BlackRock’s Elizabeth Koehler and investor Nicsa win big at US Women in Asset Management Awards 2021

The winners stood out for their efforts in making the sector more inclusive via best practice collaboration and mentorship

A senior female leader at BlackRock was honoured for her inspirational work in the diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) space at last night’s US Women in Asset Management Awards 2021 (Women in Asset Management Awards USA).

Elizabeth Koehler, Managing Director at BlackRock, Advisor Insights, bagged the coveted Woman of the Year award for her empathetic leadership, mentorship, and sponsorship work for diverse talent and many other DEI efforts.

Investment manager Nicsa also walked away with an impressive accolade; the firm won the DEI Initiative of the Year award for their exceptional cross-industry work, which included sharing best practices to foster intersectional inclusion for underrepresented groups.

The judges had this to say about Koehler: “The woman of the year category has been hotly contested in this year’s nominations. However, one woman has been applauded for a host of powerful reasons which have made her the deserving winner in our judges’ eyes.

“2021’s Woman of the Year is both a fierce, strong, driven leader and an authentic, empathetic collaborator. Her ability to create safe spaces for open conversations has been a shining light this past year, motivating her team and giving herself the capacity to truly seek the best in others.

“On top of her day-to-day, she is a mentor, a sponsor for young Latinx & Black leaders, a creator of networks for women to build connections and wellbeing during the pandemic, and is an advocate that many women around her aspire to be. She is vehemently working towards a diverse and equitable financial services industry by platforming others’ voices ahead of her own.

“As it was beautifully worded in her nomination, ‘her deep care for others fosters a drive in her employees to work tirelessly for her and, in turn, she acts as a tireless advocate on their behalf.'”

The judges made these comments about Nicsa: “2021’s DEI Initiative of the Year has not only focused on the internal organisational change that’s needed, but has additionally had an immense impact across multiple firms in the industry, and in fact, cross-industry; with asset managers and service providers working collaboratively.

“It is truly intersectional in its objectives, acknowledging the differing inclusion needs of women, people of colour, the LGBTQ+ community, those with disabilities, and much more. This amazing initiative willingly shared best practices with thousands of recipients to truly and authentically improve diversity, equity, and inclusion across the board – as one of our judges has said: ‘All for one, one for all!'”

Sponsored by major industry organisations including Fidelity Investments, Goldman Sachs, and Mercer, this year’s awards, that followed the summit event the day before, had a judging panel that included esteemed female leaders such as Sarah Bratton Hughes, Head of Sustainability, North America, Schroders, and Naima Judge, Managing Director & Market Investment Executive, Bank of America Private Bank.

The live ceremony, which celebrated its third annual outing, also highlighted the work of other professionals and organisations from across the United States striving for more ethical and responsible investment decisions and promoting a more inclusive sector.

Read the full winners list in order below:

The Women in Asset Management 2021 winners were:

Advocate of the Year – Morgan Peck, Fidelity Investments

Systematic Leader – Kathryn Kaminski, AlphaSimplex Group, LLC

Index Leader – Mona Naqvi, S&P Dow Jones Indices

Next Generation Leader – Mona Naqvi, S&P Dow Jones Indices

Financial Inclusion and Engagement Leader – Kelly Lannan, Fidelity Investments

Bond Manager – Catherine Stienstra, Columbia Threadneedle Investments

Investment Consultant – Allison Fumai, Dechert LLP

Emerging Market Equities Leader – Di Chen, Fidelity Investments

ESG Investment Manager – Amy O’Brian, Nuveen, A TIAA Company

Global Equities Leader – Saira Malik, Nuveen

Employer of the Year – Fisher Investments

DEI Initiative – Diversity Project North America, Nicsa

Male Ally – Anton Pil, J.P. Morgan

Active US Equity Manager – Amy Zhang, Alger

Outstanding Contribution – Lisa Jones, Amundi Asset Management US

Woman of the Year – Elizabeth Koehler, BlackRock

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