CalPERS executives urge industry to follow suit on diversity, equity and inclusion

Prior to joining CalPERS, Ms. Musicco was a partner at New York-based private equity outlet RedBird Capital Partners. Prior to RedBird, Ms. Musicco spent a year as Senior Managing Director, Head of Private Markets at C$73.7 billion ($56.7 billion) Investment Management Corp. of Ontario and spent 16 years at the C$242.5 billion Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan. , both in Toronto, leading the private equity and public equity investment teams.

While at Ontario Teachers, Ms. Musicco said that while most of her experience up to that point involved US private equity, she applied for a new job managing the Asia-Pacific private equity investments of the pension plan. She was named managing director for Asia-Pacific in September 2015 and moved her “two small children of hers to Hong Kong,” she said.

Mentors are also important, so much so that a woman may choose a job that does not provide additional compensation. Rather, she might choose a job that, for example, is run by someone she thinks could be a mentor to her, Frost said.

And mentors don’t have to be other women, according to speakers on another panel that examined how male sponsors and allies can help advance women’s advancement, moderated by Ms. D’Adamo.

A State Street Global Advisors25% of executives, including heads of cash and quant investments, are women, Cyrus Taraporevala, president and CEO, said on the panel.

“And we have miles to go before I fall asleep,” Taraporevala said.

SSGA is also moving to have a more inclusive group of providers, he said. SSGA spends billions with suppliers and the company is moving to do business with a more diverse group, Taraporevala said. For example, SSGA had traditionally used the big Wall Street banks for bond underwriting and other smaller companies would “pick up some crumbs,” she said. So SSGA began making minority-led firms the primary underwriters for bond issues, Taraporevala said. Currently, 50% of SSGA’s underwriting is held by minority companies. Managers must challenge the status quo, she said.

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Men can be allies if they stand by and support women in their organizations, she said. Mr. Taraporevala said he makes the positive assumption that men care that women don’t have the same opportunities to advance their careers, but simply don’t realize “what it means to walk in all their shoes”, referring to to the predominantly female audience at the conference.

Mr. Taraporevala said that even though she is not a woman, she could relate to what many of the speakers at the CalPERS conference had to say. He said that he is often “the only brown man in the room.”

And he said he sees diversity as broader than gender, race and sexual orientation. For example, the US Supreme Court lacks diversity because all the justices attended Ivy League schools, Taraporevala said.

Diversity also means including people with different life experiences and from different backgrounds, said Carin Taylor, director of diversity for Workday, who spoke on the same panel.