15th Annual Emerging Manager & MWBE Conference

Comptroller DiNapoli speaking in front of a large audience in a convention hall.

15th Annual Emerging Manager & MWBE Conference

Success Through Partnerships

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

About the Conference

The 15th Annual Emerging Manager & MWBE Conference was an opportunity for attendees to connect with New York State Common Retirement Fund investment staff and partners. In a virtual environment, this year’s Conference continued to offer investment managers the opportunity to gain a better understanding of the Fund's investment process and manager selection.

Small breakout sessions allowed our staff and partners to establish new relationships with highly qualified MWBEs in the investment arena, and continue to build a pipeline of investments and service providers that enable the Fund to reap the benefits of diversity for members, retirees and beneficiaries of the New York State & Local Retirement System.

At the conference, attendees learned about:

  • The Fund’s selection and onboarding process of investment managers;
  • Current areas of the Fund’s investment focus; and
  • Common attributes of successfully on-boarded asset management operations.

Download the Conference Book (PDF)

Watch a Recording of the Conference

You're welcome to watch recorded sessions of the day's events. Note: Recordings are not available for the asset class breakout sessions.

A Look Back at 15 Years of the Emerging Manager Conference
Opening Remarks

 

Speaker


Grisel Davis

Grisel C. Davis
Conference Coordinator, New York State Common Retirement Fund

Grisel C. Davis has worked with Comptroller DiNapoli since 2001, both in the New York State Assembly and the New York State Comptroller’s Office, since 2007. She has coordinated the Emerging Manager Conference since its inception, and currently works in the Division of Pension Investments and Cash Management as a Senior Program Officer for the 529 College Savings and NY ABLE Programs.



 

Guest Speaker


Speaker


Tammy Jones

Tammy K. Jones
Co-Founder & CEO, Basis Investment Group, LLC

Tammy K. Jones has more than 20 years of experience in the commercial real estate industry. Throughout her entire career, Ms. Jones has invested in and loaned on CRE assets (with a focus on multifamily and office) on behalf of large pension funds and institutional investors, including Equitable Real Estate (largest pension fund advisor and investment management firm at the time), GMACCM and CWCapital. Ms. Jones is a seasoned veteran in CRE investments, capital markets, and structured finance.

Since 2009, Ms. Jones has served as both Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer of Basis Investment Group (Basis), a multi-strategy commercial real estate investment platform and lender that acquires and originates a variety of senior mortgage loans, preferred equity and joint venture equity positions on behalf of its investors. Under the leadership of Ms. Jones, Basis has succeeded in closing over $5.1 billion in multifamily and commercial real estate debt and equity related investments across the United States. Basis is a certified Minority and Woman owned Business and one of the only African American and female led diversified commercial real estate investment and lending platforms in the United States.

Ms. Jones currently serves as Chair of the Board of Veris Residential Inc., formerly Mack-Cali Realty Corporation and formerly served as Lead Independent Director since June 2020, is an Independent Director for Crown Castle International Corp., is the Chair of the Real Estate Executive Council, is a member of the President's Council of Cornell Women, is a member of the Executive Leadership Council, is on the Advisory Board for NYU’s Schack Institute of Real Estate and is the Vice-Chairman of Basis Impact Group Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to creating a pipeline of women and minorities in commercial real estate. In 2021, Savoy magazine recognized Ms. Jones among Savoy’s Most Influential Black Corporate Directors. Ms. Jones was also selected as one of Crain’s New York Business’ Notable Black Leaders and Executives of 2021, received the 2020 Cornell Baker Industry Leader Award, received the Council of Urban Professionals 2019 Finance Catalyst Award and was recognized as one of The Network Journal’s 25 Most Influential Black Women in Business in 2017.

Ms. Jones holds a BA in Economics from Cornell University and an MBA with a concentration in Real Estate Finance from the J. Mack Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University.

Keynote Address


Speaker


Thomas P. DiNapoli

Thomas P. DiNapoli
New York State Comptroller

Thomas P. DiNapoli is the 54th Comptroller of the State of New York. Since he became State Comptroller in 2007, his record has reflected an unwavering commitment to protect the people’s money, hold government accountable and build a better future for New Yorkers.

DiNapoli is the sole fiduciary of the New York State Common Retirement Fund, one of the largest public pension funds in the nation. His prudent management and focus on long-term, diversified investments steered the pension fund through difficult times and led to it being consistently ranked as one of the best funded retirement systems in the nation.

He has received widespread praise for his efforts to ensure corporations are accountable to shareholders and improve their performance by following sound Environmental, Social and Governance policies. His robust Corporate Governance program has helped increase diversity on corporate boards, ensured workplace protections against discrimination, addressed racial inequality and won greater inclusion of people with disabilities. He is a global leader among investors in addressing climate-related investment risks and has set 2040 as the pension fund’s target for achieving net zero carbon emissions.

Under his leadership, the pension fund has significantly expanded its Emerging Manager Program from $2.6 billion to more than $9 billion in assets with more than 130 managers. It is one of the few public pension funds to cover every major asset class in its program. The pension fund has approximately $27 billion invested or committed to MWBE firms, which represents approximately 22% of externally managed active mandates.

Celebrating 15 Years of Partnership
Roundtable Discussion with NYS Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli

 

Speakers


Afsaneh Mashayekhi-Beschloss

Afsaneh Mashayekhi Beschloss
Founder & Chief Executive Officer
RockCreek

Afsaneh Mashayekhi Beschloss is an economist and Founder and CEO of RockCreek. Previously, she was Managing Director and Partner at the Carlyle Group. She was Treasurer and Chief Investment Officer of the World Bank and worked at J.P. Morgan. Ms. Beschloss has advised governments, central banks, and regulatory agencies on global public policy and financial policy as well as
energy. She led the World Bank’s energy investments and policy work on areas including sustainable investing, renewable energy, power, and infrastructure to reduce carbon emissions and founded its Natural Gas Group as a transitional fuel.

Ms. Beschloss is Chair of PBS Foundation, and trustee of the Institute for Advanced Study, World
Resources Institute, Council on Foreign Relations, Global Alliance for Vaccines, Georgetown University, and Bretton Woods Committee.

She was recognized by Carnegie Corporation in their Great Immigrants, Great Americans 2020 list, received the Institutional Investor Lifetime Achievement Award and the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Ripple of Hope Award, and been listed among the “Most Powerful Women in Banking” by American Banker.

Ms. Beschloss holds an MPhil (Honors) in Economics from the University of Oxford, where she taught international trade and economic development. She is the co-author of The Economics of Natural Gas andauthor of numerous journal articles on energy, finance, renewable energy, and impact investing.

 


Deb Harmon

Deborah Harmon
Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer
Artemis Real Estate Partners

Deborah Harmon is an industry leader and entrepreneur with more than 30 years of experience in real estate. Ms. Harmon, along with Penny Pritzker, co-founded Artemis Real Estate Partners in 2009, a real estate investment firm that has raised $6 billion of institutional capital since its inception. Artemis invests across core, core plus, value add and opportunistic strategies, and across product types in the U.S., focused on middle-market transactions with best-in-class joint venture operating partners. Artemis also invests in niche product types, including a coreplus healthcare real estate fund. Artemis received the Diverse Practitioner’s Award in 2018 from the Office of the New York City Comptroller, and was recognized on Exelon’s 2020 Diversity & Inclusion Honor Roll.

Prior to co-founding Artemis, Ms. Harmon spent 17 years establishing and leading the principal investing business at J.E. Robert Companies, Inc., where she served as President and Chief Investment Officer from 1997–2007.

Ms. Harmon currently serves as Chairperson of the Pension Real Estate Association Foundation, as a keyleader and former trustee of the Urban Land Institute, and as a member of the Advisory Boards of Jasper Ridge Charitable Fund and of the BlackIvy Group. She also serves on the Board and Executive Committee for Women for Women International, the Board of Urban Alliance, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Ms. Harmon was previously appointed by President Obama to serve as a Commissioner for the White House Fellows program.

She was recognized in 2020 by Barron’s on its inaugural list of the 100 Most Influential Women in U.S. Finance, and was recognized by EY as an Entrepreneur of the Year® 2019 Mid-Atlantic Award winner and National Finalist. She was included in Real Estate Forum’s Women of Influence Hall of Fame in 2018.

Ms. Harmon earned a B.A. from The Johns Hopkins University and a M.B.A. from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

 


Tina Byles-Williams

Tina Byles Williams
Chief Executive Officer & Chief Investment Officer
Xponance

Tina Byles Williams is Chief Executive Officer, Chief Investment Officer and Founder of Xponance®, a $15 billion multiple strategy investment company which is one of the largest diverse and woman-owned investment firms in the United States. She founded FIS Group, the predecessor firm to Xponance®, 25 years ago and has over 36 years of investment experience. Tina is the Chief Investment Officer and Lead Portfolio Manager for the firm’s active global equity strategies. As Chief Investment Officer, she chairs the firm’s Investment Committee and oversees the firm’s fixed income and equity platforms. As lead portfolio manager for the firm’s active global equity multi-manager strategies, she oversees all investment strategy, manager search and disposition decisions. Tina is widely regarded as a trailblazer in the field of identifying and investing with talented entrepreneurial investment management firms, many of which are diverse and women-owned.

Tina served as Chief Investment Officer to the City of Philadelphia’s $2.5 billion Board of Pensions and Retirement. Prior to her work with the Board of Pensions and Retirement, Tina was the Investment Officer for the $300 million Philadelphia Gas Works Pension Fund.

Tina is a member of the Advisory Board for the Strategic Capital Group of Investcorp, a $38 billion global alternatives investment firm. She is a member of the Eisenhower Fellowships Board and serves on both its Executive Committee and its Investment Committee. Tina is a former board member of the Vantage Trust Company, a provider of 401 defined contribution and 457 deferred compensation retirement plans. She is also a former board member and Chairman of the Investment Committee for VTC’s parent company, the ICMA Retirement Corporation (ICMA-RC), a provider of retirement services with over $50 billion under management and administration. Tina is also a leader in her community and sits on the Center City District Board and previously sat on the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority, which oversees the City of Philadelphia’s financial plans. Between 2011 and 2015, she served as a board member and chaired the Research Committee of the National Women’s Business Council, a federal advisory council created to serve as an independent source of advice and counsel to the President, Congress and the U.S. Small Business Administration on economic issues of importance to women business owners.

Tina is the chairman and driving force behind Xponance’s philanthropic entity, A Good Measure Foundation, which provides financial literacy education to inner city youth and supports programs designed to empower impoverished or marginalized women or children in the United States and internationally.

Tina is a recipient of several industry awards and has been quoted and featured in several national and global finance publications such as the Wall Street Journal, Reuters, Institutional Investor, Bloomberg, Market Watch, Value Walk and Pensions and Investments. She has also appeared on various business programs, such as Bloomberg GO and CNBC’s Squawk Box.

Tina completed her undergraduate work at New York University where she graduated Magna Cum Laude and earned her Master’s degree in Public Policy with an emphasis in Finance from Harvard University.

Panel Discussion with CIO Anastasia Titarchuk

 

Speakers


Anastasia Titarchuk

Anastasia Titarchuk
Chief Investment Officer
New York State Common Retirement Fund

Anastasia Titarchuk is the Chief Investment Officer for the New York State Common Retirement Fund. Under the direction of State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, Ms. Titarchuk is responsible for developing and implementing investment strategies to ensure that the Fund remains one of the best-funded and best-managed public pension plans in the country. The Fund holds assets in trust for more than one million State and local government employees and pensioners.

Prior to Ms. Titarchuk’s appointment in August 2019, she had been Deputy CIO since February 2015. She joined the Fund in 2011. She started her career on Wall Street in 1998, working in a variety of leadership roles at Bank of America, Barclays Capital, Lehman Brothers and JP Morgan. Ms. Titarchuk has an extensive background in derivatives. Her experience spans both liquid and structured products across a variety of markets including equities and emerging markets.

Ms. Titarchuk was named as a 2015 Hedge Fund Rising Star by Institutional Investor Magazine. She graduated summa cum laude from Yale University with a B.S. in Applied Mathematics.

 


Tammy Jones

Tammy K. Jones
Co-Founder & CEO
Basis Investment Group, LLC

Tammy K. Jones has more than 20 years of experience in the commercial real estate industry. Throughout her entire career, Ms. Jones has invested in and loaned on CRE assets (with a focus on multifamily and office) on behalf of large pension funds and institutional investors, including Equitable Real Estate (largest pension fund advisor and investment management firm at the time), GMACCM and CWCapital. Ms. Jones is a seasoned veteran in CRE investments, capital markets, and structured finance.

Since 2009, Ms. Jones has served as both Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer of Basis Investment Group (Basis), a multi-strategy commercial real estate investment platform and lender that acquires and originates a variety of senior mortgage loans, preferred equity and joint venture equity positions on behalf of its investors. Under the leadership of Ms. Jones, Basis has succeeded in closing over $5.1 billion in multifamily and commercial real estate debt and equity related investments across the United States. Basis is a certified Minority and Woman owned Business and one of the only African American and female led diversified commercial real estate investment and lending platforms in the United States.

Ms. Jones currently serves as Chair of the Board of Veris Residential Inc., formerly Mack-Cali Realty Corporation and formerly served as Lead Independent Director since June 2020, is an Independent Director for Crown Castle International Corp., is the Chair of the Real Estate Executive Council, is a member of the President's Council of Cornell Women, is a member of the Executive Leadership Council, is on the Advisory Board for NYU’s Schack Institute of Real Estate and is the Vice-Chairman of Basis Impact Group Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to creating a pipeline of women and minorities in commercial real estate. In 2021, Savoy magazine recognized Ms. Jones among Savoy’s Most Influential Black Corporate Directors. Ms. Jones was also selected as one of Crain’s New York Business’ Notable Black Leaders and Executives of 2021, received the 2020 Cornell Baker Industry Leader Award, received the Council of Urban Professionals 2019 Finance Catalyst Award and was recognized as one of The Network Journal’s 25 Most Influential Black Women in Business in 2017.

Ms. Jones holds a BA in Economics from Cornell University and an MBA with a concentration in Real Estate Finance from the J. Mack Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University.

 


Mary Lisanti

Mary Lisanti
Founder & President
Lisanti Capital Growth

Mary Lisanti is a 40+ year veteran of small cap growth research and investing; she is the founder of Lisanti Capital. Mary spent the first twelve years of her career as a small cap analyst and strategist on Wall Street. Over her career, she has managed small cap portfolios at three premier asset management companies. In her most recent position prior to founding Lisanti Capital, as CIO of ING Investments, LLC, (1998-2003) she was responsible for building the active equity management team.

During her tenure there, assets under management in her area grew from several hundred million to several billion dollars. Prior to that, Mary was at Strong Capital Management as Senior Portfolio Manager for both the Small Cap Growth and Mid Cap Growth Strategies. From 1993-1996, Mary was Managing Director and Head of the Small/Mid Cap team at Bankers Trust Company. 

Mary was named Fund Manager of the Year in 1996 by Barron’s (fund managers were ranked by their respective fund category, by performance, and had to be managing their funds for at least two years. Additionally, volatility was factored in, with less volatile funds scoring higher than more volatile funds). Mary is also a member of the NYSSA. 

 


Monika Mantilla

Monika Mantilla
Founder & Chief Executive Officer
Altura Capital

Monika co-founded Altura Capital in 2005. Altura Capital is a diverse, results driven social impact investment firm, led by a team with 110+ years of collective experience in private equity, private debt, and company building. Altura’s purpose is to transform societies through entrepreneurial success. Altura specializes in the small and lower-middle markets with an emphasis on investments in low- andmoderate-income (LMI) businesses, and those with diverse ownership, with a focuson consumer products, business services, specialty manufacturing, and healthcare industries. Altura adds value to their portfolio companies and supports their growth by providing proven scaling up systems, and helping them develop preferred partnerships with leading corporations across America.

In her 30-plus year career, Monika has focused on offering significant returns to investors while delivering valuable economic impact to communities.

Altura is playing a pivotal role in developing an ecosystem of entrepreneurs, investors, advisors and corporations working together to harness opportunities. 

In 2010, she became the first Latina to ever receive the Hispanic Heritage Foundation Award in Business,
the highest honor for Latinos by Latinos.

Monika sits on the board of directors for companies including Cidrines, Coastal Painting, 9th Wonder, and is a board observer at Lippe Taylor. She also serves on the board of the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative (SLEI), where she teaches a capital seminar; the Hispanic Heritage Foundation; the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) and the USHCC Foundation, which she chairs; and serves as a Capital Advisor to the Billion Dollar Roundtable. She is a fellow member of the Aspen Latinos in Society program and the author of a chapter in the book “Advancing U.S. Latino Entrepreneurship.”

She has an MBA from Columbia Business School in New York and a J.D. from the Universidad del Rosario in Bogotá, Colombia. 

Monika is a trusted advisor to many CEOs, corporations and government agencies, through which she lives her deep belief in the power of collaboration to build stronger communities and companies.

 


Ellen Safir

Ellen Safir
Founder & Chief Investment Officer
New Century Advisors

Ellen Safir is Chief Investment Officer of New Century Advisors, a manager of fixed income and multi-asset portfolios with a focus on inflation sensitive strategies. She is responsible for the overall investment and business strategies of New Century Advisors. An early adopter of TIPS, she has helped advance the firm’s reputation as an expert in inflation-linked securities. Ellen’s personal expertise in the fixed income markets also extends to the emerging market and high-yield sectors, as well as to traditional fixed income sectors. Prior to founding the firm in 2002, Ms. Safir was Managing Director at Howard Hughes Medical Institute, one of the largest philanthropies in the US, with internal management of its $4.5 billion fixed income and currency program. There, she was a pioneer in developing “core plus,” now a commonly accepted strategy that employs a broad opportunity set within fixed income portfolios. Before joining HHMI, Ms. Safir was Assistant Treasurer of the American Red Cross and began her career as a financial analyst at the Federal Reserve Board of Governors.

Ms. Safir received a B.A. from Bennington College and an M.B.A. from George Washington University School of Business and Public Management. Ms. Safir holds the Chartered Financial Analyst designation. She serves as a Trustee of Bennington College and is chair of its Investment Committee. She is Vice-Chair of the Investment Committee of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum She served on the Board of Directors of AARP Mutual Funds and is a past President of the Washington Society of Investment Analysts and past President of the Washington Association of Money Managers. She chairs the Advisory Committee of Horizons Greater Washington, a non-profit academic and enrichment program serving
students from under-resourced communities in Washington, DC and Maryland.

Ms. Safir enjoys travelling to art exhibitions and fly fishing. She loves opera, reading, and cooking.

Closing Remarks

Emerging Manager Fund Team

Contact

For conference inquiries, email [email protected].