As a private equity analyst at the MacArthur Foundation, Rob Balderrama helps manage the investment team’s private equity portfolio and spends his time conducting due diligence on investment opportunities. As a Mexican American, he’s been proud to see his work play a role in bringing investment capital to firms led by women and people of color.
In a Q&A with NextGen Collective, he talks about the importance of that work, his passion for impacting his community through volunteering, and more.
What do you do today?
I work in the investments team at the MacArthur Foundation, helping manage our private equities portfolio of venture capital, growth equity, and buyouts exposure. It is a broadly diversified returns-oriented portfolio that ultimately supports our grantmaking endeavors. My work involves analyzing and conducting due diligence on investment opportunities.
What is your greatest career accomplishment to date?
I’ve been fortunate to take part in the decision-making process of sizable capital deployment efforts, particularly when it comes to identifying investment firms of underrepresented backgrounds. Investment firms led by women and people of color have historically had challenges in attracting investment capital due to a variety of reasons, so being able to represent similar backgrounds on the capital allocator side is incredibly gratifying.
What is your greatest personal accomplishment to date?
I am very proud to be the first in my family to graduate college.
How do you tackle problems and overcome challenges?
I like to solve problems through a systematic and analytical approach. I pride myself in my ability to incorporate individualization into the way I assess issues while gathering the relevant information. I think being adaptable and communicating properly can be the best way to solve problems.
What do you do today to impact your community?
I am involved with the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Shapers organization through the Chicago Hub. Our work seeks to address local challenges in entrepreneurship, policy, education, and employment. These are all causes that I am passionate about and believe everyone can take part in improving their community. I am also an auxiliary board member at the National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago. I wanted to become involved with an organization that can help connect me to my culture while immersing myself in the arts.
Describe yourself in five words.
Ambitious, collaborative, achiever, futuristic, and competitive.
What are your future goals?
I aspire to work with great investment managers in the industry and be an advocate for diverse perspectives. Recognizing the ever-evolving nature of the investment industry, I am committed to continuous learning and mentoring others along the way.
What is your favorite form of self-care?
I enjoy exercise and view this as a healthy outlet for both physical and mental self-care.
What do you like to do for fun when you’re not working?
I enjoy international travel for the unique cultures and food, most recently having visited Bogota, Colombia. I am a passionate Minnesota sports fan.
What does making NextGen Collective’s 30 Under 30 list mean to you?
Being recognized as part of the list is an immense honor and a validation of my hard work and impact in the Hispanic community. This recognition amplifies my accomplishments and enables me to inspire other young professionals, especially those from underrepresented backgrounds.
What is your personal theme song?
Despacito by Luis Fonsi.
What is your Latino background?
I am Mexican American. I was born and raised in Minnesota and currently reside in Chicago. Both of my parents are from Chihuahua, Mexico.
Editor‘s note: This Q&A has been edited for clarity.