Donna Sims Wilson is the President of Smith Graham & Co. Investment Advisors, L.P., a $6 billion investment management firm in its 28th year of operations. Mrs. Wilson is responsible for Business Development, Marketing and Client Relations. She also works in conjunction with the Chairman and CEO on new product development and short and long-term strategies for the firm. She serves on the firm's Executive Committee, Investment Policy Committee, and is a member of the Board of Directors.
Mrs. Wilson has 30 years of financial services experience, including formerly serving as Executive Vice President of CastleOak Securities, L.P. a leading New York-based boutique investment bank, where she also served on the Management Committee of the firm. Previously, she was President of M.R. Beal & Company and was a Founder and Managing Director of Loop Capital Markets. Mrs. Wilson was a Vice President at Bear Stearns where she sold mortgage-backed securities and started her career as an analyst in corporate finance at Lehman Brothers Kuhn Loeb.
Mrs. Wilson currently serves as Chair of the Board of the National Association of Securities Professionals, a trade organization of minorities and women who work on Wall Street. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Greater Houston Partnership and the United Way of Houston. She is also a member of the Economic Club of Chicago. Mrs. Wilson is a Past Chair of the Board of the Kohl Children’s Museum of Greater Chicago, a former member of the Board of Trustees of the John G. Shedd Aquarium, and a former member of the Board of Directors of the CFA Society of Chicago. Appointed by the Governor of the State of Illinois, Mrs. Wilson is a former member of the Budgeting for Results Commission and the Governor’s Export Council. She is a former Board Member of the Bond Market Association, currently known as the Securities Industry Financial Management Association (SIFMA), and a former Member of Fannie Mae’s National Advisory Council. Mrs. Wilson has also served as Chairman of the Sub-Saharan Africa Advisory Board of the Export Import Bank of the United States.
Mrs. Wilson has received numerous industry awards including the 2012 “Women of Wall Street Industry Trailblazer Award” by Traders Magazine and the “Joyce Johnson Award” by The National Association of Securities Professionals. She was named “One of the Most Powerful Women in Business” by Black Enterprise Magazine and an “Influential Black Woman in Business” by The Network Journal, all in 2010. Mrs. Wilson was also a Chicago United 2009 Business Leader of Color. She is a frequent speaker at financial services industry events, has testified before the U.S. Congress on laws relating to diversity and has often moderated issue forum “Brain Trusts” for the Congressional Black Caucus. She has spearheaded the enactment of legislation that increased business opportunities for minority- and women-owned financial services firms and appeared on CNBC’s Squawk Box and C-SPAN discussing issues of diversity and inclusion in the business of the economic recovery. Mrs. Wilson co-founded the National Association of Securities Professionals (NASP) Africa Financial Summit in 2015. With subsequent funding from USAID, Mobilizing Institutional Investors to Develop Africa’s Infrastructure (MiDA) was born and has since executed over $1 billion in African infrastructure investments from U.S. institutions. Donna’s leadership in ideating and launching these incredibly successful endeavors served as a precursor to her participation in leading a delegation of U.S. pension funds and foundations at the 2018 G20 Buenos Aires summit to educate global institutional investors on how to generate safe, risk-adjusted returns by investing in African infrastructure. Mrs. Wilson received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science from Yale University.