Cynthia M. Ruiz: Empowering the Leader Within

By Karla Amador

Boston, MA — Cynthia M. Ruiz is the first Latina to become President of the pension board for the Los Angeles City Employees Retirement System (LACERS), an honor bestowed upon her by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. In her role, Ruiz oversees a pension fund of $17 billion dollars and works closely with Chief Investment Officer Rodney June to determine key investments for various asset classes.

It is a goal of Ruiz’s to create greater accessibility to the field of investment for people of color. She makes it a priority to support the LACERS emerging managers program to build relationships between smaller fund managers and investment professionals to forward their career goals.

“I have a strong responsibility to help more people of color break into the field. It is a civic duty to uplift other people of color,” she said.

Ruiz sees to this duty outside the investment arena as well. As the President and Founder of her own marketing agency, Cynthia M. Ruiz & Associates, Ruiz provides executive coaching, business development, & strategic development consulting.

Through CMR & Associates, corporate executives use the Gallup strengthsfinder test to hone in on their strengths and develop their own leadership styles through a variety of workshops ranging from building emotional intelligence, decision making, empowering women in leadership, and how to become a better leader.

“We’re all influencers and leaders in our daily lives, though many may not realize it; I truly believe that everyone and everybody can be a powerful leader,” she said.

Ruiz was inspired to help people of color find the leader within themselves when she noticed she was one of the few women in a leadership role during her years as the President of the Board of Public Works in Los Angeles, prior to her current position as the President of LACERS’ pension board.

Stepping into her true self as leader and empowerment coach is an ongoing journey for Ruiz. She draws upon the lessons learned while overcoming adversity in her early years and her indigenous Cherokee heritage to remain grounded in her sense of self and values.

“Cherokee societies were matriarchal, so a women’s role was to help restore balance, promote spirituality, and envision a future where the next generations can prosper,” she explained.

“Humility, harmony, and balance are such important values of my native heritage, so I lead with those values every day.”

A final professional insight from Ruiz is to remember this: “Anything is possible. First, you have to believe it’s possible. Second, you have to do the work. Lastly, you must never give up.”

Cynthia holds a Master’s of Science Degree in Counseling and has completed a Leadership Course at Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.


Cynthia M. Ruiz will serve as an Executive Speaker and lead the “Value-Driven Leadership” session at the SOLD OUT Women of Color Leadership and Empowerment Conference hosted by State Street Corp on Friday, June 22nd, 2018.