Ashley Baum, CFA, CPA
Investment Manager, Special Opportunities, Teacher Retirement System of Texas
Ashley Baum currently leads Special Opportunities, a multi-asset class tactical investment strategy for the $117.5 billion Teachers Retirement System of Texas. Previously, Ashley served for over 2 years as the Chief of Staff to the Chief Investment Officer. She joined Texas Teachers in 2007 as a Senior Investment Associate in Private Markets (Private Equity, Real Estate and Other Real Assets) where she was responsible for $2.6 billion in investments and managed a portfolio of $4 billion in commitments. Before joining TRS, Ashley was a Senior Associate in Transaction Services at PricewaterhouseCoopers providing merger and acquisition-related valuation and accounting advisory services. The University of Texas nominated Ashley for a prestigious post-graduate program at the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), where she started her career.
Ashley graduated from the University of Texas with a Masters in Accounting and a Bachelors in Business Honors and Accounting. She is a CFA Charterholder and a Certified Public Accountant. In 2010, she was awarded a John W. Koza Leadership Fellowship from the Pension Real Estate Association (PREA). Ashley currently serves on the Board of the CFA Society of Austin and is an active member of the Junior League of Austin.
Leah R. Bennett, CFA, CIC
CIO, King Investment Advisors, Inc
Leah R. Bennett serves as CIO for King Investment Advisors, Inc. She has been with KING fourteen years and has seventeen years of experience in the investment business. Leah, a CFA charterholder and a Chartered Investment Counselor, is a graduate of Texas A&M University with a B.S. in Economics. Before joining KING, Leah was a research analyst for Capital Research & Management in Los Angeles. As an analyst for KING, Leah has followed the healthcare and retail industries for the last ten years. She authors the firm’s quarterly portfolio analysis publication, KING Portfolio Review, and has been both author and contributing author of the DecisionMaker, KING’s quarterly commentary on the financial markets and the economic environment.
Her articles on the firm’s equity holdings are widely distributed to major brokerage firms within the industry. Leah is past-President and current Director of the CFA Society of Houston. She is a member of the CFA Institute and co-founder of the CFA Institute-Texas Investment Research Challenge, having formerly served as Chairman of the organization’s education committee. Leah serves on the M. A. Wright Fund Oversight Board, Jessie H. Jones Graduate School of Management, Rice University.
Christine Drusch, CFA
Chief Financial Officer and Chief Compliance Officer of Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. Securities, Inc.(retired)
Christine Drusch was responsible for broker/dealer financial operations, regulatory affairs, compliance, trading operations and human resources. Drusch was one of the founding partners of Pickering Energy Partners. She previously served as Managing Director and portfolio manager at Van Kampen, managing two mutual funds which invested in convertible securities and the utility sector which held a top quartile performance record. She began her career as a mutual fund accountant and quickly moved into investment analysis and portfolio management for the mutual fund group at American General. Drusch holds a BS in Accounting and Finance from Lehigh University. She earned the Chartered Financial Analyst designation in 1988.
Elizabeth Betsy Ewing
Partner & Head of Investor Relations, Carlson Capital, L.P.
Elizabeth joined Carlson Capital in 1997. Carlson is a $6.5 billion alternative asset management firm based in Dallas, Texas. Elizabeth is a Partner and Head of Investor Relations for Carlson. She is responsible for overall client servicing and client development activities for Carlson. In addition, Elizabeth is a Partner responsible for Carlson’s product development and involved with overall business strategy. She has additional responsibility for external public relations and marketing. Elizabeth is also a member of the Investment Decisions Committee. She currently is an Angel board member for Texas Wall Street Women and is involved with raising capital for various non-for-profit organizations in Texas. Elizabeth holds a B.A. degree from Texas Christian University.
Vice President, Business Development – Fidelity Family Office Services (FFOS)
Heather Gilker is vice president, Business Development for Fidelity Family Office Services (FFOS), a Fidelity Investments company and provider of custody, brokerage, investment and reporting services to family offices. Fidelity Investments is a leading provider of investment management, retirement planning, portfolio guidance, brokerage, benefits outsourcing and other financial products and services to more than 20 million individuals, institutions and financial intermediaries. She is responsible for leading FFOS’ Southwest region.
Prior to joining Fidelity Investments in her current role, Ms. Gilker was president of GSG Capital Advisors, LLC, a strategic consulting firm that provides due diligence and capital raising, infrastructure build-out and business development for alternatives managers. Previously during her career, Ms. Gilker served on the Investment Committees and acted as director of research for hedge fund-of-fund portfolios for Carlson Capital, L.P. and Rainbow Trading Corporation, in addition to serving on the Investment Committee for Ranger Advisors, L.P. She also founded and ran Opus Advisors, L.P., an early-to-middle stage information technology fund, and served as an equities analyst for Stockbridge Partners/Feshbach Brothers. She began her career at Bank of America.
Ms. Gilker received her undergraduate degree from Southern Methodist University. She is a member of AIMR and the Dallas Association of Investment Analysts, 100 Women in Hedge Funds and Texas Wall Street Women. She serves as Chairwoman of the Texas Hedge Fund Association and is also a Senior Advisor to Texas Wall Street Women. In addition, Ms Gilker serves on the Advisory Board of the Great Investors’ Best Ideas Foundation Investment Symposium, and is a member of the Governance Board of the Member to the Dallas Museum of Nature and Science, where she chairs the Investment Committee and serves on the Finance Committee.
Sharmila Chatterjee Kassam, Esq., CPA
Chief of Staff, Investments Division, Employees Retirement System of Texas
Sharmila is the Chief of Staff at the Employees Retirement System of Texas (ERS), a $25 billion public pension plan, working closely with the Chief Investment Officer and alongside all asset classes to develop internal best practices, analyze asset allocation, oversee external management and pursue new initiatives. She is a liaison between internal and external stakeholders working on policy and agency strategic initiatives, including the $2 billion Texa$aver Program, the state defined contribution plan. She served as an Assistant General Counsel at ERS for five years during the initial stages of its private equity program leading legal negotiations with multiple fund sponsors and later worked closely with the private real estate and hedge fund teams as they developed their programs.
Prior to her tenure at ERS, Sharmila was an associate at Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich and Rosati focused on securities, mergers/acquisitions and corporate governance. She worked at multiple start-up and technology companies in financial and operational roles prior to entering the legal profession. Sharmila began her career as an audit associate at Coopers & Lybrand (now PriceWaterhouseCoopers). Sharmila is a licensed CPA and is also licensed to practice law in California and Texas. Sharmila holds a BBA in accounting with honors and a JD from the University of Texas of Austin.
Executive Director, J.P. Morgan Prime Brokerage
Lori Lindley has 25 years of experience in the financial services industry. In June 2010, she re-joined J.P. Morgan as an Executive Director in Prime Brokerage Sales covering the Southeast region.
From 2007-2010, Lori worked for Banc of America Securities in Prime Brokerage (which was acquired by BNP Paribas in October 2008) with responsibility for Capital Introduction in the Southwest and West Coast regions. Prior to joining BNP Paribas, she spent 19 years at J.P. Morgan. During her tenure at J.P. Morgan, Lori had numerous responsibilities including being a Senior Vice President in the Funds Group – South Region, covering hedge funds and fund of funds.
Lori graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a B.B.A. in Finance. She resides in Dallas, Texas, and has been actively involved in the community for a number of years. Lori is a sustaining member of the Junior League of Dallas and serves on the Host Committee for the Great Investors’ Best Ideas Foundation Investment Symposium. Additionally, Lori is a member of 100 Women in Hedge Funds, Texas Hedge Fund Association and serves as a Texas Angel for Texas Wall Street Women.
Patricia B. Melcher
Managing Director, EIV Capital, LLC
Patti Melcher is the Managing Director of EIV Capital, LLC, a private equity firm focused on the energy industry. Ms. Melcher has over 26 years of experience as a private equity investor, consultant and investment banker. She began her energy finance career in 1986 as an investment banker with Simmons & Company International and then joined newly formed SCF Partners, a private equity fund focused on the oilfield service industry. In 1997, she founded Allegro Capital Management, Inc., to provide investment management and consulting services in the energy industry. She joined EIV upon its formation in 2009 to direct its private equity investment program. Ms. Melcher has also founded and operated companies outside of the energy industry, including The Joy School, a non-profit school for children with learning disabilities, and Go Appetít Foods, an innovative natural foods company. She serves as a director and audit chair of Hornbeck Offshore Services, Inc. (NYSE: HOS) and serves on boards of EIV Capital portfolio companies. She is also involved in the non-profit community, having served on the boards of The Children’s Museum of Houston, Family Services of Greater Houston, Harvard Business School Club of Houston and currently serves on the boards of Workshop Houston and Da Camera of Houston. She received an MBA from Harvard University and a BS in Systems Engineering from the University of Virginia.
Corina Scoggins, CPA
Lead Sector Manager, Teachers Retirement System of Texas
Corina Scoggins is a Senior Investment Manager on the Internal Public Market team of the Teacher Retirement System of Texas. Her position as the lead sector manager of Global Consumer Research builds on her prior role as the Portfolio Manager of the consumer staples and discretionary sectors on the US Large Cap Fund. A move to Austin at the end of 1998 led to her transition from the sell-side to sector fund management, first as a Portfolio Manager at the Texas Permanent School Fund.
Before moving to Austin, Corina worked in Kansas City at George K. Baum & Company, training first as an associate analyst. She left George K. Baum in 1998 as a Vice President in Equity Research and moved to Austin to marry a guitar player.
Corina has nearly 20 years of investment experience all in equity research and portfolio management. She graduated from the University of Kansas with a B.A. in French and Economics, and later studied for a Master’s of Arts at the University of Illinois-Springfield with an emphasis on environmental economics. Corina is a CFA charterholder.
Sara Seely, CFA
Principal, Equistar Wealth Management, LLC
As a Principal at Equistar Wealth Management, Sara provides investment management and comprehensive financial planning to busy professionals and their families. Before joining Equistar, Sara was a Senior Advisor at Durbin Bennett Peterson Private Wealth Management. Prior to DBP, Sara was a founding member of WaterStreet Investment Consultants, an institutional investment consulting firm managing over $2 billion. In addition to her position as Senior Investment Consultant, she was also Director of Research. Sara led the firm’s Investment Committee and was responsible for investment manager due diligence and capital markets research. Sara started in financial services as an analyst in the Institutional Consulting Group at Smith Barney, where she was named Divisional Analyst of the Year.
In 2005 Sara earned her Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) charter and has served on the Board of Directors of the CFA Society of Austin since 2006, including a term as President in 2012. She graduated summa cum laude from Texas Tech University with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance.
A native Texan, Sara has lived in Austin for over 11 years. She enjoys music, being outdoors, spending time with friends and family, and all of the incredible activities this great city has to offer. She and her husband Chad have two amazing daughters who keep their calendars full. Sara loves to cycle and tries to fit in time on her bike whenever she can.
Elizabeth Sexworth, CFA, CPA, CFP & CAIA
Chief Investment Officer, RGK Foundation
Beth Sexworth is the Chief Investment Officer at RGK Foundation with responsibility for finance and accounting. Prior to joining RGK Foundation, Beth held several senior positions including co-founder of Exeter Financial in Scottsdale, member of the Wealth Management Investment Committee at Friedman Billings Ramsey, and National Chief Investment Officer of JP Morgan Private Client Services. At Bank One Beth was Chief Investment Officer for Private Client Services, co-chair of the PCS Investment Committee, and co-chair of the PCS Derivatives Review Committee. During her 16 years at Andersen Beth was a Principal and Director of the PCS Resource Center, Chief Compliance Officer for Arthur Andersen Financial Advisers (AAFA), and a member of the AAFA Executive and Investment Committees.
Beth is an avid photographer and traveler. She leads photo workshops for the Nature Workshops in locations such as Mexico, Arizona, Oregon and Texas and is currently organizing a workshop in New Zealand.
Beth is a graduate of Baylor University and The University of Texas at Austin and is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Certified Financial Planner (CFP) and Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA). She lives in Austin, TX.
Natalie Jenkins Sorrell
Investment Officer, Employees Retirement System of the City of Dallas
Natalie is the Investment Officer for the $3 billion Employees’ Retirement Fund (EFR) of the City of Dallas. Natalie is responsible for the design and implementation of the overall investment strategy and policy for the Fund. Her career in finance began in the mergers & acquisitions group in investment banking at J.P. Morgan in New York City where she specialized in real estate and media transactions. She later joined GE Equity, GE Capital’s private equity arm based in Stamford, CT, focusing on $10 to $25 million investments in both the healthcare and finance sectors. After graduate school Natalie worked in both global strategy and finance director roles at publishers McGraw-Hill in New York City, and Voyager Expanded Learning based in Dallas, Texas.
She joined Dallas ERF in 2006 and has most recently spearheaded efforts to fulfill new private equity, private real estate, global equity, and master limited partnership (MLP) allocations of $600 million collectively.
Natalie was a selected as a German Marshall Fellow in 2009, and as the recipient of the 2011 Rising Star of Public Funds Award from Institutional Investor News. More recently she was selected as one of the Dallas Business Journal’s 40 Under Forty, and one of the highlighted 40 Under Forty Investment Officers in the March/April 2012 financial publication aiCIO. Natalie serves as Chair of the Investment Committee of Big Thought, a Dallas based non-profit organization focused on creative learning solutions for at-risk youth.
Natalie holds an M.B.A. from The Wharton School at The University of Pennsylvania where she was a Robert A. Toigo Fellow, and a B.A. with honors from Spelman College.