Sharmila Kassam is the founder of Aligned Capital Investing, as well as holding a portfolio of Board roles. She was previously Deputy Chief Investment Officer of the Employees Retirement System of Texas, a public defined benefit plan with around $30 bn in AUM, where she held a series of roles for almost 12 years. She previously worked as an attorney and a venture industry professional. She is a Senior Fellow at the Milken Institute.
Our conversation starts with Sharmila’s move from law into the world of investing, and the policies and priorities that were at the forefront of her mind in her role as Deputy CIO of a large public plan. Sharmila was an early trailblazer for the building and promotion of diverse portfolios in her role at Texas ERS, and the strong performance of these portfolios serves as a powerful proof statement of the win/win nature of diversity. Now, as she builds out her portfolio of Board roles she is committed to using this experience to pave the way for smaller and more boutique organizations to see and enjoy the benefits of diversity. We speak about the figures in her life who have inspired her, and her current agenda to promote change.