At the age of 16, Russell Redenbaugh was at home building an experimental rocket when it suddenly exploded in his hands. He lost all but four fingers and sight in both eyes. But in the hospital, upon learning that he would be blind for the rest of his life, Russell vowed to himself that he would continue to live his life as if he was fully sighted.
To fulfill this promise, Russell decided against learning Braille. He continued his education at the local high school and then the University of Utah, where he graduated first in his class. After being rejected from both Stanford and Harvard Business schools because they didn’t believe a blind person could manage their programs, Russell convinced the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School to give him a chance. Russell not only managed the program, but came in fifth in his class.
After graduating, Russell joined Cooke & Bieler, then a small, boutique investment management firm where he eventually became chief investment officer and helped grow the firm to $6 billion in assets under management. After leading a sale of that firm and becoming a multi-millionaire in the process, Russell was appointed to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights by Senator Bob Dole who called him “a profile in courage and achievement.” Russell, who was the first handicapped person ever to be on the Commission, served for 16 years and received an inside look at how government policy is made and how it impacts both citizens and markets.
When he turned 50 in 1995, Russell started training in Brazilian jiu-jitsu to improve his physical fitness. He quickly became hooked on the sport and began competing in local competitions. In 2003, he decided to travel to Brazil for an international competition against sighted opponents. He won a gold medal in that competition and returned to Brazil in 2004 and 2005, again winning gold medals.
At Kairos, Russell has developed a unique investment style based on his past experiences and believes that shifts in government policy and incentives can not only lead one to know what to invest in, but also when to invest. At the Santangel’s Investor Forum, Russell will speak about how “narratives” often set securities prices and how he, despite being physically blind, is often able to “see” these narratives better than others.