When Mike McCaffery left the $14.3 billion (€9 billion) Stanford endowment, Stanford Capital – the third largest university endowment in North America – to set up on his own it created headlines around the globe. Stanford was third only to Harvard University and Yale, and at the time had an average annual growth rate of 7.9 percent under McCaffery's six-year stewardship. In those six years Stanford Capital's fund grew from $8.5 billion to $15 billion. Now, his endowment and foundation fund, Makena Capital, is proving to be as influential as the firm it was spun-out of. Makena Capital, based in Menlo Park, California, was reported to have raised about $7 billion at the time of its start-up in 2006, although industry professionals believe it is now in the region of $10 billion. But it is Makena's managing director with responsibility for real estate that has caught the attention of many. Susan Meaney was previously the director of real assets for the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation where she built the real assets portfolio to more than $1 billion in commitments. She also served as managing director at the Stanford Management Company where she was responsible for the development and management of 700 acres of Stanford University's commercial real estate holdings. At Makena though, Meaney is gaining an unrivalled reputation. “People follow what she does,” one placement agent says. A Stanford University graduate, Meaney is ensuring Makena – which means in different languages the “happy one” and “many gathered to share a burden” – is an investment force to be reckoned with.