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Monday, April 15, 2013

Committed to Diversity: Yuri Vanetik '98, Dedicated to Giving Back

It should come as no surprise that Yuri Vanetik ’98 brings an international perspective to his work as an investor, philanthropist, and political coalition builder.

Vanetik immigrated to California from Ukraine in 1976. Though he was only six years old at the time, the experience had a lasting impact on his approach to life and career.

“I think I take less for granted and feel greater responsibility,” he says. “I call it ‘the immigration burden.’ I owe it to my family because of the risks they took to come here.”

Vanetik, who had planned to pursue a career in academia, graduated from UC Berkeley and studied political philosophy at Oxford. But he decided that the pace of academic life wasn’t right for him, so he switched tracks and matriculated at UC Hastings.

“UC Hastings provided amazing training for life, not just career,” he says. “It taught me how to be a practical problem solver and made me more solutions-oriented.”

After graduation, he practiced corporate law at Kirkpatrick and Lockhart and later was a founding partner of Iger, Koehler and Vanetik. He continually found himself drawn to the deal-making side of business.

“I always looked to the legal profession as a set of skills,” he says. “I wanted to do deals. For me, becoming a lawyer was a rite of passage.”

Now, Vanetik runs a private equity firm, investing in oil, mining, real estate, and technology. In addition, he is active in Republican politics and played a key role in recent presidential and gubernatorial races. He is also involved with a number of nonprofits, including Miracles for Kids, which provides aid to children with life-threatening illnesses and their families.

“This work imbues my life with meaning,” he says. “When I’m involved with philanthropy, I find like-minded people, and they become lifelong friends.”

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