Angela Miller-May of the Chicago Teachers’ Pension Fund
Chief Investment Officer of the Chicago Teachers’ Pension Fund
We are pleased to introduce you to Angela Miller-May, the Chief Investment Officer of the Chicago Teachers’ Pension Fund.
Tell us a bit about yourself…
I believe that we can have it all. I have a very rewarding career as a CIO for a public pension fund. Every job that I’ve held, I started in an entry level role and worked my way to the top. That wasn’t the plan, but if you give me lemons, I’ll give you a glass of lemonade. I’m resilient and resourceful. I fancy myself as a problem solver and that has been my secret catalyst that propels and advances me. Besides a great career, I’ve been married for 29 years to a loving and supportive man and I have two wonderful sons that share my work ethic and determination. Having it all has been a hard journey, but the rewards outweigh the challenges, and I would do it all over again. The ups and downs and the battle scars have made me the person that I am today and has prepared me for whatever comes tomorrow.
What do you think is the most impactful thing that can be done to increase diversity in the industry?
I think the most impactful thing would be to provide opportunities and access to capital to a diverse universe of people, companies and firms and let their performance, abilities and skills demonstrate that the industry is not only more sustainable but thrives because minorities and women have been included.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Being a CIO and having the responsibility for growing and preserving the pensions of over 88,000 members is rewarding by itself, but it goes beyond that. When I think about the Dreams that we put off until retirement whether it is starting that new business, traveling to places unknown, buying that fishing boat or new golf clubs, helping your children finance their dream home or helping your grandchildren with college, I think to myself if I just do the best job that I can as CIO then I can make those dreams come true for thousands of people. It is knowing that I am working to bring stability and financial security to our members and what that means to them and their families.
What’s the most surprising thing people don’t know about you?
I am super competitive, and I like pushing myself. I was a track runner throughout high school and college, and I have had the best time being a cheerleader to my sons. I am that mom that gets into arguments with referees. I have been the basketball mom, soccer mom, football mom in charge of orange slices and Gatorade, boxing mom, golfing mom, and currently I am the rugby mom of a professional rugby player and a college rugby player. I even played co-ed football so that I could understand the plays and routes that my sons were running. I live in a competitive house and I’m the most competitive. No matter what it is, I welcome a challenge and I strive for success. It is the one attribute that I have passed on to my sons. Always strive to do your best, be a team player and give every opportunity your all.
When you were young, what did you think you would be doing for work when you “grew up”?
When I was really young, I wanted to be on the Carol Burnett show, but that’s a story for another day. From as early as 9, I wanted to be a pediatrician. I loved babies and I loved how proud it made my grandmother when I said I wanted to be a doctor. I carried this dream through college where I spent my first two years as a pre-med student. It was not until I volunteered at a hospital during the summer of my Sophomore year that I realized the dream was not for me. I was self-aware enough to know that I was much too emotional for the medical field. I started my Junior year as an Economics major and the rest is history. I’m really happy with the decision that I made because I still get to help people.
What’s the most amazing place you’ve visited that you urge everyone to see (once everyone starts traveling again!)?
Goree Island off the coast of Dakar, Senegal and its Door of No Return museum and memorial to the Atlantic Slave trade. As an African American Woman, standing in the door where my ancestors stood and realizing that it was the last time that they would see their families and their land as they were stolen and boarded on to slave ships was a significant and emotional experience for me. Looking out into the Atlantic with Dakar to my back and knowing that I had the freedom and opportunity to do whatever I wanted to and understanding the price that was paid for that freedom filled me with a different type of strength and responsibility. It was like going to a home that I never knew as home. I recommend the trip to everyone.