Freda Johnson Award Nominations

Freda Johnson Award Nominations

13th Annual Freda Johnson Awards

Honoring Trailblazing Women in Public Finance


NEWPF is proud to announce that The Bond Buyer will present the 13th annual Freda Johnson Awards at their Annual Deal of the Year Awards, to be revealed on December 5, 2023. The Freda Johnson Award has been created in honor of NEWPF Founding Board Member Freda Johnson, whose highly successful career in public finance has been an inspiration to many people, particularly women in the industry.  

The award recognizes a woman serving or who has served in a position for a public or non-profit issuer who exemplifies the qualities that Freda brought to our industry as a trailblazer, leader, innovator, and mentor. 

We are honoring a leader and trailblazer representing public finance from the private sector in addition to honoring a woman from the public sector.

In addition to the Freda Johnson Awards, NEWPF will also recognize several Trailblazers for their outstanding commitment to the industry as a whole and the role of women within it. The Trailblazers will also be recognized at the Deal of the Year event.

To learn more about Freda Johnson, please see below.

Who is Eligible for this Award?

In keeping with tradition, the winners of the Freda Johnson Awards will be selected jointly by The Bond Buyer and NEWPF. Women who were recognized as Trailblazers in previous years may have their names submitted for consideration.

Candidates for the Freda Johnson Public Sector Award and the Freda Johnson Private Sector Award will have demonstrated the following:

• Been a "trailblazer" and a recognized leader in the public finance industry;
• Taken initiative with respect to her career and has served as a role model as to how to be a leader;
• Introduced innovative practices, financings and/or programs that have provided benefits to constituencies that the municipal industry serves;
• Developed individuals in the industry, actively serving as a mentor and teacher;
• Promotes the participation and professional growth of women generally throughout the public finance industry; and,
• Demonstrates the highest levels of professionalism and integrity, reflecting positively on the public finance industry as a whole.


2011: NEWPF Founding Board Member Freda Johnson Honored by The Bond Buyer

Freda Johnson, President of Government Finance Associates, Inc., was honored by the Bond Buyer and NEWPF at the Bond Buyer New York/Tristate Public Finance Conference: "New Leadership. New Policies. Enduring Challenges." at a reception held at the Downtown Marriott in New York on April 13, 2011. Ms. Johnson and her husband Chester Johnson were honored for over 40 years of Public Finance Service, their individual accomplishments, and what they have done together over combined 86 years in Public Finance.

Ms. Johnson began her career in public finance at The Dun & Bradstreet Corporation (D&B) and its subsidiary, Moody's Investors Service (Moody's). From 1979 through 1990, Freda was Executive Vice President and the head of the Public Finance Division of Moody's Investors Service. She also attended the Harvard University Graduate School of Business Administration Advanced Management Program, a semester-long program for senior executives. At the time of her departure from Moody's, the Public Finance Division, which she had renamed, had some 35,000 outstanding municipal bond ratings and a staff of 230, of whom some 70% were professionals and administered its sizable budget. During her tenure as head of the Division, she was chair of the Public Finance Division's Rating Committee and a member of the D&B Senior Management Group (the Group), which was comprised of the senior managers from each of the Corporation's subsidiaries and, for many years, was the youngest member and the only woman member of the Group. After leaving Moody's in 1990, she joined Government Finance Associates, Inc and was later named President, a position she retains today. GFA is an independent public finance advisory firm specializing in consulting in the debt and financial management and strategic planning areas for large and complex state and local governments. In her capacity as President, Ms. Johnson has been actively involved with all of the firm's clients.

In addition to being a founding Board Member of NEWPF, and spearheading its Mentoring Program, she is currently on the National Board of Directors of The Transition Network, a not-for-profit organization which works to promote women over 50 years old, and serves as its Treasurer. Ms. Johnson has been involved in the creation of a system of public finance in the Republic of Russia. She has been an Adjunct Professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Business. She is a past member of the MSRB's Committee on Disclosure, and a past member of NASACT's National Advisory Board on State and Local Government Secondary Market Disclosure as well as the Corporate Advisory Board of Queens College. She was a member of the Anthony Commisssion on Public Finance,, together with Bill Clinton, which sought to expand the use of tax-exempt municipal bonds, and she is a past President and past member of the Board of Governors the The Municipal Forum of New York.