As part of the Dean’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Speaker Series and in celebration of Women’s History Month, Dean Maryam Alavi hosted Chanel Frazier for a discussion on empowerment and leadership.
Frazier is Head of BlackRock’s Atlanta Innovation Hub and Global Head of Business Strategy for the Portfolio Management Group. As the leader of the Atlanta Innovation Hub, she works with leadership teams to continue to build the firm's presence in the area and strengthen engagements with clients, universities, and the local community. In her business strategy role, she leads global teams in the execution of programs to identify and capture market opportunities for one of the firm's largest investment teams.
Frazier graduated from Dartmouth College and the University of Virginia Law School, and became a tax attorney working in asset management, including during her first few years at BlackRock. She cited her grandmother, who was a minister, as a key influence in her life, describing her as a catalyst for empowering women and creating a powerful legacy.
She encouraged the audience to be bold in their decision-making while continuing to take calculated risks. “Bold choices are not easy,” she said. She described having to make several major choices in her career and emphasized the importance of having mentors and sponsors who can help along the way.
At the present time, she leads a team of almost 600 staff, but started with just six employees. When asked what she looks forward to in the future, she replied, “Opportunity.” She continued, “We’re not going to just grow but deepen our impact.”
Frazier encouraged others to get out of their own way by not caving into self-doubt and to start taking up space by being confident enough to ask questions, offer solutions, and speak up. “For me, the empowerment story has always been one of creating these circles and spaces where people from diverse backgrounds, who just want to be part of something bigger, feel like they can show up as the best version of themselves,” Frazier said.