CalSTRS Chief Operating Investment Officer Receives National Coalition of 100 Black Women’s 2016 Leadership in Business Award
Debra Smith lauded for her achievements in addressing gender inequality in business

News release Michelle Mussuto
Debra Smith

WEST SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The California State Teachers’ Retirement System announced today its Chief Operating Investment Officer Debra Smith, has been recognized as this year’s black woman in business leadership by the National Coalition of 100 Black Women’s Sacramento Chapter.

The 2016 Leadership in Business Award recognizes the accomplishments of black women in the financial investment services industry.

“There are very few people who look like me in investment and financial leadership. One of my goals is to work to help change that,” said Debra Smith. “I’m thankful for this award, and I accept it on behalf of every woman who is currently modeling the way and mentoring young women in their future career paths.”

The National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc. was founded in 1970 in New York City and now includes more than 63 chapters nationwide. Its membership includes a diverse group of women including physicians, attorneys, educators, journalists, accountants, municipal court judges, entrepreneurs, university administrators, corporate managers and vice presidents, artists, media personalities, labor leaders, public relations specialists, consultants, and elected officials. Honorees were celebrated on Saturday, November 19 at the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel in Sacramento.

“A diverse workforce motivates, inspires and eradicates group thinking.”

Debra Smith
Chief Operating Investment Officer

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“Debra is a respected, dynamic, and forward-thinking member of the CalSTRS Investments team, and I’m proud of her ability to move forward with bold, well-informed decisions,” said CalSTRS Chief Investment Officer Christopher J. Ailman. “She makes a powerful impression on people—young women especially—when they not only see the diversity in our staff, but also experience it firsthand with the vast array of thought leadership in people like Debra who they can emulate and look up to.”

Ms. Smith added, “I’m proud to support initiatives at CalSTRS that advance diversity in the investment industry.  A diverse workforce motivates, inspires and eradicates group thinking.”

About CalSTRS

The California State Teachers’ Retirement System, with a portfolio valued at $192.2 billion as of October 31, 2016, is the largest educator-only pension fund in the world. CalSTRS administers a hybrid retirement system, consisting of traditional defined benefit, cash balance and voluntary defined contribution plans. CalSTRS also provides disability and survivor benefits. CalSTRS serves California’s 896,000 public school educators and their families from the state’s 1,700 school districts, county offices of education and community college districts.

See how CalSTRS demonstrates its strong commitment to long-term corporate sustainability principles in its annual Global Reporting Initiative sustainability report: Fostering a Secure Future.

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