Key Professionals - Biographies

    John Abunassar
    Mr. Abunassar is a member of the William Blair Fund of Funds Investment Committee and is responsible for providing strategic and tactical guidance on manager research, strategy and portfolio construction for the William Blair Fund of Funds. Prior to joining William Blair in April 2011, he was a Principal at Guidance Capital and a member of the firm’s investment committee.  Prior to joining Guidance Capital in November 2009, he was President and CEO of Allegiant Asset Management and was also President and CEO of the Allegiant Funds. Prior to joining Allegiant, Mr. Abunassar spent 11 years with Banc One Investment Advisors, where he was senior managing director of institutional asset management, a member of the Board of Directors, and a member of the investment management policy committee. Earlier in his career, Mr. Abunassar was an investment consultant with The Capital Control Group. He began his career as a pension consultant at Hewitt Associates. Mr. Abunassar holds his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Business from Lake Forest College and an M.B.A. in finance from Keller Graduate School of Management.
     
    D. Trowbridge “Toby” Elliman III
    Mr. Elliman is a member of the William Blair Fund of Funds Investment Committee and is responsible for manager research and portfolio construction for the William Blair Fund of Funds. Prior to joining William Blair in April 2011, Mr. Elliman was a co-founder and principal of Guidance Capital and a member of the firm’s investment committee. Prior to the formation of Guidance Capital in July 2001, he was a Senior Vice President and Financial Advisor with Morgan Stanley. At Morgan Stanley he worked with several major financial institutions developing and marketing alternative investment products. He also worked closely with Oxford Advisors Ltd. in developing and marketing a family of offshore hedge fund products, including the Oxford Strategic Income Fund and the Oxford Strategic Market Neutral Fund. Separately, Mr. Elliman managed private client assets at Morgan Stanley. Mr. Elliman has been in the investment management industry since 1980. Earlier in his career he was Head of Nonferrous Metals floor trading at Drexel Burnham in New York. Mr. Elliman holds a B.A. in Economics from Hampshire College.
     
    Christopher Walvoord
    Mr. Walvoord is a member of the William Blair Fund of Funds Investment Committee and is responsible for manager research and portfolio construction for the William Blair Fund of Funds. Prior to joining William Blair in April 2011, Mr. Walvoord was a principal of Guidance Capital and a member of the firm’s investment committee. Prior to joining Guidance Capital in August 2002, he was Director of Hedge Fund Investments at The Northern Trust Company. At Northern Mr. Walvoord oversaw all aspects of the investment process for the firm’s fund of hedge funds program. He previously served as a portfolio manager for the firm’s structured short-duration credit portfolios. Prior to joining Northern Trust in August 1996, Mr. Walvoord was an associate in John Nuveen and Company’s Capital Markets Group where he modeled municipal derivative transactions for investment banking clients. Mr. Walvoord holds a B.S. from the University of Illinois, an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California Berkeley and an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago, where he focused on finance and statistics.
     
    Brian Ziv, CFA
    Mr. Ziv is the Head of the William Blair Fund of Funds Investment Committee and is responsible for manager research and portfolio construction for the William Blair Fund of Funds. Prior to joining William Blair in April 2011, Mr. Ziv was a co-founder and principal of Guidance Capital and a member of the firm’s investment committee. Prior to the formation of Guidance Capital in July 2001, he was Chief Investment Officer of Graystone Wealth Management Services, a division of Morgan Stanley. He has continuous investment experience dating back to 1980. Mr. Ziv has published articles on a wide range of investment topics, including portfolio strategy, use of hedge funds and investment manager selection. Prior to joining Graystone in 1994 he founded and managed Ziv Asset Management, a value-oriented equity management firm. The firm also provided a range of specialized investment services to several national investment firms. Mr. Ziv has also served as Chief Investment Officer of a Frank Russell Adviser in Chicago. In the 1980s he was an equity analyst and a member of the Stock Selection Committee of Kidder Peabody & Co in New York. He holds a B.A. from Princeton University.
     
    Peter Carl
    Mr. Carl is a member of the William Blair Fund of Funds Investment Committee and is responsible for manager research, portfolio construction and risk management for the William Blair Fund of Funds.  Prior to joining William Blair in April 2011, Mr. Carl was responsible for hedge fund manager research at Guidance Capital and a member of the firm’s investment committee.  Prior to joining Guidance Capital in August 2006, Mr. Carl was Chief Operating Officer of Explorer Fund Advisors, where he developed and launched a quantitative global macro hedge fund. While at Explorer, he was responsible for portfolio and risk management, and infrastructure development. Before starting Explorer in 2002, Mr. Carl was an Executive Director at Union Bank of Switzerland (“UBS”) where he developed risk management services for hedge funds. While at UBS he also managed an exclusive relationship with Prediction Company, an independent research and development firm, to create an equity market-neutral proprietary trading business. Prior to joining UBS, Mr. Carl worked for O'Connor and Associates, a boutique options-trading firm from 1986 to 1992. The firm was acquired by Swiss Bank Corporation in 1992 and then merged with UBS in 1998. Mr. Carl holds a B.S. in Industrial Engineering/Management Science from Northwestern University and an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago, where he focused on finance.

    Jason Moede
    Mr. Moede is a member of the William Blair Fund of Funds Investment Committee and is responsible for manager research and portfolio construction for the William Blair Fund of Funds. Mr. Moede brings 17 years of investment research and management experience to the William Blair Fund of Funds Team. Prior to joining William Blair in September 2011, Mr. Moede was a portfolio manager and quantitative strategist with TradeLink, LLC where he managed both proprietary and hedge fund portfolios in the systematic futures space. Prior to joining TradeLink, Mr. Moede co-founded and acted as Managing Director of Constellation Investment Group, LLC (a JV partner of TradeLink). At Constellation, he was responsible for the research, development, and management of the company’s equity market neutral hedge fund. Before launching Constellation in June 2003, Mr. Moede was a Director at BCG ValueScience, a subsidiary of the Boston Consulting Group, which focused on shareholder value creation and management strategies for Fortune 500 companies. Prior to joining BCG ValueScience in May 2000, Mr. Moede also served as Business Development Manager at a subsidiary of Bechtel Enterprises from March 1997 to May 2000 and was an economist at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom from September 1994 to March 1997. Mr. Moede holds a B.A. degree in economics from Carleton College.
     
    Katie Austin
    Ms. Austin is a member of the William Blair Fund of Funds Investment Committee and is responsible for manager research and portfolio construction for the William Blair Fund of Funds.  Ms. Austin brings nine years of investment and trading experience to the William Blair Fund of Funds Team.  Prior to joining William Blair in September 2011, Ms. Austin was a Senior Associate at Opera Solutions, specializing in financial services consulting and alternative investment analysis.  Prior to joining Opera, Ms. Austin was a Senior Trader/Associate Analyst at Arience Capital, long/short equity hedge fund, from 2004 to 2008 where she focused on designing and implementing trading strategies for consumer, retail, technology and internet stocks and portfolio allocation.  Prior to Arience, Ms. Austin was an Associate Analyst at Centurion Investment Group, long/short equity hedge fund, from 2002 to 2004 where she conducted due diligence on current positions and new stock ideas.  Ms. Austin holds a B.A in Economics from Brown University and an M.B.A from The University of Michigan, where she focused in finance.
     
    Michael J. Jacobs
    Mr. Jacobs provides administrative legal and operational support for the William Blair Fund of Funds.  Prior to joining William Blair in June 2011, Mr. Jacobs was a Managing Member, General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer at Singer Partners, LLC from May 2009 to June 2011.  At Singer Partners, Michael was responsible for the firm’s operational, legal and compliance functions.  Prior to the formation of Singer Partners, he was a founding Partner, General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer at Adams Street Partners, LLC and its predecessor organization from December 1999 to May 2009.  At Adams Street, Michael oversaw fund formation, investment and corporate structure, regulatory compliance and client intake documentation.  Prior to the formation of Adams Street, he was a Partner, General Counsel and Compliance Officer for Brinson Partners, Inc. from October 1989 to December 1999. Mr. Jacobs has been in the investment management industry since 1989. Earlier in his career he was a regulatory attorney with the U.S. Treasury and a clerk to Justice C.T White of the Nebraska Supreme Court.  Education: BSBA cum laude, Regis University, JD, Creighton University.

    Donna Rafa
    Ms. Rafa provides administrative and operational support for the William Blair Fund of Funds.  Prior to joining William Blair in April 2011, she was the Compliance Officer at Guidance Capital and was responsible for legal and compliance functions for the firm and Guidance’s hedge fund products.  Prior to joining Guidance Capital in March 2004, Ms. Rafa worked at SEI Investments as the Legal Services Director for Alternative Investments in the firm’s Global Funds Services Division. Her responsibilities included developing a client service model for the delivery of legal services to alternative investments and providing legal/compliance support to alternative investment clients administered by SEI.  Ms. Rafa also managed outside counsel relationships and acted as a liaison between SEI service/operation teams and outside counsel.  She also provided legal support to SEI’s Dublin based administration and custodial companies.  Prior to her role as Legal Services Director, Ms. Rafa was responsible for the management, training, recruiting and oversight of the legal service managers within SEI’s legal department, managed the delivery of legal services to mutual fund clients administered by SEI, and was also a dedicated legal resource to four mutual fund administration clients.  Before joining SEI in 1996, she worked as a paralegal at Drinker, Biddle & Reath LLP in their Investment Management Division.  Ms. Rafa holds a B.B.A. in Business Law and Marketing from Temple University and paralegal certification in Corporate Finance & Business Law from The Philadelphia Institute for Paralegal Training.
     
    Lewis R. Stretch, III
    Mr. Stretch leads the Fund of Funds Operational Due Diligence Team.  Prior to joining William Blair in April 2011, he was the Controller at Guidance Capital and was primarily responsible for the financial operations of all of Guidance Capital’s hedge fund products.  Prior to joining Guidance Capital in May 2007, Mr. Stretch was a Director - Global Alternative Investment Services with PFPC, Inc.  At PFPC he managed eight client relationships and oversaw a group in charge of more than $3 billion in assets under administration.  The group performed NAV calculations on various style and structure funds including fund of funds.  Before joining PFPC in 2006, Mr. Stretch served as Director of Operations and CCO for Brandywine Asset Management, Inc.  He was a member of the management team and responsible for all operations of the funds and management company.  Before joining Brandywine in 2001, Mr. Stretch worked at SEI Investments as fund accountant and supervisor in SEI’s newly formed Alternative Investments Outsourcing Solutions group.  Mr. Stretch holds a B.S. in Business Administration – Accounting from Millersville University.

    Wendy Evans
    Ms. Evans is responsible for investor servicing for the William Blair Fund of Funds.  Prior to joining William Blair in April 2011, she was the Client Service Manager at Guidance Capital and was primarily responsible for investor servicing and administrative functions.  Prior to joining Guidance Capital in January 2002, she was a flight attendant with United Airlines from February 2000 to November 2001.  Prior to joining United Airlines in 2000, Ms. Evans was a property adjuster at United Service Automobile Association.  Ms. Evans holds an A.S. in Business from Wesley College.