Meet Traven Joseph

Traven visiting Vista House in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area in 2018.

Traven visiting Vista House in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area in 2018.

Group Health Foundation is excited to announce Traven Joseph as our first investment intern. Currently an MBA student at the University of Oregon (UO), Traven is specializing in finance and securities analysis.

“Traven is one of the most motivated people I’ve met,” said Group Health Foundation CIO Muthu Muthiah. “He is great with follow-up and has clear passion for markets. He has all the right qualities to be successful in this field.”

Traven said he is driven by community because it’s an important part of his identity. While he considers Gresham, Oregon, his first community because it’s where he grew up, he also considers the communities that raised his parents as his own. His father is Koyukon Athabaskan and grew up in Tanana, Alaska, and his mother is from the Aaniiih Nation. The summers Traven spent in Montana with his mother’s family and community have shaped his academic and career interests.

As an undergrad, also at UO, Traven first took political science and similar classes to better understand history and power. It wasn’t until he enrolled in business courses and read the book, “Reservation ‘Capitalism’: Economic Development in Indian Country,” by Robert J. Miller that his interests started to connect.

“There’s this one part where the author talks about the tribes in Montana and how they lose power to reinvest in their communities because dollars were going to economies outside the reservation,” Traven said. “I remember having a moment where I asked, ‘How do we change that? How do we reinvest dollars in these communities?’ It sparked me to learn more about the fundamentals of finance and how I can better identify investment opportunities, which has been a process I’ve enjoyed. I hope to use this knowledge to benefit my communities.”

Traven sees his time at Group Health Foundation as part of this learning. “I believe in providing for generations that come after you and creating long-term benefits for everyone, so when I heard that the Foundation has an investment team in-house who creates capital and reinvests that capital in communities, it really spoke to what I believe in and what I want to do.”

Muthu hopes Traven will be the first of many investment interns who are aligned with the Foundation’s values and mission and who hold lived experiences that are so needed in the industry. “Young people may see investment work as work for the sake of profit and many don’t know you can invest for the greater good,” he said. “It’s about exposure, and I hope through internships we can show more young people that it’s possible to have a meaningful investment career that’s aligned with their values.”

This summer, Traven will work with the investment team to ensure the Foundation’s investment databases and systems are running properly, run data models, report data analytics, and draft memos on potential investment managers as part of the due diligence process.

Previously, Traven was a legislative aide for U.S. Rep. Suzanne Bonamici in Washington, D.C., through the Mark O. Hatfield Fellowship program. Outside of school and work, Traven is a co-founder of the Indigenous 20 Something Project, or I20SP, a program that creates space for Native people in their twenties to talk about healing and wellness in order to end intergenerational trauma.