Sarah Samuels first fell in love with the investing industry when she began her career at Wellington Management Co. at the ground level. Soon after, she made it her goal to become an analyst.
Samuels went back to school to get her master’s in business administration and certified financial analyst designation. She has since worked her way up to the C-suite, and has now been with the Massachusetts Pension Reserves Investment Management Board (PRIM) for five years. Currently deputy chief investment officer, she is a member of the four-person executive team that runs the business, where she personally manages a pool of $40 billion in assets.
“Her leadership has been important to the impressive growth of the fund, which has consistently beaten its benchmarks,” said her nominator, Michael G. Trotsky, executive director and chief investment officer at PRIM.
“Being able to manage the fund on behalf of beneficiaries is very rewarding,” Samuels said. “The markets are always changing. It’s very intellectually stimulating.”
Samuels is on the advisory board of Girls Who Invest, serves in the Boston Security Analyst Society Mentorship Program and co-chaired the CFA Institute’s Alpha and Gender Diversity Conference. She is also a member of The Boston Club and has mentored interns through Treasurer Deborah B. Goldberg’s Women in Finance Fellowship program.
“We’re really trying to raise the awareness in our industry that we need more diversity. Something like 10 percent of the world’s capital is managed by women today,” she said. “Females are underrepresented in our industry, especially on the investment side. There are a lot of things that we can do to change that.”
Samuels said that the industry needs to start earlier to encourage diversity, by getting involved with middle-schoolers, or even preschoolers, to make “women and diverse people aware of our industry. Encourage them that they can do it, foster programs and keep them engaged,” she said. The implementation of diversity in STEM at a younger age is a model the industry could follow, Samuels said.
“Diversity of thought on any problem, on any issues, can only lead to improve the outcome.”
It’s a cause dear to her heart and one she is deeply committed to – “she forged her own path to become a leader in the field of finance, and she works to help others achieve similar success in their careers,” said Trotsky.
When asked what advice she gives younger women, Samuels said, “Be as intellectually curious as you can. Always be learning.”
She advised continued education, whether through individual courses, going back to school or earning certifications. Getting involved in projects also helps you learn, she said.
“I really encourage people to focus on the content as opposed to their title,” Samuels said. “I think one of the best things about the investment industry is that you can always be learning. You never know all there is to know.”