Johara Farhadieh – Setting the Expectation for Progress in Public Funds
Johara Farhadieh

Johara Farhadieh is Executive Director and Chief Investment Officer of The Illinois State Board of Investment (ISBI), in which she oversees a $20 bn defined benefit fund and a $5 bn dollar defined contribution plan with over 150,000 beneficiaries. She has been at ISBI for over 13 years, and prior to that was a financial analyst. She was named an All-Star Chief Investment Officer by Trusted Insight and ISBI was ranked number one in private equity returns among public pension funds in 2020 by the American Investment Council.   Our conversation talks about how public funds can set the standard for diversity and inclusion in their manager mix, and how, through a combination of OCIO and direct mandates ISBI is doing this.  Often, in this arena, politics and wrangling can interfere with governance, and we talk about how serving the Board and frequently involving the Board as stakeholders can be the recipe for smooth decision making and progress. Johara also talks through her own background, her roots and how she was raised to be a survivor.  As we move through the pandemic disruptions and its implications on how business is done, this is a particularly appropriate tale.Series 4 is brought to you with the kind support of Federated Hermes, Inc., a leading global investment manager. Guided by their conviction that responsible investing is the best way to create wealth over the long term, their investment solutions span equity, fixed-income, alternative/private markets, multi-asset and liquidity strategies and a range of separately managed accounts, distributed through intermediaries worldwide.