Diversity & Inclusion

“THE IMPORTANCE OF DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION IN THE ALTERNATIVE INVESTMENT INDUSTRY”

According to numerous studies, increased diversity in Alternative Investment organizations directly contributes to higher investment performance and overall profitability. In one recent study, conducted across eight countries, researchers found that not only was there a statistically significant relationship between diversity and investment returns in all countries examined, but that the more diverse firms generated 19% higher investment returns and 9% higher EBIT when controlling for all other conditions. 

Given these factors, how can Alternative Investment leaders attract and retain a more diverse workforce and promote a more inclusive workplace?

 
 
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Luis Valdich

Citi Ventures | Managing Director, Venture Investing

Panel perspective: Fin-Tech

Mr. Valdich joined Citi Ventures in late 2015 as a Managing Director responsible for its New York office and investing activities in Europe with an emphasis on Israel. Citi Ventures’ model delivers the “best of both worlds” combining value-added strategic investing with venture capital best practices by investing in high potential startups and driving engagement with Citi executives and clients. Mr. Valdich invests primarily in FinTech with a portfolio including Clarity Money (acquired by Goldman), Contguard, Freebird, HighRadius, HoneyBook, Octane Lending, PPRO, SecondMeasure ScaleFactor, and SmartAsset.

Prior to Citi, Mr. Valdich founded and ran JPMorgan Chase's Strategic Investments group for nearly 8 years and invested in 30+ companies including 6 IPOs: Square, Markit, Tradeweb (filed), BATS/ DirectEdge, Air Lease Corp, Solid Biosciences and multiple sales including LME, Source ETF, Chi-X Global, and clearXchange-now Zelle.

Previously Mr. Valdich worked as a consultant for McKinsey and a venture capital principal at Softbank. Mr. Valdich graduated with an MBA from Harvard University and a Bachelor of Arts from Franklin & Marshall College.

 
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Natalia Iljin: ‘06

Benefit Street Partners | Chief Operating Officer of Business Development

Panel perspective: Private Credit

Based in New York, Ms. Iljin works as the Chief Operating Officer for the Benefit Street Partners (BSP) Business Development platform with a focus on credit origination.

Prior to joining BSP in 2015, Ms. Iljin worked as a director in the Investment Banking division of Perella Weinberg Partners. Previously, Ms. Iljin worked for Barclays Capital in the Investment Management division focused on credit restructuring and the Investment Banking divisions focused on Real Estate, Gaming, and Lodging. Ms. Iljin began her career in Investment Banking with WR Hambrecht + Co.

 Ms. Iljin graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Economics from Cornell University.


 

 
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Chidozie Ugwumba: ‘15 (MBA)

Walton Enterprises | Co-Lead, Direct & Thematic Investments

Panel perspective: Family Office

Mr. Ugwumba is as an investment professional with over 10 years of global experience spanning private debt, private equity, real assets, impact investments, hedge funds, and publicly-traded equity and derivatives.

Currently, Mr. Ugwumba serves as the Co-Lead for Direct & Thematic Investments at Walton Enterprises, the family office that serves the descendants of Sam and Helen Walton. Prior to Walton Enterprises, Mr. Ugwumba was an Assistant Vice President at Partners Group, where he focused on private credit and impact investments. He previously worked on private equity and real assets at GCM Grosvenor, and on endowment and foundation investments at J.P. Morgan. Mr. Ugwumba is a co-founder of Hunting Hill Global Capital—an event-driven hedge fund—and started his investment career as an Analyst at Neuberger Berman.

Mr. Ugwumba earned his B.A. in Political Science from Amherst College, and an M.B.A. from Cornell University.


 

 
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Jennifer Tegan: ‘01(MBA)

Cayuga Venture Fund | Partner

Panel perspective: Venture Capital

Ms. Tegan works as a Partner for Cayuga Venture Fund (CVF), a venture capital firm focused on providing capital to New York startups. In her role, Ms. Tegan has invested in companies such as GiveGab, Intrinsiq, POM, True Gault, and VenueBook.

Prior to joining CVF, Ms. Tegan served in various senior roles advising and managing small, growing for-profit and nonprofit businesses including EMF Corporation, a small optical coating manufacturing company, and the Paleontological Research Institution, a science and research-based educational organization.

Ms. Tegan serves on the executive committee of the Upstate Capital Association of New York, an organization whose mission involves increasing access to capital for entrepreneurs and companies in Upstate NY.

Ms. Tegan graduated with Bachelor of Arts and Master of Science degrees in Geology from Smith College and the University of Cincinnati, respectively, as well as an M.B.A. from Cornell University.

 
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John Bonhomme: ‘07 (MBA)

J.P. Morgan | Managing Director

Panel perspective: Real Assets

Mr. Bonhomme works as a Managing Director for J.P. Morgan’s Global Strategic Markets group. Mr. Bonhomme is also the founder and Managing Partner of Thorobird Companies, Bonwick Capital Partners, BWB Companies and was Chief Operating Officer, Director and Strategic Advisor to Eagle National Bank.

Mr. Bonhomme began working on Wall Street with J.P. Morgan’s Leveraged Finance division. He was later hired by Goldman Sachs in the Investment Banking division and eventually transitioned to the fixed income division. Over the course of his career, Mr. Bonhomme has underwritten, closed and funded over $3 billion in private equity, private credit, and real asset transactions. Mr. Bonhomme is a federal licensed registered representative holding professional registrations of NASD Series 6, 7, 24, 63, 79 & 99.

Mr. Bonhomme has received numerous honors and awards including a Network Journal 40 Under 40 honoree in 2009, Robert Toigo 40 Under 40 honoree in 2013, Cornell University’s Wilbur Parker Distinguished Alumni Award in 2015 and J.P. Morgan Chase’s PowerNetworking Corporate Executive of the Year in 2017.

Mr. Bonhomme graduated Phi Beta Kappa, and magna cum laude, with a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and Religion from Colgate University and graduated with an M.B.A. from Cornell University, where he was a Robert Toigo & Management Leadership for Tomorrow fellow.

 

 
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Moderator: Lisa Skeete Tatum: ‘89

LandIt | Founder and CEO

Lisa Skeete Tatum is founder and CEO of Landit, a personalized career pathing technology to increase the success and engagement of women and diverse groups in the workplace. The platform offers a turn-key "one size fits one" solution that enables companies to attract, develop, and retain high-potential diverse talent. Previously, Lisa was a General Partner for over a decade with Cardinal Partners, a $350M+ early stage healthcare venture capital firm. Lisa also worked for Procter & Gamble, GE Capital, and founded her own consulting practice.

Lisa serves on numerous high growth, public, and non-profit boards including Surgical Care Affiliates (NASDAQ), Union Square Hospitality Group, Cornell University Board of Trustees, McCarter Theater, The Lawrenceville School, The Princeton Area Community Foundation, and the Harvard Business School Board of Dean’s Advisors. Lisa received her BS in chemical engineering from Cornell University and her MBA from Harvard Business School. She is a member of the Kauffman Fellows Class 4 and a 2012 Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute.

She has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Fast Company, Vanity Fair, Fortune, Inc., CNBC, BBC Business and named one of the Most Impressive Women Entrepreneurs by Inc. Landit was named one of the Top 10 Innovations That Made Women’s Lives Better by Fast Company.