Connecticut Treasurer Denise Nappier has been selected by Northeast Women in Public Finance as the first winner of its Freda Johnson Award, recognizing her years of service as a trailblazing woman in public finance and efforts to encourage the development of women’s careers in the industry.
The inaugural award, named for the longtime analyst and financial advisor who retired this spring after a more than 30-year career in municipal finance, will be presented during The Bond Buyer’s Deal of the Year Awards Dinner on Dec. 8th.
Nappier is the first African American woman to be elected state treasurer in the United States, and the first woman elected treasurer in Connecticut history. She was also a founding member of Northeast Women in Public Finance.
In office, Nappier oversees Connecticut’s short-term and retirement plan investments, totalling more than $52 billion, while also managing the state’s bond finances.
In the statements nominating her for the award, Northeast Women in Public Finance members cited her role as a leader in the municipal industry who has made decisive calls to help promote the long-term fiscal stability of the state. Her efforts included the extraordinary steps she took to complete a 2007 pension-obligation bond issue amid the market turmoil sparked by the meltdown in the subprime mortgage sector.
In addition, as state treasurer and in her previous role at the city of Hartford, Nappier has repeatedly promoted women into key roles, including state assistant treasurer Sarah Sanders and Connecticut Health and Educational Facilities Authority managing director Janette Weldon.
The Freda Johnson Award was created to recognize women who have served in public sector finance roles and who exemplify commitment to financial best practices — including transparency and rigorous analysis — while also helping expand the number of women in senior roles in the industry through advocacy and mentorship.
Johnson retired this spring from Government Finance Associates, the financial advisory firm she ran with her husband, Chester, for 21 years. Previously, she ran the public finance department at Moody’s Investors Service and was the first woman on the executive committee at Moody’s then-parent, Dun and Bradstreet.