Rukaiyah Adams - Chief investment officer, Meyer Memorial Trust
Rukaiyah Adams is the Chief Investment Officer at Meyer Memorial Trust, one of the largest charitable foundations in the Pacific Northwest. She is responsible for leading all investment activities to ensure the long-term financial strength of the organization. Throughout her tenure as CIO, Ms. Adams has delivered top quartile performance; and beginning in 2017, her team hit its stride delivering an 18.6% annual return, which placed her in top 5% of foundation and endowment CIOs. Under the leadership of Ms. Adams, Meyer increased assets managed by diverse managers by more than 3x, to 40% of all assets under management, and 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, 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 is the 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. During her tenure as chair, the Oregon state pension fund has been the top-performing public pension fund in the United States. The top-of-class performance was made possible by a series of strategic changes, overseen by Ms. Adams, that boosted returns and decreased risk.
Ms. Adams serves on the boards of directors of the Albina Vision Trust, the Self Enhancement, Inc. Foundation and Oregon Public Broadcasting, where she also serves on the investment committee. She has engaged in pro bono legal work on behalf of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights, the Homeless Prenatal Program in San Francisco, and the Children’s Defense Fund. 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 10,000 views.
Ms. Adams holds a BA with academic distinction from Carleton College, a Juris Doctorate from Stanford Law School, where she was on the Law and Policy Review and the Co-President of the Law Student Association, and a Masters of Business Administration from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, where she served as the CEO of Challenge for Charity.
She has received many accolades, but is most proud of being named a Woman of Distinction by the Portland Business Journal in 2017.