Sulema Peterson-Administrator at SACRS

Sulema Peterson serves as the Executive Director of the State Association of County Retirement Systems (SACRS), where she is responsible for the implementation of the association’s strategic plan and visions, management of all events, editor of all publications including SACRS Magazine, and overseeing the day-to-day business operations for the association. Sulema is passionate about the people and funds she works with and her leadership at SACRS and other organizations reflects this commitment. Sulema is a role model for anyone working in the Pension Fund World; understanding that connection and camaraderie with other retirement systems ultimately leads to growth and success…and at times, lifelong friendships!



Show Notes

01:35 – How Sulema manages to make an enjoyable experience with SACRS conferences

  • They developed a more collegial family style of conference over the years
  • Building network and relationships also elevates the conference to the next level

04:27 – How different is the SACRS conference this year because of the pandemic

  • Everyone had to pivot by working from home
  • SACRS never had a full conference cancelled so they had to find a solution
  • They turned many of their general sessions into webinars and offered them to their membership for free
  • Online learning for adults has been quite challenging due to majority of their trustees are more senior in age. Despite the challenges, the participation for each sessions has been great
  • They hired a professional technology team to help them work on some challenges of helping their speakers get their message online with their personalities intact.

09:15 – How SACS puts up an amazing magazine that’s full of amazing content

  • They curate their articles from the members and works with a design team that handles the entire production of the magazine
  • It boils down to the members providing them good educational articles and has a no marketing policy
  • They still print their magazines because many of their trustees are at home and they’re not reading online

12:18 – Sulema’s thoughts on returns in the near future because the pandemic

  • Sulema thinks that COVID changes the game for everybody
  • Everything is still short term and there’s no end in sight for now. There’s no assurance how the second wave will affect everyone
  • Sulema is hoping that they can open a hybrid conference this November.

17:03 – Women in the investment world and how SACRS now has their first diverse woman president

  • Vivian Gray is an attorney in LA County in the LACERA board of trustees.
  • Vivian is also the chairman of the program committee

19:26 – Sulema’s work on Chief Probation Officers of California

  • Like SACRS, Sulema also helped CPOC pivot their conference into an online format
  • Her key role is to produce their conference along their amazing team who develops the educational content

20:46 – Sulema’s backstory

  • Sulema doesn’t have an investment background but learned a lot over the years
  • Back in the day she worked as a staffer and met her husband who owns a lobbying firm
  • When her husband died, he stayed with the firm with her late father in law.
  • When her father in law also died, she and her mother in law sold the business and their business partners wanted her to stay
  • She started working with SACRS in 2002 and never left since
  • In 2017 she started her own firm to see what she can do

27:38 – How she manages stress

  • Over the months she walks and listening to online books to relieve stress
  • She connects with friends in SACRS online and has been helpful for the past couple of months

Listen to all other episodes of Pension Trends Plus with Atara Twersky on AF&T’s websitePodbean, or wherever you listen to podcasts!