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Angela Miller-May, who has managed billions of dollars for public pensions throughout her career, recently shared advice with Insider about how the next generation of Black professionals can thrive during their own career ascent — and why saying yes isn’t always the answer.
Her advice comes during her own power move: Miller-May was just named the chief investment officer of the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund, where she’ll soon be responsible for a $54 billion investment portfolio and a 16-person investment team that partners with more than 100 asset management firms.
Miller-May, who currently serves as the CIO of the $13 billion Chicago Teachers’ Pension Fund, described the expectations that Black women in the industry face, and the burden those expectations place on individuals like herself.
She joined CTPF in 2010 before becoming CIO in 2017 and is one of 8 Black women in high-powered asset management roles who recently spoke with Insider about their careers. She will join IMRF in August, according to an announcement on Tuesday.
Throughout her career rise, Miller-May admits she has had to balance the benefits with the undue burden of exceeding others’ expectations, particularly as a Black woman in the white, male-dominated field of asset management.
“I wish that there was a time in my career when I felt that I had the right to say no,” Miller-May said in an interview with Insider. “My career has been about saying yes, because I was afraid to say no to any opportunity that came my way. I think that the fear comes from thinking that there won’t be another opportunity, as if you only get one shot to shine and that you need to take advantage of every opportunity.”
One one hand, saying yes has been “beneficial” for her, she said, but it also encapsulates “the exhausting story of having to do more, be more, or accomplish more, because you are a Black woman in an industry where, many times, you’re the only Black woman in the room,” Miller-May said.
“I would like to think that I’ve grown into a place in my career when I can say no, but habits are hard to break,” she added.
While at Chicago Teachers’, Miller-May grew the pension fund’s invested assets with money managers run by minorities, women, and people with disabilities to 46 percent from 33 percent, according to a CTPF statement.
Advice for young Black talent on finding the right workplace
Amid a deluge of companies promising that diversity and inclusion are at the forefront of their goals, Miller-May advises young Black professionals to “do your homework” to make sure they’re following through.
“Do they have a stated mission, a vision, or core values? Have they won awards that validate their culture in the industry? What does their employee turnover look like, from senior leaders to entry-level staff? Do they pose questions in your interview about how you deal with difficult people, challenging situations, or pressured environments several times and in several different ways? If you’re wondering whether something is going on, it probably …read more
Source:: Businessinsider – Finance
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