in on January 3, 2023. Treasurer Diossa is committed to serving as a responsible and active steward, protecting the livelihoods of our current and future pensioners, and promoting economic growth by expanding opportunities for all Rhode Islanders through thoughtful, transparent, and equity-focused leadership.

Throughout his years in public service, Treasurer Diossa demonstrated his commitment to giving residents the tools and opportunities for creating sustainable wealth. This commitment continues by making information readily available - and easy to access - to current and future pensioners as well as the general public and providing assistance to municipal governments requiring pension-related guidance. In addition, he is a key champion for expanded financial literacy in our schools to further help individuals and families achieve self-sufficiency.  

Raised and educated in Central Falls, Rhode Island, Treasurer Diossa served as a member of the City Council and Mayor of Central Falls, becoming the youngest mayor to date in our state’s long history. During his tenure as mayor, he helped Central Falls recover from the effects of bankruptcy and prior years of mismanagement. After completing two terms as mayor, he went on to serve as a Senior Advisor at Brown University’s Policy Lab. Treasurer Diossa is a graduate of Becker College. He lives in Pawtucket with his fiancée, Sandra Cano, their daughter, Arianna, and their newborn son, Alessandro.

Arne Duncan
Emerson Collective

Arne Duncan served as U.S. Secretary of Education from January 2009 through December 2015 as part of the Obama Administration. Prior to joining the Obama Administration, Duncan served as chief executive officer of Chicago Public Schools. From 2001 to 2008, Duncan won praise for uniting the city’s stakeholders behind an education agenda that included opening 100 new schools; expanding after-school, summer learning, early childhood, and college access programs; dramatically boosting the caliber of teachers; and building public-private partnerships around a variety of education initiatives.

He currently leads Chicago CRED, a nonprofit trying to achieve a transformative reduction in gun violence in Chicago. Through partnerships with local business leaders, community organizers, and nonprofit groups, Duncan aims to provide outreach, therapeutic, education, and employment opportunities for the young men most likely to be engaged in gun violence. He is also the managing partner at Emerson Collective, an organization dedicated to removing barriers so people can live to their full potential. Secretary Duncan graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University in 1987, majoring in sociology. At Harvard he served as co-captain of the basketball team and was named a first team Academic All-American.

Arne is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy, and Co-chairs The Knight Commission. He also serves on the boards of Ariel Investments, Communities in Schools, Eat, Learn, Play, Edmentum, Education Advancement, ESS, Howard University, My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, National Association of Basketball Coaches, RingCentral and

Prince Dykes
Global Children Financial Literacy Foundation

Prince Dykes is the Managing Partner, Royal Financial Investment Group, Co- Founder of Global Children Financial Literacy Foundation and retired US Navy Chief. He is the published author of the father and son financial literacy book series which include titles: Wesley Learns to Invest, Wesley Learns About Credit and Wesley Learns About Insurance. He is the founder/host of the weekly financial literacy podcast "The Investor Show" that reaches 20k weekly listeners. His non-profit Global Children Financial Literacy Foundation turns kids into first time shareholders of stocks through its book club “Wesley Learns”. He resides in Aurora, Colorado with his wife of 14 years and their 12 year old son Wesley.

Michael W. Frerichs 
Illinois State Treasurer

Michael Frerichs was first elected Illinois State Treasurer on Nov 4, 2014. He has been re-elected twice and started his third term in January 2023. Frerichs is the 74th person to serve in this role. In Illinois, the Treasurer’s office predates the state’s incorporation in 1818. Voters chose to make it an elected office in 1848.

In Illinois, the Treasurer is the state’s Chief Investment and Banking Officer. The office invests money on behalf of the state and local units of government. Frerichs also believes in providing individuals with financial tools so they can invest in themselves.
He does this by encouraging savings plans for college and trade school, increasing financial education among all ages, removing barriers to a secure retirement, and reuniting Illinois residents with their unclaimed property.

The Treasurer’s Office actively manages approximately $52 billion. The investment approach is cautious to ensure the preservation of principal, but the investment returns are significant. Under Frerichs’ tenure, the office has earned more than $2 billion for taxpayers through safe, smart investing.

Since taking office, Treasurer Frerichs has made significant strides in the fight for consumers by making sure Illinois residents get what is owed to them through the Unclaimed Property Program. A record- breaking $1.75 billion in forgotten cash and stock has been returned to individuals, employers, and non- profit under his watch.

Treasurer Frerichs also has worked to make college more affordable for families saving for their children’s future. He made changes to the Bright Start college savings program, taking it from worst to among the nation’s best. Independent analyst Morningstar awarded Bright Start their top Gold rating five years in a row. The treasurer lowered fees and provided more investment options for families.
Under Treasurer Frerichs’ leadership, Illinois now leads a bipartisan multi-state alliance that allows parents of children with blindness or a disability to save for their child without jeopardizing their federal disability benefits. Achieving a Better Life Experience Program (ABLE) is the national standard, offering high-quality and low-cost investment options. His office also led negotiations that resulted in lower fees for participants.

In November 2018, Treasurer Frerichs launched Secure Choice, a retirement savings program that will benefit an estimated 1.2 million private-sector workers in Illinois who do not have access to an employer-sponsored retirement plan. So far, over 120,000 Illinois workers have saved more than $115 million that will help them retire with dignity.

Treasurer Frerichs was born and raised in the small, downstate farming community of Gifford, Illinois. He graduated from Yale University and spent two years in Taiwan where he taught English to young students and learned to speak Chinese. He returned to Champaign County and launched his own technology business. He was elected to the Champaign County Board and elected Champaign County Auditor. He also served as a volunteer firefighter.

Jonathan Glidden, CFA
Delta Airlines

Jon is responsible for Delta Air Lines’ defined benefit and defined contribution pension plans.  In this role he oversees all aspects of the plans including asset allocation, alpha generation, and plan level risk management. 

Prior to joining Delta in 2011, Jon was Director of Manager Research at Wilmington Trust.  There he constructed and provided oversight of multi-manager portfolios across both traditional and alternative asset classes.  Jon was also a member of Wilmington’s Investment Strategy Team which set strategic and tactical asset allocation for Wilmington’s clients.  Prior to joining Wilmington Trust in 2007, Jon spent six years with Emory University’s Endowment Fund, most recently as the Director of Investment Analysis.  In this position, Jon sourced and conducted due diligence on global equity managers, global fixed income managers, and hedge funds.

Jon holds a master’s degree in Financial Mathematics from the University of Chicago, an MBA from Emory University, and a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology.  He served as an officer in the US Navy as the Tomahawk Missile Officer on USS Stout (DDG-55) and the Weapons and Boarding Officer on USS Firebolt (PC-10).

Samantha T. Grant, CFA, CAIA

Ms. Grant is primarily responsible for providing a broad range of consulting services to a variety of institutional plan sponsors, including strategic asset allocation, manager structure analysis, manager selection, risk management and continuing education of their fiduciaries. Ms. Grant is a member of the Verus OCIO Investment Committee, which provides oversight to portfolio construction, investment management and implementation processes for OCIO clients.

Prior to joining Verus, Ms. Grant served as an investment consultant at Marquette Associates where she was a member of the firm’s investment committee, traditional investment manager search committee, and sustainable investing committee. In addition, Ms. Grant led U.S. equities manager due diligence at Marquette Associates and developed the manager due diligence platform for Mesirow Financial’s Retirement Advisory Services group. Ms. Grant began her career at Northern Trust in a leadership development program and later transitioned to portfolio manager role on a quantitative equity team.

Ms. Grant is a frequent speaker at industry conferences on a variety of investment topics including sustainable investing, emerging and diverse manager programs, and private markets investing. She serves on the board of the South Side YMCA of Metro Chicago and the board of the Investment Diversity Advisory Council (IDAC), a nonprofit organization with the goal of creating a more inclusive and profitable investment industry. 

Ms. Grant holds a master’s degree in business administration (MBA) and a bachelor of science (BS) from Florida A&M University. She is also a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) charterholder and a Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) charterholder.

Renae Griffin
GCM Grosvenor

Ms. Griffin focuses on expanding the firm’s small, emerging and diverse manager platform. She also serves on the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee. Prior to joining GCM Grosvenor, Ms. Griffin was CEO of RG + Associates, a consulting firm she founded that provided tools and resources for emerging and diverse asset managers, as well as institutional investors and government agencies seeking diverse business partners. The firm also sponsored the annual ConsortiumEAST and ConsortiumWEST conferences. Prior to RG + Associates, Ms. Griffin worked as a Marketing Director at Progress Investment Management Company, where she was responsible for investor relations, institutional investor marketing, and strategy for many of the largest public institutional investors in the country. Previously, Ms. Griffin worked at Capital Guardian Trust Company as a Marketing Associate working with senior portfolio managers and marketing executives. Ms. Griffin began her career in finance with Bankers Trust Company serving as an Associate to senior officers in the commercial lending group. She received her Bachelor of Science in Economics from the University of San Francisco. Ms. Griffin is a member of the National Association of Securities Professionals (NASP), Private Equity Women Investment Network (PEWIN), and the Real Estate Executive Council (REEC).

Jessica K. Hart

Jessica K. Hart joined Exelon Corporation as Vice President, Investment Strategy and Public Markets in July 2022. She leads asset allocation across all portfolios and manages fixed income and equity investments. 

Jessica joins Exelon from Northern Trust Asset Management where she lead Northern Trust’s Outsourced Chief Investment Officer (“OCIO”) Retirement Assets Practice advising corporate, public and multi-employer plans.  Jessica and her team served as an extension of an institutional investor’s staff, responsible for design, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of the client’s entire investment program.  She served on the Investment Oversight Committee and Investment Policy Committee.  Jessica was also actively involved in diversity initiatives in the Multi Manager Solutions business and lead the development of a manager diversity due diligence framework. During her 22 years at Northern Trust, Jessica held various leadership roles and brings with her extensive experience in asset allocation, liability driven investing, manager selection, due diligence, and portfolio construction.  Prior to joining Northern Trust, Jessica was a Consultant with the Financial and Commodities Risk Consulting group of Arthur Andersen LLP. 

Jessica has a B.S. in Economics from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and an MBA from New York University, Stern School of Business.

Shelly J. Heier, CFA, CAIA

Shelly Heier is President of Verus, a leading provider of institutional investment consulting and OCIO services with over $656 billion in assets under advisement.  Shelly is an integral part of Verus’ leadership, serving on the board of directors and management committee.  In addition to overseeing the broad investment division and consulting teams, she provides investment consulting services to a handful of clients, including foundations, university endowments, and hospitals.  She also serves as chair of the Verus alternative investments committee, which provides strategic guidance on research initiatives and vets investment manager recommendations.

Shelly spearheads the firm’s efforts around diversity, particularly through her leadership of the Verus-founded Institutional Investing Diversity Cooperative (IIDC).  The IIDC is a coalition of consulting firms working to promote greater diversity in the institutional asset management industry by advocating for access to data that captures every dimension of diversity.  The IIDC believes that diverse investment teams and viewpoints enhance investment decision-making.

Shelly serves as a trustee on the board of her alma mater, University of Puget Sound. She is also active in numerous civic and industry groups, including the CFA Institute, CFA Society of Seattle, CAIA Association, Western Pension & Benefit Conference, and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center’s Innovators Network.

Ellen Hung, CFA
State Universities Retirement System

Ellen has 30 years of experience in institutional investments with a proven track record of successfully managing pension fund assets.  She is recognized as an exceptional leader with excellent analytical, strategic planning and interpersonal skills.  Ellen is currently the Deputy CIO for State Universities Retirement system, a public pension system with an AUM of $25 billion.  Prior to joining SURS, Ellen held executive level positions in Santa Barbara, CA, San Jose, CA and Spokane, WA. 

Ellen is a CFA Charterholder and holds MBA and BS degrees from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Sandra Hurse
GCM Grosvenor 

Sandra Hurse is the firm’s Chief Human Resources Officer and is responsible for the development and execution of the firm people strategy and leads the firm’s real estate and facilities efforts. She also serves on the ESG & Impact Committee and the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee. Prior to joining GCM Grosvenor, Ms. Hurse held various positions at Bank of America, most recently serving as Global Head of Human Resources for Corporate and Investment Banking. Previously, Ms. Hurse also held leadership roles in Talent Management and Talent Acquisition at Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase. She received her Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance from Bernard M. Baruch College and her Master of Business Administration in Marketing from the University of Michigan. Ms. Hurse serves as a Corporate Board Member for the Harlem School of the Arts, the Council for Urban Professionals and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, where she is a member of the finance committee.

Stephanie Ivy-Sanford
Goldman Sachs Asset Management

Stephanie is a partner in the Client Solutions Group within Goldman Sachs Asset Management, serving as co-head of the Americas Institutional Client Business. She co-leads the team’s business development and client engagement strategy for pensions, healthcare, consultants and nonprofit clients in the US, Latin America and Canada. Previously, Stephanie was head of the Asset Management West Coast Institutional Client Business. She joined Goldman Sachs in 1997 in the Municipal Finance Investment Banking Group as an associate. Stephanie was named managing director in 2012 and partner in 2022.

Stephanie serves on the boards of the National Association of Securities Professionals, Southern California Chapter, Toigo, Junior Achievement SoCal and the Westside Neighborhood School. She also serves on the Advisory Board for Girls Who Invest.

Stephanie graduated from Wesleyan University, Phi Beta Kappa, and earned an MPP from Harvard University.

Rodney June
Los Angeles City Employees’ Retirement System

Rod has served LACERS since 1998 and has served as its CIO since 2012. Prior to being named CIO, he was CIO for the State of Hawaii Employees’ Retirement System (HIERS) from 2008 to 2012. Recent LACERS initiatives include expansion of its Private Equity and Private Credit Programs, enhancements to its Emerging Investment Manager Program, and implementation of an ESG Program that includes becoming a signatory to the Principles for Responsible Investment in 2019 and subsequent adoptions of a Responsible Investment Policy and ESG Risk Framework.  Other key initiatives include adoption of a market-sensitive asset allocation rebalancing approach and an opportunistic investment policy.  

Prior to joining LACERS, Rod worked in a variety of positions to include retail banking, management consulting, and public real estate finance with the City of Los Angeles, where he managed the City’s affordable housing grant funding operations, and later joined the City’s housing production team to develop multi-family housing for low and moderate income families.

Rod has spent many years working with local schools and colleges in southern California that promote academic, scholarship and career advancement by serving on non-profit boards and as founder of a non-profit organization he established to assist local college students with leadership development, professional mentoring, and financial assistance.  He currently leads LACERS’ diversity efforts by partnering with Girls Who Invest, Rock the Street Wall Street, and LACERS’ Investment Management Fellowship Program. 

Rod holds a B.S. in Business/Finance from California State University, Long Beach, where he was a member of Beta Gamma Sigma Business Honor Society, and an M.B.A. from the Raymond J. Harbert College of Business at Auburn University.  

 Jason Lamin
Lenox Park Solutions

Jason is Founder and CEO of Lenox Park Solutions, Inc. (“Lenox Park”), a Financial Technology firm that builds software solutions to democratize access to capital, while reducing inefficiencies and bias in how capital is allocated in the Asset Management industry. The firm’s clients include some of the largest institutional investors in the world, and its cloud-based collaborative platform, Round Tables TM, now has approximately $1 trillion in Investor Asset Under Management represented on the platform. In the asset management industry, Jason has been a forthright champion for greater inclusion and intentionality in creating visibility for women, people of color and other underrepresented groups.

Before transitioning Lenox Park into a technology firm in 2013, the company was founded as an Investment Consulting firm assisting some of the largest U.S. Institutional Investors in their asset allocation and asset manager due diligence across all asset classes, including Private Equity, Public Markets, Real Assets and Absolute Returns. Jason co-founded Lenox Park in 2009 with a former colleague after having launched their careers in Merrill Lynch’s Investment Banking division, focusing on M&A transactions in the Financial Institutions Group. Jason spent his career at Merrill Lynch working in their New York and London offices. In the 4 years he spent working in Merrill Lynch’s London office, Jason helped launch a start-up group focused on deepening the firm’s most valuable institutional client relationships across Europe & Africa.

Josh Lerner
Harvard Business School & Bella Research Group
Knight Foundation Report - Diversifying Investments

Josh Lerner is the Jacob H. Schiff Professor at Harvard Business School and Co-Director of the HBS Private Capital Project. Much of his research focuses on venture capital and private equity organizations. (This research is summarized in The Money of Invention, Patent Capital, and The Venture Capital Cycle.) He also has extensively examined innovation policy. (That research is discussed in the books The Architecture of Innovation, The Boulevard of Broken Dreams, The Comingled Code, and Innovation and Its Discontents.)

He co-directs the National Bureau of Economic Research’s Productivity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship Program and serves as co-editor of their publication, Entrepreneurship and Innovation Policy and the Economy. He founded and runs the Private Capital Research Institute, a nonprofit devoted to encouraging access to data and research, and has been a frequent leader of and participant in the World Economic Forum projects and events.

In the 1993-1994 academic year, he introduced an elective course for second-year MBAs. Over the past two decades, “Venture Capital and Private Equity” has consistently been one of the largest elective courses at Harvard Business School. (The course materials are collected in Venture Capital and Private Equity: A Casebook, now in its fifth edition, and the textbook Venture Capital, Private Equity, and the Financing of Entrepreneurship, whose second edition recently appeared.) He also established and teaches undergraduate and doctoral courses on entrepreneurship and teaches in a wide variety of executive courses relating to venture capital, private equity, and entrepreneurship.

He graduated from Yale College with a special divisional major. He worked for several years on issues concerning technological innovation and public policy at the Brookings Institution, for a public-private task force in Chicago, and on Capitol Hill. He then earned a Ph.D. from Harvard's Economics Department. He was recently recognized as the 37th most influential economist worldwide by For information on Josh’s compensated outside activities, please see

Jon Levin
GCM Grosvenor 

Mr. Levin is the firm’s President and is responsible for day-to-day management of the business. Mr. Levin is a member of the Private Equity, Real Estate and Infrastructure Investment Committee, the Infrastructure Advantage Investment Committee, and the Strategic Investments Investment Committee. Prior to joining GCM Grosvenor, Mr. Levin was the Treasurer and Head of Investor Relations at Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., where he was responsible for managing KKR’s balance sheet investments, engaging with public investors and industry analysts, and leading strategic projects. Prior to his role as Treasurer and Head of Investor Relations, Mr. Levin worked in KKR’s private equity business and focused on investments in the financial services industry. Mr. Levin began his career as an Analyst in the private equity group of Bear Stearns. He holds an A.B. in Economics from Harvard College and is a member of the board of directors of the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.

Rosa M. Limas
Segal Marco Advisors

Ms. Limas is a Vice President and Director in Segal Marco Advisors' Chicago office and has 30 years of institutional consulting experience. Ms. Limas manages custodian bank services for the firm and responsible for the due diligence of Defined Contribution (DC) and Defined Benefit consulting services, including providing research support for DC investment vehicles and provider evaluations.

Ms. Limas serves as Chair of Segal’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee, leading in the education, communication and implementation of our firm’s DEI initiatives. She is also a founding member of Segal Marco’s Committee of Diversity Investing, dedicated to the research, advocacy, and incorporation of small, emerging and minority-owned organizations in clients’ portfolios. In addition, she supports Segal Marco’s Corporate Governance Practice, leading corporate engagements on board diversity and informing the firm’s approach on proxy voting to promote diversity.

Ms. Limas has also been named a “2021 DEI Rising Star” by the Defined Contribution Institutional Investment Association.  Ms. Limas has made frequent speeches at industry conferences on DEI and custody topics, highlighting the importance of recognizing and utilizing available talent across the investment industry. She has been quoted in industry publications, including Chief Investment Officer and Fundfire on these topics. In addition, Ms. Limas co-authored a research paper entitled, “Disrupting the Status Quo.” Ms. Limas received her BS in Finance and Business Administration from DePaul University in Chicago.

Jason Malinowski, CFA
Seattle City Employees Retirement System

Jason Malinowski, CFA, is the Chief Investment Officer of the Seattle City Employees’ Retirement System. Prior to joining the City of Seattle in October 2014, he was a Managing Director at BlackRock, serving as the Head of Risk and Quantitative Analysis for alternative investments. His service with the firm began in 2003, including his years at Quellos Group LLC, a boutique firm specializing in alternative investments that was acquired by BlackRock in 2007. At Quellos, Jason was an Associate Director and Head of Quantitative Research. Jason received a BA in Economics and Mathematics from New York University and a MA in Policy Studies at the University of Washington, Bothell. Jason is currently a member of the Investment Committee for Seattle University and the Finance Committee for the Fred Hutch Cancer Center.

Renaye Manley
Service Employees International Union (SEIU)

Renaye Manley brings strategy, innovation and advocacy to the world of finance and pension funds infusing a lens of racial and gender equity. She currently serves as Deputy Director of the Service Employees International Strategic Initiatives department. In this position, she works with pension trustees, investment professionals and union leaders around the engagement of multi-billion-dollar union and public pensions funds, including corporate governance and shareholder work. She leads SEIU’s “Diversity & Dollars” work, which has led
to the adoption of the “Rooney Rule” at seventeen companies, including Facebook and Amazon. She previously served on the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s advisory board on Small Business, Agriculture and Labor. She previously served as the advocacy committee co -chair of the Council of Institutional Investors which convenes the largest groups of investors and asset owners in the United States. She currently serves on the board of the 30% Coalition, an investor coalition dedicated to gender and racial equity on corporate boards. Prior to her job at SEIU, Renaye worked for Interfaith Worker Justice, a community / labor collaboration, coordinating work with national unions and denominations on issues of workplace justice. She has a background as field organizer, working for years at the AFL-CIO where she focused on field campaigns on political and worker organizing. She is a graduate of Indiana University and has a MBA from Western Governors University.

Michael P. Manning, CFA, CAIA

Mike began his investment career in 1993 and joined NEPC in 1997.  Mike became President of NEPC, LLC in 2003 and Managing Partner in April 2011. During his time at NEPC, Mike has worked closely with a broad array of clients, covering all types that NEPC works with today, including Public, Healthcare, Private Wealth, Corporate, and Endowment/Foundation investment programs. Mike currently serves on NEPC’s Discretionary and Alternative Assets Committees. In addition, he is a frequent speaker at national industry conferences and seminars.

Prior to joining NEPC, Mike worked in a private debt management division of Prudential Insurance Company.  Prior to Prudential, Mike worked at Putnam Investments and Fidelity Investments.

Mike earned his M.B.A., with honors, from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business, with concentrations in Finance and Accounting.  He received his B.A. from the University of Notre Dame.  Mike is a member of the Boston Security Analyst Society and the CFA Institute.  Mike holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) designations.

Sylvester McClearn
New York State Common Retirement Fund

Sylvester McClearn (Sly) is the Interim Director for The Emerging Manager Program for the New York State Common Retirement Fund (NYSCRF). Sly coordinates the investment activities and interactions with emerging managers. Sly acts as an ambassador representing NYSCRF in the extensive network of emerging manager fund marketplace. He monitors the $9.5 billion portfolio of public and private assets across Equities, Fixed Income, Real Estate, Real Assets and Credit/Opportunistic asset classes.

Sly received both a B.S. and M.B.A. from Fordham University and is a Series 3, 7, and 24 licensed professional. Sly is a Trustee Fellow for Fordham University and an active member in industry associations such as the National Association of Security Professionals (NASP), National Organization of Investment Professionals (NOIP) and Security Traders Association (STANY).

Angela Miller-May
Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund

Angela Miller-May currently serves as the Chief Investment Officer for the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund, a $50.2 billion pension fund that services a membership of over 457,000 members and over 3,030 employers. She focuses on providing strategic portfolio construction, excellent manager selection and rigorous due diligence and provides leadership to a team of investment professionals in meeting IMRF’s investment goals. Ms. Miller-May joined Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund in August 2021.

Prior to serving as IMRF’s Chief Investment Officer, she served as the CIO for Chicago Teachers’ Pension Fund and in several progressively responsible positions since 2010 when she joined Chicago Teachers’ Pension Fund.

Ms. Miller-May serves on the First Women’s Bank (FWB) advisory board, on the Women Investment Professionals (WIP) Board, on the Toigo Advisory Board, as a member of Private Equity Women Investor Network (PEWIN), a member of the NASP Africa Institutional Investors Advisory Council, a member of SEO’s LP Advisory Council, a member of the NIRS Board and NCPERS CIO Summit Advisory Faculty, a member of Accelerate Investors CIO Council, on the St. Ignatius College Prep Board, on the Link Unlimited Board, as a member of The Economic Club of Chicago and engages with many other organizations.

Ms. Miller-May was honored with the Markets Group 2023 DEI Leadership Award, the National Association of Securities Professionals (NASP) 2022 Pacesetter Award, the Institutional Investor’s 2022 DEI Leadership Award, named as Trusted Insight’s 2022 Top Chief Investment Officers, the Women Investment Professional (WIP) 2020 Trailblazer Award “Distinguished Woman Investment Professional of the Year”, named as one of Institutional Investor’s 2020 Industry Voice Innovators, Crain’s 2019 most Notable Women in Finance, Institutional Investor’s 2019 Change Maker of the Year and has had the honor of testifying at a 2019 Congressional Hearing on the topic of Diversity and Inclusion.

Ms. Miller-May holds an MBA from Kellstadt Graduate School of Business at DePaul University and has earned her BA in Economics from Northwestern University.

Malik T. Murray
Ariel Investments 

Malik joined Ariel in 2004 and focuses on institutional business development and client services. Previously, he spent eight years with Bank One Brokerage, most recently serving as the lead broker on the European shift for its international exchange-traded products group. Outside of Ariel, Malik is a member of the board of trustees of DePaul University and St. Ignatius College Prep, and he serves on the school board of Ariel Community Academy. He is also a director for the National Association of Securities Professionals (NASP), the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce and a member of the DePaul University Department of Finance Advisory Board.

Heather H. Myers
Aon Investments

Heather joined Aon Investments, USA. in 2016 and is a Partner and the Non-Profit Solutions Leader. In her role, she is responsible for ensuring the firm’s clients and prospects remain informed of key issues impacting the market and have access to innovative solutions to help meet their objectives. Heather chairs’ Aon Investments’ U.S. Investment Committee, is a member of the U.S. Investment Management Committee, and a non-voting member of the U.S. Responsible Investment Committee.

Heather began in the financial industry in 1989 at Russell Investments working for Russell’s Japanese Consulting Business. Her experience at Russell includes manager research, investment management, and client service. She spent a decade researching fixed income and currency managers including in London as Head of Multi-Currency Fixed Income Research. She also was Senior Consultant for large sophisticated Foundation, Endowment and Retirement Funds and finally Managing Director as a leader for the non-profit practice. Heather has served on several investment committees. She served on the Whitman College Investment Committee for 12 years as well as several years on a healthcare investment committee and is currently on the John T. Gorman Foundation’s Investment Committee and Claremont McKenna College’s Investment Committee.

Heather is a frequent conference speaker and has authored many articles during her career. She has a B.A. in political science and a minor in Japanese studies from Whitman College. Heather also attended Doshisha University in Kyoto, Japan. Heather maintains a FINRA Registered Principal Series 24 License, as well as Series 7 and 63 Licenses.

Martin H. Nesbitt
The Vistria Group 

Mr. Nesbitt co-founded and serves as co-CEO of The Vistria Group, LLC, a Chicago-based investment company focused on the healthcare, knowledge & learning, and financial services.

Prior to Vistria, Mr. Nesbitt served as CEO of The Parking Spot, an owner and operator of off-airport parking facilities. Mr. Nesbitt conceptualized and co-founded The Parking Spot and was responsible for running all strategic and operating aspects of the company. In 2011, The Parking Spot was sold. Before launching The Parking Spot, Mr. Nesbitt was an officer of the Pritzker Realty Group, L.P., the real estate group primarily responsible for the Pritzker family business interests. Mr. Nesbitt also previously held the position as Equity Vice President and Investment Manager at LaSalle Partners (predecessor company to JLL, Inc.) with a variety of responsibilities including investment management for regional retail properties, office projects, and parking.

In his various leadership capacities, Mr. Nesbitt has been successful at guiding executive teams toward the achievement of goals established to maximize returns on his investments. Mr. Nesbitt’s approach to the off-airport parking business was heralded by industry insiders as extremely innovative and has been recognized in national publications like The New York Times, USA Today, Entrepreneur Magazine, and Fortune Small Business Magazine.

Mr. Nesbitt currently serves on the Board of Directors of American Airlines Group, CenterPoint Energy, and Chewy, Inc. He is a Trustee of Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art, a Trustee of Rush University Medical Center and serves as Chairman of the Barack Obama Foundation. Mr. Nesbitt was formally a Board Member of Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL, Inc.), Chairman of the Board of the Chicago Housing Authority and the Chicago 2016 Olympic Committee, and served as Treasurer of President Barack Obama’s 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns.

Mr. Nesbitt has a Masters of Business Administration degree from the University of Chicago and a Bachelor of Science degree and honorary doctorate from Albion College.

Angela Outlaw-Matheny
Crewcial Partners

Angela Outlaw-Matheny joined Crewcial Partners in July 2016.  She is an integral part of Crewcial’s research team and works closely with the CIO to ensure internal processes are efficient while overseeing the firm’s systematic process for identifying best ideas while sourcing diverse asset manager talent.  As a Co-Relationship Manager, she ensures client portfolios and advice reflect the firm’s best thinking and account for portfolio/client interests and issues.  Valuing human capital, focusing on internal diverse talent acquisition, building a training and development program, and advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion industry-wide are other areas of expertise.  Angela facilitates the constant communication and feedback loop between Crewcial and fund managers, assisting firm efforts to build a robust pipeline of this largely under-followed segment of the diverse manager marketplace.  Angela believes a combination of public, private, and philanthropic capital drives meaningful impact when coordinated towards a shared systemic goal.  Prior to joining Crewcial, she spent 23 years at a financial-services law firm, 13 of which as a legal assistant in the investment management group assisting with fund document creation, Blue Sky, and SEC filings; ten years were spent working with human resources in the training and development group with a special focus on diversity and inclusion.  Angela received her BA in Psychology from Bernard Baruch College and a Master of Public Affairs and Administration from the Metropolitan College of New York.  She also earned a Certificate in Human Resources Management from Villanova University, which included studies in diversity and inclusion.

Pamela Pavkov

Pamela Pavkov joined TPG on September 6th as a Partner and Managing Director in San Francisco with TPG NEXT.

Before joining TPG, Pamela Pavkov was a Partner at Jasper Ridge Partners where she focused on private equity investing and impact advisory services. Pamela started her career at Cambridge Associates.

Pamela is a member of the Wellesley Business Leadership Council and serves on the advisory board for Talking Points, a non-profit supporting the school engagement of under-resourced, multilingual families. Pamela earned a BA in English and Neuroscience from Wellesley College, an MA in English from Stanford University and an MBA and Certificate in Public Management from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. In her spare time, Pamela practices yoga and enjoys outdoor activities with her family.

Grant E. Podolski, CFA, CAIA 
Society of Chicago

Grant is a Client Strategist at LGIM America. He is a CFA charterholder, Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) charterholder, and holds a Series 3 license registered with the NFA. He is involved in the CFA Society of Chicago and Out in Finance.

Grant’s role and career has focused on large institutional client engagement and ensuring custom investment solutions successfully achieve clients’ long-term objectives. Alongside clients, Grant designs, implements, and ensures the success of these custom investment solutions for some of the largest asset owners in the world. He primarily focuses on investment grade fixed income and a variety of derivatives-based strategies, with a focus on liability driven investing, exposure management, and interest rate hedging.

Grant joined LGIM America in 2020. Prior to LGIM America, Grant spent seven years in various positions at NISA Investment Advisors in St. Louis, focusing on LDI portfolio management and derivatives solutions. Grant earned a BS in Business Administration from Saint Louis University.

Grant lives with his husband and goldendoodle in the South Loop area of Chicago.

Governor JB Pritzker
Governor of Illinois

Governor JB Pritzker was sworn in as the 43rd Governor of Illinois on Jan. 14, 2019. He was reelected with historic margins in 2022. Since taking office, he has accomplished one of the most ambitious and consequential policy agendas in state history.

The governor won bipartisan passage for Rebuild Illinois, the largest investment in state history to upgrade roads, bridges, rail, broadband, and schools. He overcame years of fiscal mismanagement in Illinois by proposing and passing a balanced budget every year, eliminating the state’s multi-billion dollar bill backlog, reducing the state’s pension liability, and achieving eight credit upgrades from rating agencies.

He took bold action to put state government back on the side of working families by raising the minimum wage, creating jobs, investing in early childhood education and making university education more affordable and community college free for middle class families.

In 2021, Governor Pritzker proposed and signed a comprehensive clean energy bill, making Illinois a national leader in climate action and the first state in the Midwest to pass a law phasing out fossil fuels to build a clean energy economy for the future.

Since the start of his second term, Governor Pritzker has prioritized community health and safety for every Illinoisan, including signing an assault weapons ban into law, protecting a woman’s right to choose, and supporting plans to provide paid leave to every worker in the state.

Before becoming governor, Pritzker founded 1871, the non-profit small business incubator in Chicago. Since its creation, Chicago has been named one of the top ten technology startup hubs in the world, and 1871 was named the best incubator in the world. As governor, he continues to expand support for new business creation throughout the state and cut taxes for hundreds of thousands of small businesses while incentivizing job creation. Since 2019, annual new business startups in Illinois have grown by nearly 70%. Illinois now has the largest growth in small business creation among the largest states in the nation, beating states like California, Texas, Florida and New York.

Governor Pritzker and his wife, MK, have been married for nearly 30 years, and they are the proud parents of daughter, Teddi, and son, Don.

Nadia M. Quarles
The University of Chicago

Nadia Quarles is a thought leader and visionary diversity, equity, and inclusion strategist with a bold vision and mission to advance opportunities for minority and women-owned businesses.  As the Assistant Vice President for Business Diversity at the University of Chicago, Nadia is responsible for implementing procedures throughout the University to increase contractual relationships with qualified minority and women-owned businesses, primarily within the professional services and goods and services industries. Nadia advises University leadership on effective strategies to partner with local and national business leaders, civic leaders, and elected officials to ensure that the University has access to the most diverse and innovative talent in the marketplace. 

Nadia has devised an extraordinary approach to diversify the University’s contract opportunities, by targeting the hiring of minority and women-owned firms within high-margin, wealth building professional services industries.  In 2009, she instituted a first-of-its-kind Professional Services Symposium designed to connect local and national MWBE’s within the communications, legal, human resources, money management, financial services, information technology and architecture/engineering industries to senior decision makers at the University.  As a result of the Symposium, over the past 15 years, UChicago’s spend has increased from $7M to $200M paid to more than 100 MWBE’s.  Nadia’s efforts influenced the historical hiring of first African American asset management firms to invest Endowment funds.  Her laser focus on diversifying UChicago’s Endowment managers has led to the hiring of 28 minority and women-owned asset management firms currently investing funds.  Similarly, over the past 8 years, Nadia’s efforts to diversity UChicago’s legal relationships have led to the hiring of 25 minority and women-owned law firms and partners.  The Symposium is viewed as a national model for which other educational institutions, corporations, foundations, and nonprofits seek to emulate.

Nadia serves on the Obama Foundation Inclusion Council, PAWS Chicago’s Development Board, and the City of Chicago Casino Advisory Council.  She is also a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Nadia is formerly a member of the YWCA Metropolitan Chicago Board and she also served on Former Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s Business, Neighborhood, and Economic Development Transition Committee. Nadia is a 2023 National Association of Securities Professionals (NASP Chicago) Trailblazing Women Honoree.  In 2022, Nadia was recognized by Crain’s Chicago Business as a Notable Black Executives in HR and DEI, and in 2021, as a Crain’s Notable Black Leader and Executive. Nadia is also a 2021 Chicago United Business Leader of Color. In 2019 Nadia received the Chicago Defender Women of Excellence Award.  Nadia has also been featured in Who’s Who in Black Chicago and was named to Diversity MBA Magazine’s top 100 Under 50 Diverse Executives & Emerging Leaders.

Previously, Nadia worked for the City of Chicago Department of Procurement Services, where she managed the City’s target market and professional service contracts.  She was also an adjunct professor at Northeastern Illinois University, where she taught courses in Criminal Justice Studies, and Race and the Law.  Nadia holds a Juris Doctorate from Mitchell Hamline School of Law and has several years of legal experience.  She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science and Public Policy from Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts.

Michelle Riffelmacher
En Trust Global

Michelle Riffelmacher is a Managing Director at EnTrust Global in business development working on the consultant relations team. She is responsible for developing and maintaining relationships with global, regional and local consultants in connection with EnTrust’s investment products.

Prior to joining EnTrust, Michelle was Vice President at Macquarie, where she worked in the Cash Equities division providing transition management solutions to plan sponsors.

Michelle joined Macquarie from Citigroup where she worked in a variety of sales and marketing roles within the Prime Brokerage and Agency Securities Lending businesses servicing hedge funds and asset owners. During her time at Citi, Michelle was recognized with the Institutional Clients Group (ICG) Corporate Citizenship Award for her work in recruiting and on the Employee Engagement Committee and was also accepted into and completed the ICG Diversity Leadership Program.

Prior to Citi, Michelle worked in sales and marketing at Wells Fargo in their securities lending business, and on the U.S. equity stock loan trading desk at State Street.

Michelle currently serves on the Leadership Council and the Advisory Board for the Resolution Project, a New York-based global non-profit that fosters youth leadership development through collaborative social entrepreneurship. She previously served as a "guide" (mentor) and guide leader to several different teams of students as they worked to launch their social ventures.

Michelle graduated with a B.A. in International Studies from Colby College where she served two terms on the Board of Visitors. She holds her Series 7 and Series 63 licenses.

Gina Sanchez
Los Angeles County Employees Retirement Association

Ms. Sanchez serves as a Trustee of the Board of Investments for the Los Angeles County Employee Retirement Association (LACERA), appointed by Supervisor Hilda Solis of the 1st District of Los Angeles County. She also serves as a member of the Board of Directors for Cedars Sinai Hospital as well as an Advisory Board Member to the UCLA Masters of Financial Engineering Program. Finally, she serves on the Investor Advisory Group to the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, a nonprofit corporation established by Congress to oversee the audits of public companies in order to protect investors.

In her day job, Ms. Sanchez is the Chief Executive Officer of Chantico Global, a global investment consultancy and the Chief Executive Officer of Chantico Technology, a VC backed investment technology spin-out.

Previously, Ms. Sanchez was the Director of Equity and Asset Allocation for Roubini Global Economics. Before that, Ms. Sanchez served as managing director of public investments at the California Endowment, a US$3 billion Los Angeles-based foundation and as director of public investments at the Ford Foundation, a US$10 billion New York-based foundation.

Prior to that, Ms. Sanchez served as a portfolio manager and strategist for eight years at American Century Investment Management in Mountain View, Calif. where she ran over $6.5 billion in AUM.

She is a contributor for CNBC and regular on The Exchange and Worldwide Exchange.  She holds a bachelor's degree in economics from Harvard University and a master's in international policy studies from Stanford University.

As part of her continuing education, she also holds certificates in Corporate Governance and Audit Committee Operation from Harvard Business School and in Impact Investing and Impact Measurement from the Oxford Said School of Business, Oxford University.

Reginald G. Sanders, CFA, CAIA
W.K. Kellogg Foundation

Reginald G. Sanders, CFA, CAIA is Managing Director of Absolute Return & Fixed Income for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, reporting to the Chief Investment Officer. Mr. Sanders also leads the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s diverse manager strategy and also sits on the Foundation’s Impact Investment Committee.

Prior to the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Mr. Sanders was Manager of Pension Investments for Eastman Kodak Company, where he was primarily responsible for managing the alternative asset classes, which included the hedge fund and illiquid investment programs, for the company’s U.S., U.K., and Canadian pension plans.  Prior to Eastman Kodak, Mr. Sanders was an equity research analyst for AEW Capital Management. Mr. Sanders also has prior equity research analyst experience with both T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc. and GW&K Investment Management.  Additionally, Mr. Sanders was a utilities industry analyst for A.G. Edwards & Sons, Inc.

Mr. Sanders holds a BS degree from Florida A&M University, where he was an SEO Career Program intern, and an MBA from Harvard Business School, where he was a Robert A. Toigo Fellow. Mr. Sanders currently sits on the State of Michigan Investment Board and on the Investment Advisory Committee of the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation. Mr. Sanders also sits on the board of Rock the Street, Wall Street, serves on the Limited Partner Advisory Council for SEO, is a founding steering committee member of IADEI (Institutional Allocators for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion), and serves on the CFA Institute’s D&I Steering Committee.

Reginald Scantlebury
Stern Brothers

Reginald Scantlebury “Reggie” joined Stern Brothers as Sr. Managing Director, Head of Equity Capital Markets, Institutional Sales. He oversees both domestic and international equity sales and trading and the pension fund services business for Stern. He has an extensive brokerage and investment banking background, and an investment acumen that includes experience of building capital markets business for various MWBE firms. Mr. Scantlebury is a seasoned investment professional who works with Fortune 500 corporations and some of the largest pension funds in the country and is responsible for working with clients on multiple market and investment strategies. He previously worked with IFS Securities and Blaylock Van, both as Managing Director of Capital Markets. Mr. Scantlebury is a past President of the National Association of Security Professionals, NY Chapter (NASP-NY) and served on their Board for 12 years.

Mr. Scantlebury studied business management and journalism at Temple University and completed the Tucks Business School MWBE Executive Program at Dartmouth College, Tuck School of Business. He played four seasons of professional football in the NFL, CFL, and USFL where he played wide receiver, running back and kick returner. He is a member of the National Eagle Scouts Association and has served as chair of the advancement committees and Scout Master for sixteen years in the neighborhood where he grew up, Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, NY. Mr. Scantlebury holds series 7, 24, 57, 63 and 79 licenses.

Neetika Singh

Neetika Singh, Managing Director, is Co-Head of BlackRock’s Global Consultant Relations Business and Head of Platform and Scaled Distribution for the Americas Institutional Business. In these roles, she leads business growth through teams that build partnerships with investment consultants, develop relationships with institutional clients and set strategy with BlackRock’s investment teams. Neetika also serves as Head of the Chicago office for BlackRock. She is a member of the firm's Global Operating Committee and the Global Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Steering Committee and also serves on the Americas Institutional Leadership Committee and the Americas Office Leadership Committee.

Prior to taking on her current roles, Neetika's responsibility was in leading BlackRock’s Consultant Relations business for North America with coverage for several investment consultant firm relationships, some of which she still maintains. Since joining BlackRock in 2002, Neetika has led various relationships while also assisting in the firm's marketing and new business development efforts. She has been based in both the New York and Chicago offices for the firm during this time.

Earlier in her career, Neetika was at The Rohatyn Group, an asset management firm focused on investments in the emerging markets, where she worked closely with the founding partners on the firm's business plan and financial model. Prior to this, Neetika worked within LabMorgan, the venture capital group within JP Morgan and began her career in the investment banking business at JP Morgan within Public Finance, working closely with corporate and healthcare clients.

Neetika serves as a member of the Chicago Chamber Board of Directors and the Chicago Children's Museum Board of Directors. She is also a member of the Women's Investment Professionals (WIP) organization in Chicago. Neetika earned a B.S. degree in Finance, with a concentration in Spanish, from Babson College.

Nimisha Srivastava, CAIA
North America, Willis Towers Watson (WTW)

Nimisha leads Investments for North America, a 200+ colleague business providing investment advice and discretionary management to asset owners (including corporate DC and DB pension plans, insurance companies, endowments and foundations) across the US and Canada. She is a member of the global leadership team within Investments and is responsible for the execution and oversight of the strategy in North America across clients, people and growth. Prior to this role, Nimisha oversaw Global Credit research within Investments, joining the firm in 2014, with prior experiences at the Universities Superannuation Scheme, one of the largest pension schemes in the U.K., Segal Rogerscasey, a US pension consulting firm and Deustche Bank, beginning her career in global markets.  

Nimisha graduated with honors from Carnegie Mellon University with a B.S. in mathematical sciences and holds an M.B.A. from the MIT Sloan School of Management. Nimisha also holds the Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst designation (CAIA).

Jamey Toland
The Boeing Company

Jamey Toland is the Managing Director of Liability-Hedging Assets within The Boeing Company’s Trust Investments group with responsibilities that include oversight of the fixed income portfolios across Boeing’s defined benefit and defined contribution plans. Jamey has held various roles on the team covering Risk Management, Global Equity, Hedge Funds and Investment Strategy.

Jamey received a Master of Science in Finance and a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance & Economics from Loyola University Chicago. He holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA®), Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA), and Certified Treasury Professional (CTP) designations. 

Tom Tull
Dallas Fire & Police Pension

Tom Tull, CFA, with 40+ years of investment experience in both private and public capital markets was the Chief Investment Officer at the Employees Retirement System of Texas (ERS) where he managed a $36 billion Trust.  While at ERS Mr. Tull has been involved with over 200 completed investment transactions totaling $13 billion encompassing private equity, private real estate, global credit, hedge funds and special situations.

Previously, he was a founding partner of Gulfstream Global Investors, Ltd., an SEC-registered investment adviser specializing in international equity management that was sold to West LB of Germany in January 2001.

Mr. Tull is the former Director - Employee Benefit Fund Investments for The LTV Corporation and also served as President of Western Reserve Capital Management, Inc., the pension asset management subsidiary of The LTV Corporation. In this capacity, he was responsible for the investment of a $1.2 billion retirement trust.

Prior to joining LTV in February 1983, Mr. Tull served for seven years as Director - Pension Investments of The Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Company. He managed an in-house pension fund, introduced international investing and other diversification policies and performed a variety of corporate duties including corporate acquisitions. His investment career began in 1971.

Mr. Tull received a B.S. in Finance from Ohio State University and an M.B.A. from Xavier University, and is a CFA® Charterholder. He also is a Board member and Advisory Board Member of a variety of organizations such as The Dallas CFA Society, The Long Center Endowment, and The Dallas Police & Fire Pension. Mr. Tull is a U.S. Army veteran with service time in both Korea and Vietnam.

Alex Wiggins, CFA
Rush University Medical Center

Alex Wiggins is Vice President & Chief Investment Officer with Rush University Medical Center, an academic medical center located in Chicago, Illinois, consistently recognized for its outstanding patient care, education, research and community partnerships.  As CIO, Alex leads an investment office responsible for management of the institution’s investment portfolios that include operating and insurance reserves, endowment fund and retirement plan assets totaling $4.4 billion.  In addition, he was recently appointed interim Treasurer overseeing capital financing, investor relations and corporate cash management.

Alex is as an adjunct professor in the Department of Health Systems Management program within the College of Health Sciences at Rush University.  He is a member of the Board of Regents and Investment Committee for the Mercy Home for Boys & Girls, a not-for-profit organization in Chicago helping children in need since 1887.  

Alex graduated from Indiana University with a BSB in Finance and earned his MBA with high honors from the University of Notre Dame.  He is a CFA Charterholder and a member of the CFA Society of Chicago.