Virtual event: Available on replay
Our sixth annual Equality in IR forum was back again by popular demand! The event is part of our global initiative to create a level playing field for excellence in the IR community. With the help of expert speakers and those leading the charge at public companies, the event included practical advice on:
Attendees joined us at the event to:
This event will took as a virtual experience using our bespoke, cutting-edge technology.
Our virtual event platform closely replicates attending in-person by facilitating interaction with speakers and one-to-one networking with fellow IR professionals. Going virtual helps you connect with a wider network from the comfort of your desk.
NIRI IRC® CREDENTIAL
Holders of the NIRI IRC® credential can earn up to 4 professional development units (PDUs) per day. IRC-credentialed speakers may also earn PDUs. More information is available at www.niri.org/certification.
Opening remarks: Why we continue talking about equality in the IR community
We all know what the issues are. However, we also know it takes a long time to affect change. Based on the statistics from IR Magazine’s latest Global IR Salary and Careers Report, hear what factors generally lead to gender disparity in IR, what we, as a community, can recognize and counter in your teams, and a statistical breakdown of diversity in the IR role. To what extent is diversity an issue?
Tim Human, senior reporter, IR Magazine
The bigger picture: Role of the company in promoting diversity within the IR profession
Moderator: Ripa Rashid, head of inclusion and diversity, Cowen Inc
Margeaux Bruner, director of ESG & DEI, Trulieve
Robert Nuzzo, chief operating officer, fundamental active equity investing, BlackRock
James Wong, head of corporate access origination, Millennium Management
The role of an IRO: Bridging the gaps in skillset, pay and career advancement
Moderator: Tim Human, senior reporter, IR Magazine
Ilene Fiszel Bieler, EVP, global head of investor relations, State Street Corporation
Carolynne Borders, senior executive, investor relations, GE
Susan (Susie) Lisa, former senior vice president of investor relations, CVS Health
Melissa Plaisance, SVP of IR, treasury and risk management, Albertsons Companies
Smooch Repovich Rosenberg, CEO, Smooch Unplugged
End of event
Ilene Fiszel Bieler
EVP, global head of investor relations
State Street Corporation
Ilene Fiszel Bieler is the Global Head of Investor Relations. She is responsible for managing relationships with the company’s shareholders and analysts. With more than 18 years of experience in banking, Ilene interacts daily with Wall Street including communicating corporate strategy and performance to security analysts and portfolio managers. She provides advice and support to the Board of Directors, Chief Executive, Chief Financial Officer, and Management Committee in matters related to the equity market, including the quarterly results process and financial and strategic communications.
Prior to joining State Street in 2017, Ilene Fiszel Bieler served as the Head of Investor Relations and Strategy for the Americas at Barclays with responsibility for the firm’s investor program. She was responsible for equity market engagement activities in the Americas, as well as formulation for investor strategy including content for investor presentations, analyst meetings and quarterly earnings announcements. At the same time, Ms. Fiszel Bieler also managed the Barclays Group Strategy Team in the Americas where Ilene’s team was responsible for
defining the scope and objectives of business challenges, identifying options and providing independent analysis and business strategy to find solutions, while optimizing Barclays’ operating model.
Before Barclays, Ilene was the Head of Fixed Income Investor and Rating Agency Relations globally at Citigroup. She developed the strategy for, and ensured execution of, Citi’s Rating Agency and Fixed Income Investor initiatives through a proactive strategy of engagement and analytics. Ilene’s expertise centered on Citi’s balance sheet, including liquidity and asset liability management, and capital optimization. She was responsible for developing and maintaining the company’s relationships with rating agency analysts, buy-side and sell-side credit analysts and fixed income investors, who collectively represented more than $500 billion of Citi’s funding base.
While at Citigroup, Ms. Fiszel Bieler held a variety of positions at the firm working across product lines and regions, and interfacing with the public, clients and government regulators. She began her career in banking at Salomon Smith Barney.
A native of New York City, Ms. Fiszel Bieler is a graduate of University of Arizona with a Bachelor of Arts and a graduate of New York University with a Master’s degree in Urban Planning. An advocate of talent development, Ms. Fiszel Bieler recently created the State Street Finance Graduate Program, a two year rotation program for MBA graduates. She is a Trustee of Jeremiah Program New York, a non-profit organization that prepares single mothers to excel in the workforce, readies their children to succeed in school, and reduces generational dependence on public assistance.
Senior executive, investor relations
Carolynne Borders joined GE in 2021 in a Senior Executive role, responsible for Investor Relations in the Healthcare business, which is expected to spin off from GE in early 2023. Prior to this, she served as Vice President of Investor Relations at Henry Schein.
With more than 25 years of experience as an investor relations practitioner, Ms. Borders has a strong background in strategic narrative development, investor outreach, M&A messaging, crisis communications, and ESG engagement. Prior to joining Henry Schein, she served as Vice President, Investor Relations & Corporate Communications at SMSC. Earlier Ms. Borders held a similar role at Andrea Electronics.
Earlier in her career, she served as a Senior Associate at The Financial Relations Board, one of the largest investor relations agencies at the time, representing the firm’s technology clientele. Ms. Borders was also Co-founder and Executive Vice President of LI Invest, a former not-for-profit organization that promoted investment in public and private companies in the Long Island region. She has received industry recognition for contributions at Henry Schein, including ranking among the top three IROs for Best IR Professional and/or Best IR Program by Institutional Investor in Healthcare Technology & Distribution for multiple years. In 2022, the GE Investor Relations team was awarded Best Overall Investor Relations (Large-cap) by IR Magazine. Ms. Borders earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business from Marist College.
Director of ESG & DEI
Margeaux Bruner, Founder of HOLI Smokables. proudly serves as Director of ESG & DEI for Trulieve. As a current member of the Minority Cannabis Business Association Board of Directors and former Political Director for the Michigan Cannabis Industry Association, Bruner assuages brand diversity, strategy and policy.
Bruner was bestowed 2021 Gage Cannabis Social Equity grant recipient. An experienced cannabis leader and speaker who specializes in compliance, operations, government affairs, policy, social equity, and issues relating to diversity, equity and inclusion. Formerly served as Director of Compliance & Diversity Inclusion across all business entities for Mid-American Growers/Red White & Bloom, where she supported the legal, compliance, and government affairs team by assisting with onsite cannabis operational compliance.
Tim Human is senior reporter at IR Magazine. He rejoined the publication in 2019 after two years working as a freelance writer for a range of international clients. Previously, he was editor of IR Magazine between 2013-2017. He has also written for Corporate Secretary, IR Magazine’s sister publication, and CorpComms, the UK-based magazine for corporate communications professionals.
Susan (Susie) Lisa
Former senior vice president of investor relations
Bio coming soon
Chief operating officer, fundamental active equity investing
Robert is responsible for helping to grow and manage the day to day operations of the business. Prior to his current role, Robert spent 15+ years at Goldman Sachs, helping the firm build out new businesses and restructure existing businesses. His functions have spanned operations, financial reporting, securities sales and trading, client relationship management and human resources. One notable position was his role in leading the firm’s expansion and growth across Latin America, headquartered in Brazil from 2007 until 2012.
Robert is a champion of diversity, equality and philanthropy and serves as a mentor to many professionals. He was named to the 2020 OUTstanding LGBT+ Executive List for 2020 (sponsored by Yahoo Finance). He is active across several non-profits and is a board member of Make-A-Wish metro NY (vice-chair of New Leadership Council) and Help Us Adopt (board member).
Robert was born in Brooklyn, received his undergraduate degree from Georgetown University and currently resides in the Union Square neighbourhood of Manhattan with his husband, Leif and their recently adopted daughter.
SVP of IR, treasury and risk management
Melissa Plaisance is SVP, Investor Relations, Treasury & Risk Management for Albertsons Companies, with responsibility for the strategy and execution of the company’s investor relations program, its treasury department including the debt portfolio, banking and rating agency relationships, and cash management, as well as overseeing its risk management department including workers compensation and general liability claims and insurance programs.
Previously, Melissa was SVP, Finance & Investor Relations for Safeway Inc. and briefly served as
SVP, Finance and Corporate Communications for Del Monte Foods. Prior to joining Safeway, she was a relationship manager with Bankers Trust, where she held positions in New York and San Francisco before becoming a VP in the bank’s leveraged buyout group in Los Angeles. She also briefly worked for Wells Fargo, as a VP in the Corporate Banking Group in San Francisco.
Ms. Plaisance graduated cum laude from Bucknell University in Lewisburg, PA with a BS in Business Administration and received an MBA from the UCLA Anderson Graduate School of Management.
Plaisance was recently the Chair of the NIRI National Board of Directors and is First Vice President of the Headlands Homeowners Association. She previously served on the Bucknell University Alumni Board for nine years, the last two years as President. She is married and has a daughter and a son.
Managing director, head of inclusion and diversity
Ripa Rashid is a Managing Director and Head of Inclusion and Diversity (I&D) at Cowen. Ms. Rashid is an internationally recognized subject matter expert and practitioner in the space of workplace diversity and inclusion, with a focus on gender, race and global talent engagement and development strategies.
Prior to joining Cowen, Ms. Rashid was Managing Director at [email protected], Working Mother Media and Bonnier’s strategic advisory and custom research group. Previously, she was co-president at the Center for Talent Innovation (CTI) in New York City, a premier think tank and content provider that studies global workplace inclusion and diversity. She has also served as a management consultant with Booz & Company, PwC and Mitchell Madison Group, and has held senior diversity and inclusion positions at MetLife and Time Warner.
Ms. Rashid holds an AB cum laude in astronomy and astrophysics from Harvard University, an MA in anthropology from New York University and an MBA from INSEAD.
Smooch Repovich Rosenberg
Chief Talent Solutions Innovator (aka Founder/CEO)
Intellectual … Passionate … Driven … Focused … Knowledge Expert …
Smooch’s work is more than just a career — headhunting is in her DNA. She defines her success by the achievements of her clients and the candidates whom she has placed. “I have spent my life focused on doing the right things, which is vastly different from those who do things right.”
After more than 25 years as a globally recognized executive search consultant, Smooch Repovich Reynolds has her finger on the pulse of the global Investor Relations and Corporate Communications professions and has had tremendous success leveraging human capital strategies to create high-octane, superior performing functions. She has the unique ability to see around corners and readily identify solutions to human capital challenges that advance company valuation.
A true innovator in her field, Smooch effectively pioneered Investor Relations executive search when she was catapulted into the field by a former CEO for whom she worked at an international IR and Communications consultancy. Now she is considered a key catalyst in evolving the profession to the level of respect it commands today. She is known as a leading authority on the intangible leadership traits that define the top 20% of Investor Relations and Chief Communications Officers globally.
Smooch is the only executive search consultant in the world who exclusively solves investment community challenges through IRO talent placement and addresses corporate brand dilemmas through Chief Communications Officer talent advisement and placement. Her specialization in this field results in a competitive advantage for clients and candidates that cannot be found elsewhere.
Today, she utilizes her sharp business acumen to serve clients ranging in size from pre-IPO startups to Fortune 100 corporations, and companies around the world, as a C-Suite executive search consultant, talent acquisition strategist, and leadership coach.
In addition, Smooch regularly contributes thought leadership pieces to industry publications and myriad media sources, shares her thoughts in interviews and podcasts, and engages with numerous professional organizations as a sought-after speaker. As the only executive recruiter awarded with the prestigious title of NIRI Fellow, she is considered a peer by Investor Relations Officers around the globe.
Head of corporate access origination
James Wong is Head of Corporate Access Origination at Millennium Management, where he is responsible for corporate relationship development and directly connecting Millennium investment professionals and company management teams. Prior to joining Millennium, James held senior roles on the corporate access teams at UBS and at Raymond James where he advised and collaborated with investor relations professionals. James began his career in investment banking at Bear Stearns focusing on public and private equity financings for Asian, European and Latin American companies. James is a graduate of St. John’s University and is based in New York City.
"It was excellent.... truthful... with some important information shared. It was also well-run."
"[I liked that there was] speakers with different backgrounds who showed their opinions.
"Very open, candid and engaging sessions as well as advice on how to handle issues and situations going forward."
"Panelists were top notch. Well-versed on the topics, very forthright and clear."
"Amazing event and great speakers."
"Subject matter was spot on; panelists were knowledgeable. Networking and mentorship sessions were impactful."
Our attendees are leading IR practitioners with an established track record and strategic IR role within their company.
Below is a sample of some of our past attendees:
|Job title||Company||Job title||Company|
|Associate director, advisory services||Nasdaq||Head, Governance Services||Nasdaq|
|Associate partner||Buchanan||Head, investor relations||Minerals Technologies|
|CCO & head, investor relations||Avon||Head, investor relations||Moody’s Corporation|
|Co-head of client relations||Orient Capital||Head, investor relations||Mylan|
|Director||Powerscourt Group||Managing director||FTI Consulting|
|Director, head of investor relations||Peel Hunt||Managing partner||Instinctif Partners|
|Director, investor relations||Conduent||Partner||Instinctif Partners|
|Director, investor relations – ESG||Lloyds Banking Group||Partner||Taylor Bennett|
|Director, investor relations & corporate communications||Anterix||Senior vice president||Formerly Fifth Third Bancorp|
|Executive creative director||five corporate reporting & consulting||Vice president||J.P. Morgan|
|Executive director, Europe & Asia||Rivel Research Group||VP, business development||Tronox|
|Executive director, investor relations||Celgene||VP, investor relations||Etsy|
|Executive vice president & CFO||Fortis||VP, investor relations||Fortis|
|Head of IR||Barratt Developments||VP, investor relations||Nielsen|
|Head of IR||ADLER Real Estate||VP, investor relations||Tradeweb|
Cowen Inc. (“Cowen” or the “Company”) is a diversified financial services firm that operates through two business segments: a broker dealer and an investment management division. The Company’s broker dealer division offers investment banking services, equity research, sales and trading, prime brokerage, global clearing and commission management services. Cowen’s investment management division builds on Cowen’s core insights by developing differentiated, actively managed investment strategies that seek to meet the dynamic needs of our clients. Founded in 1918, the firm is headquartered in New York and has offices worldwide. Learn more at Cowen.com
SmoochUnplugged, LLC is a high octane, global talent consulting firm that offers Investor Relations Officer executive search and strategic human capital advisory specifically directed toward financial market success and corporate brand stewardship. The firm’s CEO is recognized as a market maker with respected investment community leaders, Boards of Directors, and management teams, with a charter to solve human capital challenges through its innovative, provocative and impactful collaborations with clients and talent around the world. www.smoochunplugged.com.
With 30 years of laser sharp focus in the Investor Relations Officer niche, SmoochUnplugged’s portfolio of success spans clients in all industries and across all sectors of the public company journey from pre-IPO to mega cap entities. SmoochUnplugged has had tremendous success partnering with recognized PE firms to recruit exceptional IRO talent who serve as their portfolio companies’ stewards of brand leadership as these entities transition to the public markets. Viewed as the global Investor Relations executive search leader, the Firm’s credible and respected brand and performance extends from North America to Europe to Asia.
Us: High Octane – Influencers – Impact-Driven Human Capital Solutions Architects.
Our Clients: Serious-Minded Leaders – Innovators of Change – Focused.
Our Talent: Thought Leaders – Performance Driven – Corporate Athletes.
For more information, visit nirisf.org
The NIRI Silicon Valley Chapter was formed to advance the practice of investor relations within the local business environment. In keeping with this mission, the Chapter focuses on IR education, mentoring, and networking with the broad professional community. Our goal is to further the skills of our members, to expand their business opportunities, to increase Chapter membership, and to foster an environment that promotes IR learning for all.
For more information, visit nirisv.org.
The Virtual Chapter is the second largest chapter in the NIRI ecosystem, with over 230 members representing 160+ publicly traded companies from a wide range of professional experiences, industries, geographies and market caps. The Virtual Chapter has been providing online educational, professional development and networking opportunities for its members and the broader IR community for more than 16 years, and is the only NIRI chapter to offer CPE credits in addition to IRC PDUs. For more information, please contact [email protected] or visit: nirivirtual.org