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Ashley M. Smith

State Division Candidate

Manager of Advanced Analytics Services at Pinnacol Assurance

This information has not been edited by PERA. Please read the information carefully so that you can make an informed decision.

The deadline to vote is May 31, 2022.

Responses to Questions

Question 1: Interest on Serving on the PERA Board
Please briefly describe why you are interested in being elected to the PERA Board of Trustees.

I would like to offer my skills and experience to serve PERA members by continuing as a Trustee for PERA. PERA is an important establishment for many Colorado public employees. I value and respect the work of Colorado’s public employees. I want our members to feel confident in their future retirement prospects. I am committed to providing continued leadership and representation of our members’ interests.

Question 2: Views on PERA’s Mission/Vision
PERA’s mission is to provide retirement security for our members while ensuring the sustainability of the fund. PERA’s vision is to innovate and build on a tradition of service by being a trusted partner in order to meet the changing needs of our diverse membership. Please share your thoughts on these ideals.

PERA’s tradition of service and its focus on sustainable retirement security are the pillars on which it will continue to serve its members. In my experience of PERA, as an active member and current Trustee, I value and support PERA leadership’s awareness of environmental changes and how members want to interact and be supported. As a Trustee, I am committed to providing oversight, governance, and accountability as PERA navigates current and future needs. I will continue to voice my support for strategic innovation and clear measures of success towards fulfilling PERA’s mission.

Question 3: Funded Status—Challenges/Opportunities
Please describe what you consider as the biggest challenges and opportunities facing PERA in the next 4-5 years related to the funded status.

PERA must remain committed to Colorado public employees and their families, now and in the future. As individual members, we may not always agree on investment approaches and priorities. I believe we CAN agree on the importance of: a) honoring current liabilities and b) the trust funds’ solvency for future retirees. PERA needs to stay the course with its funding plan. Colorado legislators, too, need to stay the course with their commitment to providing a direct distribution as part of the funding strategy. PERA must continue to engage in trust-building actions with all its stakeholders.

Question 4: Serving the PERA Membership—Challenges/Opportunities
Please describe what you consider as the biggest challenges and opportunities facing PERA in the next 4-5 years related to serving the membership.

The experience our membership has with PERA is where its service culture has the best opportunity to shine. Whether early in career, nearing retirement, or currently receiving benefits, PERA has an opportunity with each member milestone and interaction to help its members plan for the future. In the past year alone, PERA has delivered significant improvements towards improving the member experience. Serving our membership in the face of continued economic and other shifts requires PERA to keep an ear to the ground to identify opportunities to respond, educate, and evolve the way it serves members’ varying needs.

Question 5: Challenges/Opportunities Facing PERA
Please describe what you consider as other areas of challenge/opportunity facing PERA.

Our world has experienced rapid shifts in the last couple of years. Recovering from the shocks of the COVID pandemic, there are many uncertainties around the future of work and how to best address labor shortages, especially within our schools. There are also increasing pressures to create policy around and react to environmental/social/governance related issues. Carefully crafting effective policies to protect members’ interests is both a challenge and opportunity for PERA. With an engaged Board and staff, I have confidence PERA can shape a solid path and provide a trusted retirement platform for Colorado public employees.