Debra Smith is a tenured finance executive with over 20 years of public government and investment experience. She has served in several leadership roles throughout her extensive career and has areas of expertise in investment management, strategic planning, internal control framework, and risk mitigation. Ms. Smith recently retired from the California State Teachers’ Retirement System and served as the Chief Operating Investment Officer. Reporting directly to the Chief Investment Officer, she was one of the CIO’s top two deputies to manage the $246 billion investment portfolio.
Ms. Smith recently founded and launched her own business, Montage Careers LLC., an executive career coach firm providing guidance, personal counseling and developing talented individuals to attain their career goals. Her firm also brings awareness to change the current state of workplace culture by promoting dignity, diversity and inclusion.
She is currently serving as an Advisory Council Member for Robert F. Kennedy Workplace Dignity focusing on human rights education and social justice. Additionally, she is serving as an Advisory Council Member for a global organization committed to providing capital to women and minority owned businesses. Previously, she served as a Standing Advisory Group member for the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) from 2017-2019.
Debra is a diversity and inclusion advocate and was sought out by the Milken Institute to shape panels focused on Racial Justice & Centering the Black Community and Diversifying Portfolios as an Investment Tool for Change. She received the Leadership in Business Award in November 2016 from the Sacramento Chapter of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women (NCBW). Ms. Smith holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Finance and Marketing from California State University, Fresno.