Mutual Fund & ETF Awards 2024: Newcomer Trustee of the Year nominees

Fresh faces make big impacts at SPDR, Blackstone, Heartland and John Hancock

Every year, Fund Directions’ annual awards recognize achievements in the world of fund oversight.

This year’s nominees for the Newcomer Trustee of the Year award – which acknowledges excellence among fund trustees who joined their boards within the last five years – include trustees from the Select Sector SPDR Trust, the Blackstone closed-end funds, the Heartland Funds, and the John Hancock Funds.

The winners will be announced the night of June 18 at the Mutual Fund & ETF Awards in New York City.

Look for more awards coverage, including a profile of our soon-to-be-announced Lifetime Achievement Award winner, in the June digital issue of Fund Directions.

Congratulations, and good luck to all the nominees.

Newcomer Trustee of the Year nominees

James Jessee, Select Sector SPDR Trust

Jessee, 66, joined the board of State Street Global Advisors’ Select Sector SPDR Trust in 2021.

Jessee was an independent director of the closed-end Yieldstreet Prism Fund from 2019 to 2022, sat on the corporate board of Waddell & Reed from 2019 to 2021, and was a governor of the Investment Company Institute from 2014 to 2018.

Prior to his career as a fund director, Jessee worked for 30 years at MFS Investment Management, during which he held numerous senior leadership roles focused on intermediary distribution, which culminated in his appointment as president of MFS Fund Distributors.

Jessee’s legacy at MFS earned him a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018 from FD sister publication Fund Action, which has been merged into the With Intelligence Lifetime Achievement Award sponsored by FD parent company With Intelligence.

Jane Siebels, Blackstone Closed-end Funds

Siebels, 64, joined the boards of four Blackstone closed-end credit funds in 2021 and became lead independent trustee in 2023.

Siebels is the CEO of Bahamas-based tracking-technology manufacturer Homer Technology, which she founded in 2014. Siebels also founded Green Cay Asset Management, for which she served as CIO and CEO from 1997 to 2022.

She previously held portfolio management roles at Franklin Templeton from 1990 to 1997, at UBS from 1989 to 1990, and at Norwegian asset manager Storebrand from 1984 to 1990.

She currently sits on the boards of ScotiaBank Bahamas and First Trust Bank Bahamas.

Dina Tantra, Heartland Funds

Tantra, 54, joined the board of the Heartland Funds in 2022 and became chair of the board in January 2024.

Tantra is also an independent director of the Boston Trust Walden Funds and the Thornburg Income Builder Opportunities Trust.

In March 2024, Tantra was elected to the board of the Mutual Fund Directors Forum.

She co-founded consulting firm Global Rhino, LLC, where she has served as co-ceo since 2018. She also served as chief strategy officer of Joot, a compliance-technology firm affiliated with Global Rhino, from 2019 to 2023.

Prior to founding Global Rhino, Tantra spent more than two decades in fund services, holding senior roles at Ultimus Fund Solutions, Foreside Financial Group, Northern Trust, and Beacon Hill Fund Services.

Frances Rathke, John Hancock Funds

Rathke, 64, has chaired the audit committee of the John Hancock Funds since 2022, after joining the board in 2020.

Rathke currently sits on the boards and chairs the audit committees of Planet Fitness, Green Mountain Power Corporation, and plant-based beverage company Oatly.

Rathke is the former CFO and treasurer of the Keurig Green Mountain coffee company, where she worked from 2003 to 2015. She previously worked as an independent financial consultant to emerging businesses and held senior roles including CFO at Ben & Jerry’s from 1989 to 2000. She began her career as an accountant at Pricewaterhouse Coopers in 1982.