Eminent thinkers discuss how women have shaken up and remade the financial services industry over the past 20 years and what progress and challenges may be expected in the coming decade.
Janet Raye Cowell
CEO, Girls Who Invest and a Corporate Director
North Carolina State Treasurer (2009-2016)
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A panel of state treasurers discuss developments for women in public finance.
Company directors, institutional investors and experts on corporate governance discuss developments with California’s recent law requiring women on company boards.
Studies indicate genders have differing views on risk management. How does this translate into portfolio management and stock-picking? How does gender affect sustainability in finance and the capital markets?
Leading public fund lawyers discuss the considerations about when to pursue litigation, the litigation process, and how the results can benefit proper functioning of the securities markets.
Samantha Begovich, JD, Esq.
Chairman, San Diego County Employees’ Retirement Association
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Yanis Varoufakis served as Minister of Finance of Greece in 2015. Mr. Varoufakis taught economics and econometrics at the University of Essex and the University of East Anglia. In 1988, he spent a year as a Fellow at the University of Cambridge. From 1989-2000, he taught as senior lecturer in economics at the Department of Economics of the University of Sydney, and in 2000, he accepted the offer to become Professor of Economic Theory at the University of Athens.
From 2004-2006, Mr. Varoufakis served as economic advisor to George Papandreou, then-Leader of the Opposition during 2004-2006. In 2012, Mr. Varoufakis became Economist-in-Residence at Valve Corporation. He researched the virtual economy on the Steam digital delivery platform, specifically looking at exchange rates and trade deficits. From 2013-2014, he taught at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin as a visiting professor.
On 25 January 2015, Mr. Varoufakis was appointed finance minister by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras after the election victory of Syriza in the parliamentary election. Mr. Varoufakis resigned as Finance Minister on 6 July 2015.
Mr. Varoufakis studied economics in the U.K., first at the University of Essex, and secondly mathematical statistics at the University of Birmingham. He has a Ph.D. in economics.
Mr. Varoufakis has written several books on game theory, microeconomics, and macroeconomics.
Ronan Farrow is an influential voice in government and media, helping traditional institutions address the frustrations – and tap the promise – of a new generation. Forbes magazine has twice named him one of the "30 Under 30" most influential people in law and policy, a contest he has gone on to judge. He recently won the world's most prestigious journalist award, the Pulitzer Prize, for his reporting on sexual harassment by Harvey Weinstein. In April he published a new book, the New York Times bestseller, War on Peace: The End of Diplomacy and the Decline of American Influence, which gives a unique insight into U.S. foreign policy, and what many describe as U.S. resignation in global leadership. In this book, Farrow interviews all of America's former living secretaries of state.
Mr. Farrow served as a State Department diplomat in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and reported to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as the United States' first special advisor for global youth during the Arab Spring revolutions. Mr. Farrow is a Yale Law School educated attorney and a member of the New York Bar, and attended Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar.
Samantha Begovich was re-elected twice as Chairman of the San Diego County Employees' Retirement Association, a $14 billion trust fund for over 48,000 County of San Diego members. She has been on the Board since 2014.
Ms. Begovich led an overhaul of SDCERA to create more alignment between the fund and its C-Suite through proactive hires and separations. She instilled a "No ATM" culture with external money managers by adopting a "First we win, then you win" fee structure. Her duties have included asset allocation, investment policy statement, personnel, benefits, actuarial assumptions, risk management, and outreach.
Ms. Begovich is an experienced trial lawyer, a former U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division federal prosecutor, and now a San Diego Deputy District Attorney. She has practiced in several California counties, Washington, DC, Charleston, SC, and Birmingham, AL.
Ms. Begovich currently argues cases before the California Court of Appeal and the California Supreme Court involving first-degree murder, sexual assault, and constitutional issues resulting in published decisions.
In November 2019, she was elected as one of four Directors out of a field of 17 to the San Diego County Bar Board to focus on professional excellence for nearly 10,000 law students, lawyers, and judges.
Ms. Begovich is a past Chair of the Stanford Law Society of San Diego, Co-Chair of the Burnham Center of Civic Engagement Leadership Council, Vice-Chair of the San Diego Foundation’s Leadership Fund, and Executive Board Member at Access Youth Academy.
Ms. Begovich received her B.A. (Political Science/Economics) from the University of California, San Diego, and her law degree from Stanford Law School with Distinction.
Janet Cowell is CEO of Girls Who Invest and a Corporate Director. She was North Carolina State Treasurer from 2009-2016.Girls Who Invest (GWI) is a non-profit with the mission of bringing more women into portfolio management and financial industry leadership. Ms. Cowell serves as the independent chair for IFM's Global Infrastructure Fund (~$25 bn) Investor Advisory Committee, and as a director on the boards of James River Group Insurance (NASDAQ: JRVR) and Channel Advisor (NYSE: ECOM).
Ms. Cowell held publicly elected office in North Carolina for 15 years, including eight as State Treasurer. The first woman elected Treasurer, she managed over $100 billion in assets, and health and retirement benefits, for over 900,000 members.
Ms. Cowell is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and earned her MBA and MA in International Studies from the Wharton School of Business and the Lauder Institute. She chairs the Executive Education Board of the Wharton School of Business.
Richard A. Bennett is President and CEO of ValueEdge Advisors, a firm he founded in summer 2014 to help institutional investors engage with their portfolio companies. From 2006 he was CEO and then Chairman of GMI Ratings and its predecessor, The Corporate Library, a globally recognized investment research firm specializing in corporate governance and ESG with offices in London, New York, San Diego and Portland, Maine. In August 2014, GMI Ratings was sold to MSCI.
He worked as Director of Corporate Governance for LENS, an institutional activist fund, from 1997 to 2002. He served from 2004 to 2016 as a non-executive director of Trucost, Plc, a U.K.-based firm offering products and services that allow companies, governments and fund managers to better understand their environmental performance. From 2009 to 2014, he served on the Board of Governors of the International Corporate Governance Network (ICGN), and currently serves on the ICGN Nominating Committee. He is an independent director of Biddeford Internet Corporation d/b/a GWI (an ISP and telecom business), Atlantic Trust (Maine) (a fiduciary trust company), and Quoddy Inc. (a footwear brand enterprise).
Mr. Bennett has an extensive background in politics and government service as well as a wide range of private sector experience. A former president of the Maine State Senate, Mr. Bennett served four terms in the Maine Senate and two terms in the state’s House of Representatives. From 2013 to 2017, he was Chairman of the Maine Republican Party and a member of the Republican National Committee. In 2014 he volunteered as a member of the MainePERS ESG Integration Task Force.
Directorship magazine has recognized Mr. Bennett six times in its annual list of the 100 "most influential people in corporate governance and the boardroom." In December 2010, he was named by Global Proxy Watch as one of the "10 people around the world who had the most impact on corporate governance in the previous year."
Mr. Bennett was a member of the board of trustees of Hebron Academy from 2010 to 2019. He was a member of the President's Commission on White House Fellowships from 2005 to 2009. He graduated with honors from Harvard College in 1986 and received his M.B.A. from the University of Southern Maine in 2000.