21 LC Speaker Bios

2021 Leadership Conference

2021 Leadership Conference Speaker Biographies


Karen L. Barr became President & CEO of the Investment Adviser Association in 2014, after serving as the IAA’s General Counsel for 17 years. Under her leadership, the Investment Adviser Association has grown in both size and scope, enhancing the range of services, educational opportunities and peer-to-peer involvement for fiduciary investment advisers. Prior to joining the IAA, Barr was in private practice at Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering (now WilmerHale), where she represented clients in securities regulatory matters. Barr received her B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and her law degree from the University of Michigan Law School. She is a frequent speaker on investment adviser issues.


John M. Barry is a prize-winning, New York Times best-selling author, whose 2004 book The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History, drew him into public policymaking. He was the only non-scientist on a federal government Infectious Disease Board of Experts, served on the original team that recommended public health measures to mitigate a pandemic, and advised the Bush and Obama administrations on pandemic policy. He has worked with federal, United Nations, and World Health Organization officials and the private sector. He serves on numerous advisory boards and is Distinguished Scholar at the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.


Gail C. Bernstein is General Counsel of the Investment Adviser Association. She joined the IAA from the law firm of WilmerHale in Washington, DC, where she had been a Special Counsel in the Securities Department. While in private practice, Bernstein counseled clients on all aspects of financial and securities regulation. Bernstein earned her B.A. from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and her law degree from Harvard Law School in 1988. After law school, Bernstein clerked for the Honorable Douglas P. Woodlock of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts and was an associate at the Boston law firm of Mintz Levin.

Ric Edelman

Ric Edelman is founder of Edelman Financial Engines, the nation’s largest independent RIA, as well as founder of the Digital Assets Council of Financial Professionals (DACFP). Leading trade publications including Investment Advisor and InvestmentNews have named him one of the most influential people in the financial planning and investment management profession. Consumer Reports has ranked his firm #1 for quality. Edelman is also a leading financial educator and champion of improving financial literacy. TALKERS magazine named him among the 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in the country; his show has been on the air for nearly 30 years, currently airing on 80 stations coast-to-coast.

Yvette Garcia

Yvette Garcia is Managing Director and General Counsel at Bessemer Trust and Bessemer Securities LLC, the Phipps family private investment enterprise. She is a member of the firm’s Management Committee. Earlier, Garcia served as General Counsel for the wealth management firm Rockefeller & Co. and as an attorney with Willkie Farr & Gallagher. She serves as Chair of the IAA Board of Governors and is a member of the Banking Law Committee of the New York City Bar Association. Garcia earned a J.D. from Fordham University School of Law and a B.A. in history and political science from New York University. 

Simon Hillett

Simon Hallett, CFA, is Vice Chairman and Partner at Harding Loevner LP, with over 40 years of experience managing global portfolios for individuals and institutions. He began his career in 1979 in the investment management department of London-based Buckmaster and Moore, then moved to Hong Kong in 1981 to concentrate on Asian markets. In 1984, Hallett joined Jardine Fleming Investment Management to direct a team of portfolio managers investing in Southeast and North Asian markets. After joining Harding Loevner in 1991, he served as PM for the firm’s International Equity strategy and Emerging Markets strategy, and later as CIO. He assumed the position of Vice Chairman in 2021.

Elizabeth Lowrey

A principal at Elkus Manfredi Architects, Elizabeth Lowrey oversees corporate workplace strategy and design, as well as a portfolio ranging from hospitality and multi-family residential projects to retail/entertainment and higher education environments. Her clients include Publicis Groupe, Boston Consulting Group, GW&K, Fidelity, New Balance, Walt Disney Imagineering, and Harvard University. Boston Magazine included her on its list of “100 Most Influential People,” writing: “An office interiors whiz, Lowrey will no doubt be instrumental in shaping what our workplaces look like once we all return to them…” Her insights have been featured in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Fast Company, and Metropolis.

Dan Mistler

Dan Mistler joined ACA Group as a senior practitioner to head their ESG advisory practice. He has led the development of ESG programs for private markets investors, hedge funds, and diversified financial services firms. He has helped entrepreneurs raise funds from ESG and impact-interested investors, quantified environmental and social impact in transactions, guided investors and companies in monetizing the environmental and social aspects of their businesses, and assisted asset managers in getting the most out of ESG reporting. Prior to his work at ACA, he led ESG services at multiple other global and boutique consulting firms, focusing on financial services and implementing ESG with assets across sectors.

Cheryl Pipia

Cheryl Pipia is a vice president at T. Rowe Price and head of Integrated Sales for U.S. Intermediaries. With more than 25 years in the financial services industry, she is dedicated to providing the best solutions for her clients, helping a diverse group of financial professionals elevate their businesses to higher levels. She is focused on helping financial professionals add value to their clients’ investment strategies, as well as remain informed about trends in the financial marketplace. Pipia is the president and founder of Mission and Movement, a global organization dedicated to inspiring thoughtful living, purposeful leadership and long-lasting community impact.

Vanessa Ruda

Vanessa Ruda, PhD is a senior partner in the Chicago office of leadership consulting firm RHR International and has responsibility for RHR’s United States Central Region. She leads the firm’s consulting team and business presence in Chicago and throughout the rest of the region. She has deep experience in the areas of C-level succession planning, executive selection and development, building high-performing senior teams, and strategic change leadership. She is also a faculty member of Northwestern University, where she teaches strategic change management in the Master of Science in Learning and Organizational Change program. Ruda holds a PhD in organizational psychology from the Kellogg School of Management.

Rayhaneh Sharif-Askary

Rayhaneh Sharif-Askary is Director of Investor Relations and Business Development at Grayscale Investments and leads efforts to generate new inflows into the Grayscale Investments suite of digital currency investment trusts. Sharif-Askary manages Grayscale’s growing investor base of family offices, hedge funds, institutional investors, and high net-worth individuals. Since joining Grayscale in 2018, she has helped raise billions in new capital and been on the cutting edge of bringing the digital currency asset class to some of the world’s most sophisticated and significant investors. She graduated magna cum laude from Duke with a B.S. in Economics. Sharif-Askary was named one of Business Insider’s 2020 Rising Stars of Wall Street.

Neil Simon

Neil A. Simon is the Investment Adviser Association’s Vice President, Government Relations. He has a leading role in the formulation and communication of IAA’s views on legislative and regulatory issues and is responsible for advocacy before the U.S. Congress. Before joining the IAA, he was Director of Government Relations for the Financial Planning Association and served as executive director of the National Franchise Council. Prior to that, he was counsel in the law firm of Hogan & Hartson LLP (now known as Hogan Lovells). He received his B.A. magna cum laude from Clark University, his J.D. from Georgetown University, and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa.

Jamie Steinhardt

Jaime H. Steinhardt is executive director and an investment specialist within J.P. Morgan Asset Management’s U.S. Equity Group. An employee since 2012, Steinhardt is the head of the investment specialist team that is responsible for communicating investment performance, outlook, and strategy positioning to institutional and funds clients for the firm’s U.S. Equity Value platform. She holds a B.A. in economics from Georgetown University and holds the Series 7 and 63 licenses. She is a member of both the New York Society of Security Analysts and the CFA Institute, and a CFA charterholder.

Andrea Stimmel

Andrea Stimmel, CPA (inactive), became Chief Operating Officer at Mairs & Power in January 2018. She oversees the daily operations of Mutual Fund and Advisory Operations, Human Resources, Office Administration, Information Technology, and Investment Management Support. Stimmel joined the firm in 2004 and has served as an Accounting Manager, Director of Operations, Treasurer, and Chief Compliance Officer. Earlier, she held auditing positions with Ernst & Young, LLP and Target Corporation. Stimmel earned a B.A. in International Affairs from Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania, and a B.S. in Accounting from the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire. She became a Certified Public Accountant in 1998.

Ravi Venkataraman

Ravi Venkataraman, CFA, is a senior managing director and global head of Investment Solutions for MFS Investment Management (MFS). He leads a global team dedicated to working with clients to develop solutions, asset allocation strategy and portfolio construction, as well as to provide views on capital markets, industry trends and MFS investment platform insights. He is also responsible for MFS' thought leadership efforts globally. He serves on the Global Distribution Management Committee and chairs the MFS Retirement Investment Committee. Venkataraman earned a B.A. in economics from St. Xavier's College and his M.A. in economics from Tufts University. He chairs the Steering Committee of the IAA’s Active Managers Council.

The safety of our members remains our highest priority and all appropriate measures are being taken to ensure your safety. At our in-person event, the exhibit area, ballroom, breakout session rooms, and evening activities will be set to allow physical distancing, and attendees will be required to wear masks as required by Washington, DC ordinances in effect at the time.

All persons attending the in-person event will be required to sign a liability waiver and return it prior to arriving at the conference. That liability waiver – which can be filled out and returned online – is available here.