Tuesday Oct 25, 2022

Ep 6 – Rukaiyah Adams, Chief Investment Officer

Learn more about Jeffrey Pfeffer and where you can buy or listen to his books: https://JeffreyPfeffer.com/


Meet former Chief Investment Officer at Meyer Memorial Trust and board member of several organizations including Oregon Public Broadcasting (and former student of mine), Rukaiyah Adams. We discuss how she uses power to overcome career challenges and how the personal and professional intersect to affect career decisions and success.

Discussed in this episode:

  • Forging a career in finance after receiving her JD and MBA from Stanford Business School

  • How fewer than 2% of the trillions of dollars in managed assets are managed by women or people of color – and what rare breed this makes Rukaiyah

  • Being asked to run for mayor of Portland

  • Overcoming early career challenges

  • The advantage of operating differently from her peers

  • The value in understanding roles to acquire power

  • How not being perceived as a threat facilitated advancement

  • The non-linear trajectory when the personal and professional intersect

  • Her values of family, making space for love, and work feeding her spirit

  • What informed her decision to move from the East to the West Coast

  • Being open to what her spirit needs to open clarity in professional outcomes

  • Lessons learned in class that have propelled her to a position of prominence

  • Interrogating power

  • How power actually happens

  • The pressures of running a foundation and the importance of the team

  • Moving forward without certainty of the next step

  • Creating a platform to talk about ways American capitalism needs to evolve

  • The consideration of finding a partner who compliments and supports your career

  • The most significant business decision of any career

  • Seeing the residue of slavery everywhere in finance

  • Stepping from being an object in capitalism to a subject in control of capital


Through August 2022, Rukaiyah Adams was the Chief Investment Officer at Meyer Memorial Trust. Her team ensured the long-term financial strength of the organization. Throughout her tenure, Ms. Adams consistently delivered top quartile performance. In 2017, her team’s performance placed Meyer in the top 5% of foundation and endowment CIOs. The team remains among the best. Under her leadership, Meyer increased assets managed by diverse managers by more than 3x, to 40% of all assets under management, and by women managers by 10x, to 25% of AUM, proving that hiring diverse managers is not a concessionary practice.

Before joining Meyer, Ms. Adams ran the $6.5 billion capital markets fund at The Standard, then a publicly-traded company. At The Standard, she oversaw six trading desks that included several bond strategies, preferred equities, derivatives and other risk mitigation strategies.

Ms. Adams started her career as a mergers and acquisitions lawyer at Skadden, Arps, Slate Meagher and Flom.

Ms. Adams was a recent chair of the prestigious Oregon Investment Council, the board that manages approximately $100 billion of public pension and other assets for the State of Oregon.

Ms. Adams serves on the boards of directors of Albina Vision Trust, Self Enhancement Inc. Foundation, Oregon Public Broadcasting and Oregon Health and Science University Foundation, as well as on the investment committee of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. She also sits on Oregon’s Higher Education Coordinating Commission.

She has given two Ted talks. Her 2016 Ted talk — A Homegirl’s Guide to Being Powerful — about her path to becoming a more thoughtful investor and the role of investment capital in achieving social justice has more than 11,000 views.

Ms. Adams holds a Bachelor of Arts from Carleton College, a Juris Doctor from Stanford Law School, and a Masters of Business Administration from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.


Twitter: RukaiyahAdams
LinkedIn: Rukaiyah
Instagram: MissRukaiyah


Produced by the www.MunnAvenuePress.com


Comments (0)

To leave or reply to comments, please download free Podbean or

No Comments

Copyright 2022 All rights reserved.

Podcast Powered By Podbean

Version: 20240320