Celebrating Women in Private Equity

Since 1911, women have been celebrated during March, International Women’s Month, in some way, shape, or form

What started off as International Women’s Day – which wasn’t formally commemorated by the United Nations until 1975 – quickly transitioned into Women’s History Week. And as the movement grew in popularity, Congress declared March 1987 as the first-ever Women’s History Month.  

Since, each year people around the world come together to recognize and celebrate women and the incredible impact they have in our communities as mentors, employers, co-workers, family members, and business leaders. However, as of February 2020, only 17.9% of PE professionals globally are women – and only 9.9% hold senior roles 

Women in Private Equity: Career Inspiration, Accomplishments, and Advice

To wrap up International Women’s Month in spirit, Performance Improvement Partners partnered with a handful of clients, peers, and friends in the industry to hear why building a career in private equity is so rewarding, celebrate career accomplishments, and share advice for young women professionals in the industry.    

Building a Career as a Woman in Private Equity 

“Building a career in Private Equity, an industry with tremendous power and responsibility, is an opportunity to have an impact on the world. Women with a commitment to use their financial skills for society can choose to invest in companies driving environmental sustainability, health equity, and economic opportunity for all. In an industry that is known for extracting financial value without regard for all stakeholders, imagine what we might achieve if more purpose-driven women-led Private Equity firms?”
– Priya Parrish, Managing Partner, Impact Engine

“While my experience on the in-house side of Private Equity is still fresh, it has been nothing short of an enriching and rewarding journey thus far. As a member of AEA’s majority-female Investor Relations team, it became apparent from day one that the powerhouse females of AEA don’t view themselves as ‘Women in Private Equity’ – but rather one of AEA’s 135+ experienced Private Equity pioneers generating leads, closing deals, and driving results. This mentality not only drives, but demands a culture of equality across all levels of the firm – which set the tone from the onset of my experience in Private Equity.”
– Alexandra Douglass, Marketing Manager, AEA Investors

“Being a woman in Private Equity is empowering – partnering with companies that are changing their industries for the better and interacting with passionate and intelligent individuals every day is motivating. We all root for each other.”
– Brittany Ek, Director, Graham Partners

Women Driving Impact Through PE Career Accomplishments  

“Whether I’m learning from and working alongside AEA’s majority-female powerhouse Investor Relations team, or developing a strategic communications plan to inform how we tell AEA’s unique story for the first time, there are so many incredible accomplishments my team has achieved together. It’s almost impossible to pick just one. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t pinch myself from time to time.”
– Alexandra Douglass, Marketing Manager, AEA Investors 

“I just received a deal toy for the sale of a company that I also have the acquisition deal toy for. It was a spectacular company that I was so proud to work with, and to see the true value come full circle and know I had a hand in helping them grow significantly is an awesome feeling.”
– Brittany Ek, Director, Graham Partners 

Advice for Up & Coming Women in PE 

“A piece of advice I would give to up-and-coming women professionals in the industry (and the best piece of advice I ever received) was to always “take a seat at the table”. You are there for a reason and have valuable insights and a different perspective to share!”
–  Alyssa Norton, Senior Associate, Graham Partners 

“My recommendation for up-and-coming women professionals in or exploring opportunities within Private Equity is – when it comes to culture, don’t settle. It’s a firm’s culture that connects us, gives us purpose, and directly influences investment success. Prioritize finding and/or building a culture that not only gives you a voice, but amplifies, respects, and values it. Don’t settle for anything less.”
– Alexandra Douglass, Marketing Manager, AEA Investors 

After hearing from these women, it’s clear being working in Private Equity is incredibly powerful and fulfilling. Whether you’re on the investment, operating, or marketing team, the opportunities to create value and drive impact are endless. And today, as PE firms increasingly focus on portfolio value creation and revenue growth, working in the industry will only become more and more rewarding.  

Performance Improvement Partners is proud to celebrate women this month and every month. To our women leaders, employees, partners, clients, and peers: Thank you for all that you do! 


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