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Shamaila Khan, Top Women in Asset Management Awards winner

Shamaila Khan was always an avid follower of international news, and she traveled the world with her parents. This helped drive a passion for global finance at a young age.

Khan, who joined the firm as senior vice president in 2011, is now the, overseeing the management of all the platform’s portfolios.

Shamaila Khan, who joined AllianceBernstein as senior vice president in 2011, is now director of the firm’s emerging markets debt strategies, overseeing the management of the platform’s portfolios.

As a woman of South Asian descent, Khan obtained her bachelor’s degree from Azam University, Pakistan. She holds an MBA with honors from New York University and cites her ethnic background as being highly advantageous in helping her achieve her goals.

“I spent a significant portion of my life in an emerging market country, and have experienced many of the crises other EM investors may only read or hear about,” says Khan. “The countries I invest in are volatile, and being able to remain cool-headed through short-term market price fluctuations is extremely important.”

While there is a shortage of minority women holding top managerial positions in the asset management industry, Khan remains optimistic that this will soon change. “Companies did not understand the importance of diversity and, as a result, did not promote measures to encourage it,” she says. That cycle, she says, can be reversed as firms now comprehend the importance of diversity.

Today Khan advocates for more women to join the industry, and is actively involved with the Women’s Leadership Council. She provides mentorship based on her experiences and serves as a sounding board. Additionally, she organizes events for women to help them understand what a career in portfolio management entails.

Khan says it’s vital to introduce finance to women at the collegiate level.

“Engaging with young women while they are still in school, and showing them how they can build a successful career in financial services, is ultimately what will help shift the current narrative and help to narrow the gender gap,” she says.

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