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Women in PE: Work-Life Balance, Diversity, Collaboration

March 3, 2023

By: Brad Gerick

Private equity has traditionally been a male-dominated industry, but things are changing.

In a recent Women in PE virtual forum hosted by BluWave, four leading women in private equity discussed their experiences and offered insights on topics like work-life balance, diversity and effective networking strategies.

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Here are some of the top takeaways:

I. Recruiting Diverse Talent

The speakers discussed the steps their respective organizations have taken to recruit, retain and promote a diverse workforce.

Here are some of the practical things they have done at their firms:

  • Formed a DEI committee that places importance on hiring individuals from diverse backgrounds
  • Emphasizes retention and has introduced extended parental leave and bereavement leave policies
  • Set benchmarks to track progress in recruiting a diverse range of candidates and collaborates with recruiters to bring in diverse talent
  • Introduced a mentorship program and hosts events to encourage women to apply for jobs in the industry

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II. Balancing Motherhood and Your Career

Two of the featured speakers shared their experiences balancing motherhood and their careers.

They offered guidance to women preparing to take leave. They recommend being open with your team, delegating responsibilities and avoiding feelings of guilt for taking time off.

For those returning to work, the speakers emphasized the importance of setting boundaries, prioritizing self-care and finding a support system.

III. Effective Networking Strategies

Effective networking is vital in private equity, and the panelists provided tips on how to do it successfully. Here are some of their tips:

  • Be strategic and intentional
  • Build authentic connections
  • Add value to others
  • Prioritize relationships over transactions
  • Seek out diverse individuals

It’s important, they said, to helping others without an immediate expectation of a return favor.

They also encouraged attendees to expand their network beyond their immediate circle and seek out networking opportunities outside their industry.

IV. Diversity in Private Equity

Progress has been made to increase diversity in private equity, but the speakers agreed that there’s still work to be done. Attendees were encouraged to advocate for change and understand that diversity is not just a moral imperative but also a business imperative.

Diverse perspectives lead to better decision-making and improved business outcomes, they said.

The panelists emphasized the need to create an inclusive culture that supports and promotes diversity, and not just during the hiring process.

Participants were also encouraged to challenge the status quo, hold leaders accountable for diversity and inclusion initiatives and create more opportunities for individuals from diverse backgrounds to enter and succeed in the private equity industry.

This event was conducted with the Chatham House Rule in place.