Most Powerful Women in Finance: Michelle Seitz, Russell Investments

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Chairman and CEO

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Michelle Seitz often publicly chronicled how emotion can become a mortal enemy to sound investment strategy.

Fortunately for Russell Investments, her dedication to intellectual objectivity in times of extreme market volatility has paid off handsomely. In 2019 — which saw frequent daily market fluctuations — her data-driven approach helped Russell achieve $37 billion in global sales, a 28% increase over 2018, with $7.4 billion of net inflows, when many of her competitors saw net outflows during the same mercurial period.

Seitz's passion to improve people's financial security, along with her commitment to increasing financial literacy and inclusive capitalism, continues to drive her personal efforts in philanthropy and volunteerism.

Her public-service highlights include being a founding member and donor to All In Seattle, a $30 million fund that deploys money directly to nonprofits serving those in need amid the pandemic; and her role as a founding co-chair of the Chicago Council's Women and Global Development Forum, which works to promote inclusive global development practices and provide mentorship for women advancing into leadership roles.

Seitz, Russell's CEO since 2017, has overseen the enhancements of the company's environmental, social and governance and tax-managed investing opportunities.

She also has been instrumental in rolling out highly customized investment solutions, such as its Personalized Retirement Accounts, which help customers understand their retirement and investment needs through advanced prescriptive analytics — automatically collecting information about individual investors, applying an adaptive retirement methodology and building a customized portfolio.

"Ultimately, I want to make a sustainably positive impact on other people's lives," Seitz said.

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