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.
Senior Vice President , Family Wealth Director
As a founding partner of The Rockefeller Center Group, Sallie Behnke is a Senior Vice President and Family Wealth Director at Morgan Stanley. Sallie moved from Merrill Lynch to the new firm in May 2009. She has been a Financial Advisor since 1999 and serves as a Relationship Manager designing and implementing wealth management strategies for clients including extensive financial modeling and asset allocation analyses.
She is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and earned her Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA) designation after attending the course of study at the Wharton School of Business. Sallie was recently named Dallas Business Journal 2015 40 Under 40. She is a board member of the HPA (Hyer Preschool Association) and Christ the King-St. Anne’s organization. She is a member of the Investment Management Consultants Association (IMCA), Texas Wall Street Women (TXWSW), and sits on the Finance Committee for The Dallas Women’s Foundation. Sallie has been named to D Magazine’s 2015 “Top Wealth Managers in Dallas” List as well as a 2014 Five Star Top Wealth Manager as featured in Texas Monthly Magazine and was recognized in 2015 as an Ambassador Club member as one of the top fundraisers for the Red Balloon Run & Ride, benefiting Children’s Hospital.
Prior to her career at Merrill Lynch, Sallie was a tax consultant at Ernst & Young in its Personal Financial Counseling Group, where she counseled clients on personal financial matters relating to investment asset allocation, executive compensation, and trust and estate planning.
Sallie graduated from Visitation Academy High School in St. Louis, Missouri. She received her BS in Accountancy from the University of Missouri-Columbia and her Masters degree in Accountancy from the University of Missouri School of Business. Sallie and her husband Jared currently reside in the Park Cities in Dallas. Sallie and Jared are active travelers and enjoy spending time with their sons, Will and Wynn.
Leah R. Bennett, CFA, CIC
Leah R. Bennett, CFA, has 25 years of experience in the investment industry and has held various C-suite roles over the past six years. Currently, she is a Vice-President of Westwood Trust. Previously, she was with South Texas Money management, where she was the Co-Chief Investment Officer. Prior to that, she served with King Investment Advisors, Inc., where she was a Managing Director and Chief Investment Officer as well as a member of the firm’s investment advisory group. She currently serves as the CFA Institute Presidents Council Representative for the Southwest and Central United States region, and is a former president and director of CFA Society Houston. Ms. Bennett is a co-founder the CFA Women in Investment Management initiative and a co-founder of the CFA Institute Global Research Challenge – Southwest. She received her BS in economics from Texas A&M 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.
Partner, Haynes and Boone, LLP
Vicki Martin-Odette is a partner in the Dallas office of Haynes and Boone, LLP. She regularly advises fund sponsors and institutional investors in connection with the formation of, and investment in, U.S. and foreign investment funds, including hedge funds, private equity funds, venture capital funds, energy funds, real estate funds, and fund of funds. At Haynes and Boone, LLP, Vicki is the Chair of the Business Transaction Department, Co-Chair of the Investment Fund Practice Group, a member of the Board of Directors and the Profit Improvement Partner.
Vicki received her B.A. from Texas A&M University, her J.D. from Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law, her LL.M. in International Law from Georgetown University Law Center and her LL.M. in Taxation from New York University School of Law.
Charla Parette, CPA
Tax Director, Deloitte Tax LLP Treasurer
Founder, Texas Wall Street Women
Charla Parette is a Tax Director in the Dallas office of Deloitte Tax LLP. She currently serves as the Lead Tax Director for her firm’s Dallas Investment Management Practice.
With over sixteen years of experience, Ms. Parette has served a wide variety of clients in the alternative investment industry, including hedge funds, fund of funds, private equity funds and venture capital funds. Ms. Parette provides a variety of services, including tax compliance and tax consulting and has managed numerous tax engagements and special projects for clients of all sizes.
Ms. Parette graduated from the William S. Spears School of Business, Oklahoma State University in July 1991 with a Master of Science degree in accounting and May 1990 with a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting. She is an active member of the Oklahoma State University Alumni Association.
Ms. Parette is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and is licensed to practice in Oklahoma and Texas. She is a member of the Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants and the Oklahoma Society of Certified Public Accountants. In addition, she is a member of Commercial Real Estate Women. She has served as a board member for the Margaret Hudson Program, a Tulsa United Way agency. She is an active participant in Junior Achievement in North Texas. She has been a leader in her firm’s Dallas United Way Campaign and an active participant at the Alexis de Tocqueville level.
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.
Co-creator of the Emerging Leaders Program (ELS)
Yorka Velasco-Caballero is a seasoned professional with an entrepreneurial spirit and a proven leader with over 22 years of experience in the areas of sales, marketing, and business development. She is currently a Key Account Manager with Keurig Dr Pepper where she is responsible in driving commercial contracts in the West Region targeting Fortune 1000 companies. In her previous roles at Avon Products and ACCO Brands, she lead high performing teams to best in sales, nationally. She was a two time winner of the President’s Award for Sales Excellence, a member of the Network of Executive Women, President Emeritus for Prospanica, winner of the San Antonio Business Journal’s 2012 Women in Leadership -Volunteer Leadership Award and under her leadership Prospanica San Antonio earned Chapter of the Year for Professional Development award 2017.
Because of her passion for diversity and inclusion, she was selected to Target’s Women in Leadership Training, making her one of the youngest women to participate in this elite training program. That same passion continued to drive her work at the advertising agency level where, she developed strategic Hispanic programs implemented nationally for brands such as Coca-Cola®, Hasbro® and AOL® Latino.
Yorka is an active member and action committee lead for Prospanica National. She designed, developed and implemented the first Women In Leadership Symposium for the San Antonio chapter. She is a role model for Hispanics Inspiring Students’ Performance & Achievement (HISPA). She has facilitated at various National Diversity Council events and keynoted for Young Women’s Leadership Symposium. She is the driving force behind the creation and development of Prospanica’s Emerging Leadership Series (ELS), ELS is a six-month leadership program that integrates a robust assessment process which includes strength based leadership, emotional intelligence and values clarification. She was recently selected to co-chair the Women and Girls Development Fund for the San Antonio Area Foundation and is an active steering committee member for the Latino Foundation.
Born in Oruro, Bolivia, she moved to the United States at 15 years of age. Yorka has a double major from the University of Kansas in Economics and Business and, a minor in Latin American Studies. She later obtained an MBA from the University of Incarnate Word,
She calls San Antonio her home, where she lives with her husband Sam and the loves of her life; Samuel and Isabella.