In conversation with Nadia Meier-Kirner
Partner, Co-Head of Business Services and Member of the Investment Advisory Committee, Triton Partners

27.09.2021

Please describe your current role

I am Co-Head of Triton’s Business Services team and a Member of the Investment Advisory Committee. In my role as the Co-Head of Business Services I am leading a team of investment professionals, operating partners and senior industry experts. I oversee the sector team’s sourcing, execution and portfolio company work while running my own deals and working with my portfolio companies. In my capacity as a Member of the Investment Advisory Committee, I am part of a group of committee members who provides views on origination, investing and portfolio company activities.

 

How did you get started in private equity and what was the career path to your current role?

I was in investment banking / M&A for over four years before starting my career in private equity. I was keen to broaden my skillset beyond transaction advisory and reached out to a recruiter with the request to help me find a job in private equity. Many years later, I am still grateful to have had the opportunity to work with her, as she had a strong sense for what firms would be of good cultural fit for me. While this is important in any industry, in ours in particular, it is crucial for your longer-term success and happiness at the workplace to find an employer that matches your ambitions and values.

What attracted you to the industry?

Three things:

  • The ability to actively lead and effect sustainable change
  • The opportunity to work with inspiring, highly ambitious and competent people
  • The objective to create value through continuous improvement, growth and innovation

 

What advice would you give women considering a career in private equity/venture capital or to younger women already in the industry?

Be a leader and an entrepreneur. If you see the opportunity to change and improve, grab it, obtain the support and run with it.

Play to your strengths. Women are often self-critical and while it is certainly helpful to have an introspective view, you also want to be confident about your strengths and actively seek situations where you can best leverage them.

Acknowledge that this is a long-term game, that success needs to be built over time and failures will undoubtedly happen. In deal making the difference between success and failure is often marginal and unforgiving. Learning and growing through the inevitable set-backs is important.

 

What do you think it will take to improve the gender gap in private equity and do you think we will see significant change in the coming years?

Senior-most members of organizations need to truly want to effect change and dedicate time and energy towards making it happen. The more experienced professionals need to actively coach both female and male talent through the organization and facilitate organizational growth by helping the next generation grow and succeed. Junior and mid-level members of a team need to voice their views and lead the way for an improved and modernized workplace.

 

Which achievements are you most proud of in your career?

The value creation and successful exits of the businesses I was fortunate enough to help improve, grow and develop. We create jobs, we create growth, we facilitate innovation – all of this is deeply rewarding. It is always sad to see good portfolio companies leave after our investment period, but it is satisfying to look at the measurable contribution that we have been able to build together with the boards and in particular the management teams.

 

Who has most inspired you in your career / who have been your mentors?

I have had many great mentors, men and women, internal and external. One that I would like to single out is Dr. Karin Dorrepaal, a long-term mentor and friend who was the first woman to serve on the executive board of a DAX 30 company. I started in private equity in 2006 and achieved many “firsts” as a woman at Triton, starting as an associate and being fortunate enough to be one of Triton’s senior partners today. That journey would have been lonelier if it weren’t for the mentoring of Karin’s. We all need role models and people we can relate to, and as senior executives we need to embrace the responsibility that we have in helping the next generation of leaders flourish.