UNCF Hosting Summit to Increase Number of African Americans in Asset Management

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Monique LeNoir UNCF Communications 202.810.0231 monique.lenoir@uncf.org

Virtual summit to feature a keynote fireside chat session moderated by Dr. Mary Schmidt Campbell, president, Spelman College, with panelists Thasunda Brown Duckett, president and chief executive officer, TIAA, and Ryan Williams, co-founder and chief executive officer, Cadre

UNCF will host a virtual summit for college students of color interested in asset management from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. (ET) on Saturday, Nov. 6. The digital event is part of UNCF’s new Lighted Pathways Program, a pilot effort with a goal of increasing the number of African Americans in the asset management industry.

Keon Holmes, CFA, managing director, Cambridge Associates, co-chair for UNCF New England’s Leadership Council said, “African Americans make up less than 2 percent of all Asset Management roles in our country. We need to do better. We will never eliminate the wealth gap for African Americans unless we have more professionals in the industry that can positively impact their communities.”

Earlier this year, in partnership with the CFA Society of Boston and nearly 30 investment management firms in Massachusetts, UNCF launched its Lighted Pathways initiative to identify African American students interested in asset management as a career path and help provide them with insight into the industry by connecting them with prominent Black leaders in this sector.

The new Lighted Pathways Program began with a “Summer Series” of informational classes in July and August for students to learn more about the industry and the importance of asset management in everyday life. More than 500 students enrolled in the program with an incentive of receiving one of 37 $5,000 scholarships to be awarded or one of 30 paid internships with the additional coverage for travel and housing in Boston for the summer of 2022.

Kezia Williams, interim director, UNCF’s Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, which is giving leadership to this initiative, said, “young people will be what they see. For that reason, it is imperative that they see professionals who look like them in a variety of industries including Asset Management. By elevating Black leaders in this industry, this program will light pathways for future wealth creators in this field and in their communities.”

The Nov. 6 virtual summit will include a keynote fireside chat, “Shining a Lighted Pathway for Others,” to be moderated by Dr. Mary Schmidt Campbell, president, Spelman College. Scheduled panelists for the fireside chat are Thasunda Brown Duckett, president and chief executive officer, TIAA, and Ryan Williams, co-founder and chief executive officer, Cadre.

Register for the summit

Other panel sessions will include a discussion on “Closing the Wealth Gap for African Americans” led by M. Lee Pelton, president and chief executive officer, The Boston Foundation, with panelists Adeyemi Ajao, managing partner, Base10 Partners; Marcelia Freeman, investor relations and product management, Clearlake Capital Group; and Malcolm Robinson, executive director, Black Venture Capital Consortium.

Kofi Jones, senior director of corporate communications, Cambridge Associates, will lead a conversation on “The Disruption and Democratization of Asset Management” with panelists Greg Shell, Managing Director, Bain, and Jamison Hill, Partner, Base10.

Megan Holston Alexander, partner, Andreesen Horowitz, will also sit down with Dr. George T. French, president, Clark Atlanta University, to discuss HBCU pathways to success.

Justin Bullion, CFA, managing director, Payden & Rygel and co-chair for UNCF New England’s Leadership Council said, “it was only fitting that Boston serve as the first city for this pilot program. Massachusetts is home to so many of our nation’s leading asset managers. Our hope is to be able to scale this program to bring it to other cities, like Chicago, New York, and San Francisco, in the near future.”

Sponsors for UNCF’s Lighted Pathways Program include presenting sponsors, Adage Capital Management, L.P., Fidelity and Wellington Management; champion sponsors, Abry Partners, Morgan Stanley/Eaton Vance and State Street; corporate partners, Breckinridge Capital Advisors, Cambridge Associates, Citizens Bank, Forester Capital, GMO, Income Research + Management, JLL, JP Morgan Chase, Payden & Rygel, RBC Global Asset Management and Sentinel Dome Partners; and corporate supporters, Acadian Asset Management, Boston Trust Walden, Cambridge Trust, CIBC Wealth Management, Eastern Bank, Geode Capital, Loomis, Sayles & Company, MFS Investment Management, MIT Investment Management, Prime Buchholz, LLC, and Westfield Capital Management, LP.

Ron Walker, interim area development director, UNCF, and former Secretary of Labor for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, said, “We’re grateful to have the support of Gov. Baker, Lt. Gov. Polito and so many of our nation’s leading asset management firms on this heroic endeavor. We are confident that if we provide a curated pathway for more African American students to enter the industry, in turn these students will be beacons of light for others to follow them into the industry or consider Massachusetts as a place to live, work and thrive.”

To learn more about UNCF’s Lighted Pathways Virtual Summit or Program please contact Diego Aviles at 347.582.5034 or diego.aviles@UNCF.org.


About UNCF
UNCF (United Negro College Fund) is the nation’s largest and most effective minority education organization. To serve youth, the community and the nation, UNCF supports students’ education and development through scholarships and other programs, supports and strengthens its 37 member colleges and universities, and advocates for the importance of minority education and college readiness. UNCF institutions and other historically Black colleges and universities are highly effective, awarding nearly 20% of African American baccalaureate degrees. UNCF administers more than 400 programs, including scholarship, internship and fellowship, mentoring, summer enrichment, and curriculum and faculty development programs. Today, UNCF supports more than 60,000 students at over 1,100 colleges and universities across the country. Its logo features the UNCF torch of leadership in education and its widely recognized trademark, A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”® Learn more at UNCF.org or for continuous updates and news, follow UNCF on Twitter at @UNCF.