y her own admission, Chanel Frazier ’07 likes making bold choices, so whenever she masters a new challenge, she looks to take on another one. But her newest post, as head of business strategy for the portfolio management group at the investment management giant BlackRock Inc., should be more than enough to keep Frazier occupied. The team for which she heads business strategy at the multinational business currently has approximately $4 trillion in assets under management. Yes, that’s “trillion” with a “t.”
During COVID-19, Frazier is even managing to do her job from home. “I can do everything I need to do from here,” she said.
Frazier was appointed to her current post after two years as chief of staff to the head of BlackRock’s Global Fixed Income and Multi-Asset Strategies group. That gave her both invaluable executive leadership training and an inside look at a sizable part of BlackRock’s business.
For Frazier, though, work has always been coupled with an emphasis on helping other women and people of color succeed. She is a leader in BlackRock’s Black Professionals Network and is active in its Women’s Initiative Network, and is a board member of Gibney Dance, a social justice arts organization.
Last summer, EMpower named Frazier one of its Top 100 Minority Executives for 2020. “Throughout her tenure at the firm,” her awarders said, “she has focused on the retention of Black professionals through mentorship, managerial- and leadership-level advocacy, and contributions to a firmwide working group focused on how Black professionals experience BlackRock.”
After graduating from UVA, where she served in leadership roles in the Black Law Students Association and was an editor for the Virginia Tax Review, Frazier began her career as a tax attorney at Schulte Roth & Zabel. As if that didn’t keep her busy enough, she earned an LL.M. in taxation from New York University—at night—while working as an associate. In 2010, she moved to PricewaterhouseCoopers, eventually becoming director of their international tax services practice, and joined BlackRock three years later as a mergers and acquisitions tax counsel.
As usual, the urge to take on bigger challenges was strong. “I wanted to do more,” Frazier said. “It was great to be on the client side, but I always wondered, what actually happens when a client takes our advice? How do they implement it? I’m a natural problem-solver, so I wanted to do more of that.”
Asked about her goals in her new post, Frazier emphasized both her work for the firm and helping others to follow in her footsteps. “I’m always focused on ensuring that we are doing our best in how we deliver for our clients,” she said. “As the leader of an organization and a Black woman leader, I also think about the broader picture, where are we creating safe spaces and retaining and developing talent, but also that we remain keenly focused on diversity as an integral part of our business.”