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Top Institutional Investing Rising Stars

It’s been a year of highs and lows, both in the investment realm and in the world at large. While no one could have foreseen the chaos and financial tumult unleashed by a global pandemic, investors are tasked with planning for contingencies such as these. Institutional investors who plan wisely and act decisively in times of crisis and market dislocation are prized by the institutions they serve. Likewise, investors who have thought outside the box, or whose research prepared them to take advantage of rapidly emerging trends, are rewarded for their diligence. As we near the end of 2020, Trusted Insight highlights some of institutional investment’s fastest rising stars.
Priti Mody is an investment manager at Vanderbilt University. She has 15 years of investing experience in private markets including venture capital, growth, buyouts, real estate and energy and spanning across primary and secondary funds, co-investments and directs. Previously, she was a secondary market advisor at Cogent Partners and an associate at Prudential Capital Group. Mrs. Mody holds an MBA from Kellogg School of Management and a BBA from the University of Texas. Show more
Rush Harvey is a director of investments at Texas A&M Foundation, where he has served since February 2018. Previously, he was a director of investments at the Kansas State University Foundation. Prior to that, he was vice president of Envestnet and a research analyst at MQ Capital. Harvey holds a master's degree in security analysis and portfolio management from Creighton University and a bachelor's degree from Oklahoma State University. Show more
Han Pham is the director, public equity at San Francisco Employees' Retirement System (SFERS). She manages the $9 billion public equity portfolio, which is ranked #1 in performance among public pensions for trailing 1, 3, and 5-year periods ending 6/30/2020. Previously, she was a principal at Makena Capital. Prior to that, she was a senior investment officer at the California HealthCare Foundation. Pham holds an MBA in finance from Northwestern University and a B.A. in economics from Wellesley College. Show more

Richard Chau

Interim Chief Investment Officer

Tulane University

Richard Chau is the interim chief investment officer at Tulane University, where he has served since 2013. Previously, he was a vice president in Bessemer Trust's Private Equity Funds Group in New York, where he helped manage a multi-billion dollar global private equity portfolio. Prior to Bessemer Trust, Richard spent over two years as an Investment Analyst at The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, focused on the private equity portfolio. His previous experience also includes investment banking in the mergers and acquisitions group at Houlihan Lokey. Earlier in his career, he spent three years as a Senior Consulting Associate at Cambridge Associates in Boston. Richard has a B.A. in Economics and Chinese from Williams College and an MBA from Columbia Business School. Show more

Peng Wang

Managing Director of Investments

Group Health Foundation

Peng Wang is a managing director of investments at Group Health Foundation, which he joined in 2019 following four years as Head of Portfolio Research at TIAA Endowments. Prior to TIAA, Wang performed risk management for The University of Virginia Investment Management Company (UVIMCO). He began his career as an investment analyst at Georgetown University after receiving his Master’s degree in physics there. Wang is a chartered financial analyst and holds dual undergraduate degrees in economics and physics from Peking University. Show more
Gbenga Oladeji is the managing director of private markets at Johnson & Johnson Benefit Trust Plan. He is responsible for designing the initial investment strategy and overseeing the Private Markets program for the defined benefit plan assets. Previously, he was an investment director at the Casey Family Programs. Prior to that, he was vice president at J.P. Morgan and an investment manager at William Penn Foundation. Oladeji holds an M.A. from Brandeis International Business School and a B.S. from the University of Ibadan. Show more

Rob Rahbari

Senior Investment Officer and Assistant Treasurer

University of Rochester

Rob Rahbari is a senior investment officer and assistant treasurer at the University of Rochester, which he joined in 2013.  Previously, he was a Vice President in the Private Bank at J.P. Morgan, a Managing Director at RAS Capital Management, and a Director at Ferro Capital.  Prior to these roles, Rob was an Associate Attorney in the Investment Management groups of Skadden, Arps and Weil Gotshal.  He serves on the Investment Committees of the Strong Museum and Clark University (2017-2020).  Rob holds a JD from the University of Chicago Law School and a B.A. in Economics from the University of Michigan. Show more
Craig Robbins is a director of investments Children's Hospitals Minnesota, where he has held numerous positions over the course of eight years. He holds an MBA from the University of Minnesota and a BA from Carleton College. Show more
Kris Chikelue is the interim chief investment officer at Memorial Hermann Health System. He joined Memorial Hermann in 2013 and previously held the title of senior director of investments. Prior to that, Chikelue served as strategy head at Crestline Investors, Inc., and as an analyst for Ranger Advisors. He holds an MBA from Harvard University and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Rice University. Show more
Shelly Tilaye is a senior investment analyst at Los Angeles County Employees’ Retirement Association, where she has held several positions since joining in 1998. Before LACERA, Tilaye was a senior research analyst at Farmers Insurance Group. Tilaye holds an MBA from Cal State Northridge and earned her bachelor’s degree and Master’s in management from the University of Mumbai. She is a Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA). Show more
Steven Kaell is a director of investments at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center where he works across marketable and non-marketable investments. Prior to joining Sloan Kettering in 2014 as an Investment Associate, Kaell spent seven years at Landmark Advisors, LLC, where he was an analyst and later became Director of Research. [Earlier in his career, he worked in education teaching mathematics.] Kaell is a chartered financial analyst (CFA) and holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Brown University. Show more
Meera Patel is a director of private investments at Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Previously, she was a partner and portfolio manager at Brown Advisory. Prior to that, she was a manager of investments at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Patel holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a B.A. from Duke University. Show more
Hailey Liu is an investment director at the University of Southern California. She joined USC in 2015 and helps manage the endowment’s global equity and real estate portfolios. Ms. Liu was previously a vice president at J.P. Morgan Chase where she focused on hedge fund and fixed income strategies within the firm’s defined benefit pension plan. She is a chartered financial analyst (CFA) and holds a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and an MBA from USC. Show more
Ryan Karaian is an investment director at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. Before joining Children’s, Mr. Karaian was a Senior Director of Private Equity at PSP Investments in Montreal and held various investment positions at the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority in Abu Dhabi and Bank of America (including a spin-off) in Charlotte and San Francisco.  Altogether, he brings nearly two decades of experience to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. In addition, he holds an MBA from UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School and a bachelor's degree (double major in finance and accounting) from Washington University in St. Louis. Show more
James Wahls is Portfolio Manager at the Annie E. Casey Foundation, which he joined in 2016. Before the Casey Foundation, he was an impact investing manager for the W. K. Kellogg Foundation. Wahls holds a JD and a bachelor’s in history from the University of Michigan. Show more
Vanessa Morris is an investment officer at California State Teachers' Retirement System (CalSTRS). Previously, she was an investment officer at the California Public Employees' Retirement System. Prior to that, she was a private equity analyst at LP Capital Advisors. Morris holds a B.S. degree from California State University and attended the University of Nicosia. She also holds the Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst designation. Show more
Bryan Bencomo is an investment director at GHR Foundation, a position he assumed in June 2020. Before joining GHR, he served for seven years as an investment analyst and portfolio manager for Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies. He began his career as an analyst for Allstate. Bencomo is a CFA charterholder and earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania. Show more

Tim Griffeth

Director of Investments

Carleton College

Tim Griffeth is a director of investments at Carleton College, which he joined in January 2019. Prior to joining Carleton, Griffeth spent 11 years as an investment officer at Johns Hopkins University. Griffeth started his career with 5 years in banking as a credit analyst and commercial loan officer. He is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Miami University with a major in finance and minors in economics and international business. Show more

K.C. Howell

Managing Director, Private Markets

Virginia Retirement System

K.C. Howell is a managing director of private markets at Virginia Retirement System. Howell has held several different positions over more than two decades. Howell began his finance career at Crestar Asset Management Company, formerly Capitoline. Howell is a chartered financial analyst (CFA), holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from Christopher Newport University, and earned an MBA from the College of William and Mary. Show more

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