Sheelah Kolhatkar

Speech Topics

For decades, the conventional view among economists was that technological advances create as many new jobs as they take away. In recent years, however, economists have become increasingly concerned that the pace of technological innovation has become so fast that many categories of human workers will be eliminated, without equivalent new job creation—by one estimate, nearly half of all American occupations could be automated in the next twenty years. How can companies, workers, policy makers and educators prepare for the challenges and opportunities that will come along with our robotic future?

Hedge funds began as a boutique industry that catered to wealthy investors, but were so successful that they generated historical levels of wealth for the most successful hedge fund founders, creating the modern era’s equivalent of the Robber Barons: billionaires who exert powerful influence in business, the market, politics and the arts. No one personifies the allure, and the perils, of the hedge fund world better than Steven A. Cohen, the founder of the giant hedge fund SAC Capital, who became the target of one of the largest securities fraud investigations in the history of Wall Street.

American business seems to be experiencing something of an ethical crisis, with major corporations finding themselves at the center of financial fraud allegations, sexual harassment charges, environmental crises and other scandals. Drawing on her work hosting a public television series on business ethics, and her investigative journalism covering some of the most complex and fascinating business corruption cases of the day, Kolhatkar looks at how we got to this point and how business leaders can help create a tone at the top that brings out the most ethical, and effective, business decisions.


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Sheelah Kolhatkar, a former hedge fund analyst, is a staff writer and financial columnist at The New Yorker, where she writes about Wall Street, Silicon Valley, technology, economics and national politics. Previously, she was a features editor and national correspondent at Bloomberg Businessweek, and a regular contributor to Bloomberg Television. Her book Black Edge: Inside Information, Dirty Money, and the Quest to Bring Down the Most Wanted Man on Wall Street was a New York Times bestseller, a New York Times Book Critics’ Top Book of 2017, and was named one of Amazon’s Top 5 Business Books of 2017, among other honors. It takes readers inside the rise and fall of one of the world’s most powerful hedge funds and explores the way that the hedge fund industry helped transform Wall Street and the U.S. economy.

Kolhatkar has appeared as a commentator on business and economic issues on CNBC, MSNBC, PBS, CBS, NPR and contributes regularly to NPR’s Marketplace and WNYC’s Money Talking. She has given talks, moderated panels and conducted interviews at numerous live events, including the New Yorker Festival’s TechFest, the United Nations, Advertising Week, the Women’s Innovation Forum and the Business for Social Responsibility Conference. Her written work has also appeared in The Atlantic, The New York Times, The New York Times Book Review, Time, New York Magazine and other publications.

Before becoming a journalist, she spent several years as a risk arbitrage analyst at two hedge funds in New York City. Sheelah holds an undergraduate degree from New York University and a M.A. from Stanford University. She lives in New York.

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