6 Women to Watch in ETFs

6 Women to Watch in ETFs

In recognition of International Women's Day today March 8, we spotlight six ETF industry female pioneers.

Finance Reporter
Reviewed by: etf.com Staff
Edited by: Ron Day
6 Women to Watch
Anna Paglia
Joanna Gallegos
Patricia Lizarraga
Cinthia Murphy
Elisabeth Kashner
Deborah Fuhr

The ETF industry has grown and changed dramatically over the past three decades, and in no small part due to the efforts of women. From SPDR Woman Kathleen Moriarty, who help lay the industry's foundation, to the others who create funds, sell them, write the rules and lead teams, women's participation has been key in creating an industry that's reshaped the financial world.


This is the first in a series of pieces this month highlighting women to watch in the ETF industry. 

Anna Paglia, State Street Global Advisors

Paglia says that the ETF vehicle was what originally sparked her interest in finance and drove her to pursue a career in asset management. When she was practicing law in Italy, she was immediately fascinated by ETF wrapper—which was then in its infancy. 


“At that time, access to financial markets seemed limited to the wealthy segment of the population," she said. "When I stumbled across ETFs, which were novel and unappreciated back then, I was fascinated by the fact that even an investor of modest means could benefit from immediate access to financial markets and the compounding effect of investments and savings,” she explained.


Now, as State Street Global Advisors' executive vice president and chief business officer, Paglia oversees the firm’s growth strategy for its global ETFs and index funds. In her previous role as global head of ETFs at Invesco, she grew the firm’s platform to $460 billion in 350 ETFs.

Joanna Gallegos, BondBloxx

Gallegos says she was first drawn to a career in finance in college, when she felt a spark of interest in her intro to economics class. As the co-founder and COO of fixed income-focused ETF issuer BondBloxx, she has helped create more than 175 ETFs over the course of her career. Prior to helping to found BondBloxx, she was the Head of U.S. ETFs at J.P. Morgan Asset Management and, before that, Senior Product Manager at BlackRock’s iShares.


Gallegos stressed when choosing jobs the importance of finding the right manager and co-workers who fit well with you. “You want to be surrounded by people that are working equally as hard and working hard with you,” she explained. 

Patricia Lizarraga

When Lizarraga had her first female CEO client as an investment banker early in her career, she was particularly impressed. “I started realizing at the time that there was data that showed that women in leadership added to the performance of companies,” she explained. “The reason we think women CEOs will outperform is just because it’s harder for them to get there.


Now Lizarraga is the managing partner of Hypatia Capital, an asset management firm focused specifically on women in CEO and leadership positions. The Hypatia Women CEO ETF (WCEO) ETF invests in small and large cap American companies with women CEOs at the helm. 

Cinthia Murphy, ETF Think Tank

Murphy is the Head of Research and Content at ETF Think Tank, the research arm of Tidal Financial group. Before joining ETF Think Tank, she was a financial journalist, working at Dow Jones and etf.com.


“Financial journalism has been really rewarding for me because it’s about telling the story of building financial security and wealth,” Murphy explained. “It’s a human story at heart, which I love.”

Elisabeth Kashner, FactSet

In her role as Director of ETF Research and Analytics at FactSet, Kashner oversees one of the largest providers of data on ETF and mutual fund performance and categorization. Before her role at FactSet, Kashner was the Director of Research at etf.com, where she helped build the company's data arm from the ground up.


Kashner emphasized that young women pursuing a career in the ETF industry should consider their larger mission. "Think really long and hard about who you are and what you want to do, how best to accomplish it, and how it makes the world a better place," she said. 

Deborah Fuhr, ETFGI

In 2012 Fuhr launched ETFGI, a research platform for the global ETF industry. She said that she saw an opening for more robust data tracking for ETFs outside the U.S. “It was easy to get information for the U.S. market, it was harder to get consistent information on a global basis,” she said of founding ETFGI.


Since then, ETGFI has grown to become the preeminent data and research platform for investors, advisors and industry watchers. 


Before launching ETFGI, Fuhr held research roles at BlackRock Inc., Morgan Stanley, and Greenwich Associates. She also founded Women in ETFs, an industry organization that supports networking, events and philanthropy that's grown to more than 10,000 members around the world.

Lucy Brewster is a finance reporter at etf.com covering asset managers, emerging technologies, and regulation. She hosts etf.com webinars and appears on Exchange Traded Fridays, etf.com’s flagship podcast. She previously was a finance fellow at Fortune Magazine where she covered markets, investment strategy, and venture capital. She has also been a freelancer writer at the publication Mergers & Acquisitions and a research fellow at the Historic Hudson Valley. 

She graduated from Vassar College in 2022 with a degree in History and was an editor of The Miscellany News, the college's award winning student run newspaper. 

Lucy lives in Brooklyn, NY, and in her free time she loves to run and find new recipes to cook.