Breaking the Colored Glass Ceiling, with Paula Pretlow

Paula Pretlow - Aspiriant Money Tales

In this episode of Money Tales, our guest, Paula B. Pretlow, tells us about her beginnings as a poor black girl in Oklahoma City. Her mom made a huge decision to place Paula and her siblings in a desegregated school with the edict that they will excel. And that is exactly what Paula did. She grew from a poor girl to a very financially successful woman.

During the conversation, Paula shares what her relationship with money has been like over the course of her life, including her experience as the breadwinner of the family and ultimately, as a single mom. Among other things, during our conversation, Paula talks about her divorce. This inspired the financial insight at the end of the episode, where we explore an overview of the divorce process.

Paula spent her entire career in finance and investment management. She retired from the field in 2011, following 11 years as a senior vice president with The Capital Group.  While at Capital, she led the public fund team and managed her own client base, representing $700B+ in combined assets.

Paula began her career at Wells Fargo Bank, before moving to GATX Capital, where she played a pioneering role in the creation of a secondary market in capital equipment leases and lease portfolios. She then transitioned to Wall Street, working on the bond desk at Credit Suisse and later moved into investment management with AXA Rosenberg and subsequently, BlackRock. She holds an MBA in finance and economics from Kellogg School of Management and a BA in political science from Northwestern University, and is a 2017 Fellow of Stanford University’s Distinguished Careers Institute.

Paula currently serves as a director and trustee on corporate and philanthropic boards, including Bitwise Industries, CION Ares Diversified Credit Fund, Northwestern University, The Kresge Foundation, The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation and her synagogue, Congregation Emanu-El. She co-teaches design thinking at Stanford University’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (the “d.school”). 

Paula has been recognized with The Women’s Legal Defense & Education Fund’s Aiming High Award, the National Council of Jewish Women’s Outstanding Humanitarian Award and The Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools’ Wall of Fame Humanitarian Award. Her speaking appearances include Northwestern’s Weinberg College of Arts & Sciences convocation and Groundbreakers: Women in Leadership Summit, where she shared the stage with Gloria Steinem and Ali Wentworth. Paula is currently writing stories about her life and has discovered a hidden talent: improv!