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The daughter of first-generation Irish immigrants, a son of Indian immigrants, a Saudi national, and a woman from a small city in southwest China. All are among Institutional Investor magazine's Hedge Fund Rising Stars, class of 2017. Hedge funds have benefited from and have been made stronger by immigration. As in previous years, the 2017 pool of up-and-coming talent reflects that diversity. The 30 members of the 2017 list of Hedge Fund Rising Stars will be honored as part of Institutional Investor's Hedge Fund Awards Dinner in New York on Wednesday, June 21. They were each nominated by their peers, with the final selection made by Institutional Investor's editorial team.

These Rising Stars represent the core values of integrity, passion, and commitment and make up the very best of the hedge fund industry. We are proud to celebrate them here.

Alexander Ahari

Redington

The City of London was booming in 1999 when Alexander Ahari got his first job in finance at the tender age of 20. He joined Capel Cure Sharp, the asset management arm of a large U.K. private client brokerage. Ahari, who grew up in Hastings, East Sussex, got his start working in the middle office. After Capel was acquired, he was asked to join Attica Asset Management, the multimanager division of U.K.-based Threadneedle Asset Management. In 2004, Ahari left to became part of a team building a new fund-of-hedge-funds business, Eddington Capital Management. But the fledgling firm was unable to survive the mass contraction of the industry post-2008 and shut down in 2010. For Ahari, now 38, the closure created new opportunities. After more than two years as an independent hedge fund investment consultant, he joined Redington, a U.K. investment adviser with more than $400 billion ($520 billion) in assets under advisory, as a senior vice president working on illiquid credit, private debt, and specialty finance portfolios.

Brooke Beck

Marcato Capital Management

Mentorship means a lot to Brooke Beck. After graduating from Penn State University with a BA in pre-law and criminal justice, Beck was all set to go to law school – until she realized she didn't want to spend three more years in a classroom. Instead, Beck, who grew up in New Jersey, decided to try to get a job in finance. She succeeded, joining U.S. Trust Co.'s private wealth group in the summer of 2000. There she had an amazing mentor whom she followed to Mellon Financial, though she soon left to join Goldentree Asset Management. In late 2008, Beck joined Och-Ziff Capital Management, where she helped the New York-based multistrategy hedge fund firm diversify its investor base. She also became part of Och-Ziff's senior women leadership group, helped the firm structure its family leave policy, and mentored younger women at the firm. Last year, Beck, 38, joined Marcato Capital Management, a San Francisco-based, $1.5 billion activist hedge fund firm, as head of investor relations.

Ben Block

Ardsley Partners

While studying for a degree in physics at the University of California, San Diego, Ben Block learned to code. A series of jobs as a software engineer at start-ups in San Diego, where he grew up, followed. One of those firms, Cayenta, developed technology for utility companies. Having succeeded in start-ups, Block decided to go to business school, earning his MBA in finance and economics from NYU's Stern School of Business. Getting into finance was not the plan, but Block was interested in renewable energy. In 2007, while at business school, he wrote an award-winning paper entitled "Using Project Finance to Deliver Clean Energy to Emerging Markets." That paper helped Block secure a job at Ardsley Partners. The hedge fund firm was ramping up its renewables fund, and Block, 39, has been working on that fund ever since. He is now a partner and is also board chair and former executive director of Top Honors, a not-for-profit that provides free math tutoring to disadvantaged middle school students in New York.

Steve Blundin

Verizon Investment Management Corp.

Steve Blundin, 34, does not have much of a defined benefit pension plan, even though he has been with Verizon Investment Management Corp. for 12 years. Blundin joined the investment management arm of the telecommunications firm in summer 2005, after graduating with a double major in economics and business from Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania. But Verizon Communications, which moved its asset management group to Basking Ridge, New Jersey, in 2006, froze its DB pension plan for management employees the same year Blundin arrived. Since then, Blundin, who grew up outside of Philadelphia, has risen through the ranks at Verizon Investment Management. Having originally joined in operations, he became an equity analyst in 2006, then moved to hedge funds in 2009. In August 2013 he was officially made head of the hedge fund portfolio – a challenge he has enjoyed. His responsibilities also include other alternatives strategies, such as commodities and risk parity.

Adri Chaikin

New York Presbyterian Hospital

Growing up in Atlantic Beach, Long Island, Adri Chaikin was surrounded by a menagerie. Her father was a vet, and their pets included seven or eight dogs, two turtles, several birds, and some snakes. Chaikin graduated from MIT in 2003 with a math major and an economics minor. She started her career as an analyst in the quantitative team of Goldman Sachs Group's Global Alpha group. After a little more than a year with Goldman, she joined a new private equity team being formed at Lehman Brothers. When Lehman filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September 2008, Chaikin chose to be part of the team that stayed on to help with the wind-down. She ended up working for the bankruptcy estate for more than three years. Chaikin then worked for Pine River Capital Management before going over to the asset allocator' side. She joined the investment office of New York Presbyterian Hospital in 2014, where she is director of investments. Now 36, Chaikin lives in Manhattan and has one dog, Stella. Back on Long Island the turtles are still going strong, as is one snake.

Martha deLivron

Texas Municipal Retirement System

The first days of June will be Martha deLivron's last as a senior investment analyst for absolute return strategies with the $25 billion Texas Municipal Retirement System. At 35, deLivron is moving to Hong Kong to join the marketing and IR team of Chinese hedge fund Oxbow Capital Management. She knew from an early age that she wanted to go into business, so she attended Babson College, a private business school in Wellesley, Massachusetts. After school, deLivron worked as research analyst with Birinyi Associates before moving to New York and joining fund-of-hedge-funds firm Permal Group, now EnTrustPermal. During her time at Permal, she spent three months working out of the Singapore office and traveling to Hong Kong. After close to ten years in funds of funds, deLivron felt it was time to do something different. While trying to decide between hedge fund marketing and working for an allocator, she landed a job with Texas Municipal in Austin, Texas. Now she is ready for a new challenge.

Tim Garry

Pelorus Jack Capital

All eyes are on Pelorus Jack Capital, the new hedge fund launched this year by Tim Garry and a team from San Francisco-based hedge fund Passport Capital. Garry left Passport in June 2016. He had been co-portfolio manager of Passport's long-short and liquid long-short equity strategies and head of the portfolio construction, risk, and quantitative strategies team. After coming to Passport from State Street Global Advisors in December 2007, Garry also set up the hedge fund firm's risk management and portfolio construction systems and served as head of risk. A graduate of Boston College, where he earned an MBA in finance and a bachelor's degree in philosophy and English, Garry, 37, now has the opportunity to build his own hedge fund on his own terms. With him are head trader David Tillman and head of investor relations Greg Leograndis, both of whom also previously worked at Passport.

Nick Graziano

Venetus Partners

Not many have had the opportunity to work alongside legendary buyout-king-turned-activist-investor Carl Icahn. Given Icahn's notoriously prickly and combative public profile, many would not want the job - but it was the making of Nick Graziano. The New Jersey native went to work for Icahn in 2004, having graduated from Duke University with a BA in economics a decade earlier. He helped Icahn build his activist hedge fund and while doing so got to know Icahn's lieutenant Keith Meister. Graziano then went to work for Tom Sandell at Sandell Asset Management, where he ran a $3 billion special situations group. In 2010 he was working at Omega Advisors when Meister asked him to join his new firm, Corvex Management. Graziano, 45, jumped at the chance, going on to spend over four years at Corvex before leaving in spring 2015 to co-found his own activist hedge fund firm, Venetus Partners. Venetus is now in the process of returning capital to investors, and the two partners plan to go their separate ways.

Ed Hetherington

UNC Management Co.

Ed Hetherington joined UNC Management Co. in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, in the late fall of 2014. He had previously spent more than 14 years in the pension office of UPS. Hetherington, 37, joined UPS straight out of the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School, where he earned a BS in economics and was a member of the University of Pennsylvania crew team. After a summer internship at UPS - one of the top corporate pension plan investors in the country - Hetherington was hired as an analyst in the mergers and acquisitions group. By 2010 he rose to become director of public markets. At UNC, which manages the $2.8 billion endowment of the University of North Carolina, Hetherington is managing director of public markets investing.

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