Blackstone’s Joan Solotar, ’86, Delivers Massry Lecture

By Michael Parker

ALBANY, N.Y. (Nov. 3, 2022) — The first in her family to graduate from college, Joan Solotar, the Global Head of Private Wealth Solutions at Blackstone, says she's "a self-described accidental tourist."

After hearing from friends who had attended UAlbany and "loved it," Solotar had the idea to get her degree in political science and go on to law school. But after she took her first business class, her mindset changed completely.

Solotar, who graduated from UAlbany in 1986, now serves on the Blackstone's Management Committee as well as the board of directors of First Eagle Investment Management. On Friday, Oct. 28, Solotar delivered the University at Albany's 6th Annual Massry Lecture in a conversation format with UAlbany President Havidán Rodríguez.

"The Business school changed my life," said Solotar during the lecture, noting how longtime Assistant Dean for Career Services John Levato helped guide her as a student toward her profession.

In reflecting on her time at the University, Solotar offered sage advice to students and explore the "breadth" of offerings that the University offers.

"Spread your wings. ... You have so many areas of interest, including Atmospheric Sciences, which is so important to today," said Solotar.

After she completed her bachelor’s degree in Management Information Systems from UAlbany, Solotar followed by earning MBA in Finance from New York University.

A staunch supporter of her alma mater, Solotar has championed the University’s  Blackstone Launch Pad initiative, which helps drive economic development in communities around the University. The program increases the likelihood that students will remain and develop their ideas within the region and prepares students to enter the modern workforce with a flexible and entrepreneurial mindset.

Solotar also recently served co-chair of UAlbany’s most recent fundraising campaign and currently serves on the Advancement Advisory Council. She visits campus regularly to speak to classes, provide career counseling, and mentor female students and her scholarship recipients.

At the Massry lecture, Solotar advised the many students in attendance to be active on campus and build strong listening skills as they prepare for their future careers.

"When you're starting out, the greatest skills that you bring are attention to detail, working hard and really being thoughtful about what you're doing," said Solotar. "You're not going to have the judgment of a senior executive, but what you're doing is quite valuable, regardless of your role and whether you're working for a financial institution, a not-for-profit or anywhere."

Before joining Blackstone in 2007, Solotar was Head of Equity Research at Bank of America Securities and a financial services analyst at Credit Suisse and Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette. She is a member of the Board of Trustees of East Harlem Tutorial Program and East Harlem Scholars Academies. Solotar wrote a Harvard Business Review article entitled “Truths for our Daughters” and co-authored “Truths from My Daughter” with her daughter Lindsay.

The Massry Lecture Series, funded through a $5.25 million gift from the Massry family to support UAlbany’s School of Business, is one of a series activities that enrich the academic experience of UAlbany students through the generosity of the Massry family. Past speakers include David Solomon, chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs, Chris Corrado, ’81, global technology management expert, Mary Galligan, cybercsecurity and FBI specialist, Hany Farid, ’92, digital forensics expert and professor at UC Berkeley School of Information, and Benjamin Lawsky, attorney and New York’s first Superintendent of Financial Services.