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Cameron Khajavi

MIK Capital

When Cameron Khajavi, 39, married his fiance, Victoria, earlier this year, John Legend performed at their wedding. Khajavi and Legend, whose given name is John Stephens, had become friends during their early days as young business professionals in New York. While Legend went on to a dazzling music career, Khajavi, who grew up in Houston, Texas, has become a star in his own right - in hedge funds. Before attending business school at Duke University, Khajavi worked as an investment banker at Lazard. Once he received his MBA, he joined Citadel as an analyst specializing in consumer and technology stocks. In 2014 he went to Blackstone and launched his own hedge fund business, MIK Capital. MIK, a long-short equity fund, is currently running a roughly $300 million separate account exclusively for Blackstone, but is looking to raise capital from outside investors as well.

Ryan Kus

New Holland Capital Management

New York-based New Holland Capital Management, the hedge fund investment arm of $470 billion Dutch pension plan ABP, is one of those best-in-class investor groups highly regarded by those in the know but which tend to fly under the radar of the less well-informed. Ryan Kus, 33, came to New York by way of hedge fund consulting firm Albourne Partners. After graduating from Michigan State University in 2002 with a double degree in finance and economics, Kus got a job with the National Futures Association. The position involved a lot of regulatory work with hedge funds, and Kus got to know the industry and the way it operates. In 2012, he relocated from Chicago, where the NFA is based, to New York and got a job in due diligence with Albourne. By fall 2015, he had landed as director of operational due diligence at New Holland Capital.

Will Maslovsky

Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

The $1.8 billion portfolio of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation has undergone a transition since Elizabeth Hewitt joined as chief investment officer in 2015. Will Maslovsky has been a key part of designing and implementing the new portfolio. A New Jersey native, Maslovsky, 38, attended the University of Delaware, where he received a BS in finance. Now, as Alfred P. Sloan's senior investment director, Maslovsky is responsible for fund sourcing, due diligence, and ongoing monitoring of the foundation's external managers. That includes hedge funds, private credit, and hybrid strategies. Hewitt and Maslovsky worked together back in the early 2000s at Lazard Asset Management, where they were part of a small team that built the fund-of-hedge-funds business there from scratch. So when Hewitt joined Alfred P. Sloan, she reached out to Maslovsky - who had moved on from Lazard - to see if he wanted to come onboard. Maslovsky jumped at the chance.

Allan Merrill

Eton Park Capital Management

After growing up in Chilliwack, British Columbia, Allan Merrill was the first person in his family to attend college. He received his undergraduate degree from Simon Fraser University in Canada, but it was only when he got to Harvard University, where he completed a joint business and law degree, that he really learned about the world of hedge funds. After graduating, Merrill joined Stark Investments, a multistrategy hedge fund based out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He left Stark in early 2007, moved to New York, and joined Eton Park Capital Management - where he's been ever since. Merrill was made a partner on January 1, 2014, and heads up the firm's merger event-driven group. With Eton Park in the process of returning capital to investors and turning into a family office, Merrill, 41, is expected to announce new career plans shortly.

Leigh Nisonson

Consonance Capital

Call Leigh Nisonson a Renaissance woman. At Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, she started out pre-med before graduating with a major in studio art. Nisonson then switched back to her left brain, earning a law degree from the University of Virginia Law School in 2004. She practiced law for a couple of years at Sidley Austin in New York, where her role put her in frequent contact with fund managers. Nisonson decided she wanted to work directly for a hedge fund - but in marketing or investor relations. When she couldn't find a hedge fund willing to hire her in the area she wanted, Nisonson left Sidley Austin to start her own business - selling art. This gave her the experience her resume had lacked. In March 2015 she was hired by Consonance Capital - a $1 billion New York hedge fund specializing in health care investments - as its head of capital raising.

Jed Nussbaum

Nut Tree Capital Management

As hedge fund names go, Nut Tree Capital Management might not exactly trip off the tongue, but it makes far more sense in the context of Jed Nussbaum's pedigree. Nussbaum, 41, launched Nut Tree in the summer of 2015 after having spent more than 11 years at well-known distressed-and-stressed-credit hedge fund manager Redwood Capital Management. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey-based Redwood was founded in 2000 by Jonathan Kolatch, who had previously headed up the credit arbitrage group at Goldman, Sachs & Co. Nussbaum joined Redwood in 2003, part of a second wave of talent to join the firm. A graduate of Tufts University and Harvard Business School, Nussbaum made partner at Redwood in 2010. Now, with the blessing of Kolatch and the team, he is branching out on his own. His firm launched in 2015 with $100 million and a seed investment from Investcorp. Today it has more than $400 million.

Lynn O'Connell

Aksia

Lynn O'Connell grew up in the Bronx, the daughter of first-generation Irish immigrants. Her parents, a nurse and a car salesman, moved to the States shortly before O'Connell, 29, was born. She went to public school in New York and attended the State University of New York at Binghamton, where she majored in financial economics. Graduating in 2009 into one of the worst job markets in recent memory, O'Connell landed a job as an operations associate with asset manager ICON Capital in New York. In 2012, Aksia, which had launched five years previously, hired her as a junior analyst. She has been with the hedge fund investment consulting firm ever since.

Michael Orecchio

Schonfeld Strategic Advisors

Michael Orecchio likes industry. After beginning his career as an analyst and working in investment banking, Orecchio, 33, got his start in hedge funds working for KSA MidOcean, a long-short equity fund focused on global industrials and materials and headed up by industrials expert Daniel Khoshaba. Having learned from the master, Orecchio left KSA in 2013 to join new investment fund YG Partners as head of industrials and materials. This job was followed by a stint at Blue Crest Capital Management. This year Orecchio, who studied economics at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, joined Schonfeld Strategic Advisors. There he is incubating his own long-short equity fund focused on global industrials and materials.

Tyson Pratcher

New York State Common Retirement Fund

It never occurred to Tyson Pratcher that he would still be working for the New York State Common Retirement Fund ten years after joining in June 2007. The son of a schoolteacher and a truck driver, Pratcher, 41, grew up in Memphis, Tennessee, and attended Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia, before moving to New York to attend law school at Columbia University. After school he practiced law at Davis Polk & Wardwell for more than three years before leaving to work for the then-junior senator of New York State, Hillary Clinton. As deputy state director, Pratcher supervised the seven offices in the state of New York and was the in-state main political adviser. Pratcher left the senator's office in October 2006 and did some volunteer work for Clinton's first presidential campaign. In mid-2007 he got the opportunity to join the investment office of the New York State pension fund. Pratcher was asked to build an emerging-manager program aimed at increasing the representation of women- and minority-owned money mangers within the pension plan. It seemed like an interesting challenge, one that could keep Pratcher busy until Hillary Clinton was elected president and he found a job in D.C. That day never came. Instead, Pratcher has worked his way steadily up at the retirement fund, in 2015 becoming director of absolute return investing. Today he oversees the opportunistic portfolio.

Jason Rector

State of Wisconsin Investment Board

Jason Rector did not have to stray far from home to land his dream job. Wisconsin-born and -bred, he grew up in the small city of Wisconsin Dells and earned a BS in finance from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Rector graduated in 2009, during the heart of the financial crisis - a hard time for job hunting - but in 2010 landed his first investment job, working in operational due diligence at Chicago-based financial services firm Mesirow Financial. He had previously interned at multistrategy hedge fund firm Stark Investments. An expertise in due diligence proved to be good training for hedge fund investing post-2008, and Rector subsequently moved on to a hedge fund investment analyst role with Mesirow. Then, in January 2015, Rector joined the State of Wisconsin Investment Board as an analyst. Among the most sophisticated large U.S. pension plans, the $99 billion SWIB is the perfect environment for him to thrive in.

Andrew Rechtschaffen

Arex Capital

The past few years have been something of a do-over for Andrew Rechtschaffen. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School and spending a couple of years in investment banking, Rechtschaffen, 39, joined hedge fund firm Greenlight Capital Management in 2002. At the time, Greenlight had only about $800 million in assets, and it took him only until 2005 to make partner. That same year Rechtschaffen was recruited to join Citadel. He spent a few years there, leaving in 2008 to launch his own hedge fund, Obrem Capital Management. Starting a fund in 2008 proved a challenge; Obrem sustained losses almost immediately and shut down a few years later. Rechtschaffen returned to Greenlight and made partner again in January 2014. Last year he left to launch a new firm, Arex Capital. The new fund will have a concentrated portfolio, primarily in equity but with some opportunistic distressed debt. It is expected to launch October 1. Greenlight founder David Einhorn has said there is no third shot at Greenlight partnership.

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