Please describe your current role
I am a Partner at Equistone Partners Europe, a pan-European private equity firm with 6.5bn€ AUM with investments ranging from 30 to 150m€ in companies valued between 50 million to 500 million euros. I joined Equistone 19 years ago as an Analyst and kept evolving alongside Equistone development to become a Partner in 2011.
Today, I am in charge of originating, evaluating and leading investment opportunities out of the Paris office. This involves working with our portfolio managers to create value and organize and execute exit strategies for the companies that we invest in. Our investment strategy is always centered around a close partnership with the management team, which is one of the key ways in which we can add value to a company’s growth trajectory. As such, I currently serve on six boards.
What attracted you to a career in private equity and how did you get started?
I entered into the private equity sphere directly following graduation. I was initially attracted to the variety and complexity of the situations that the job requires you to confront and solve.
Since I began my private equity career at Equistone, my experience of the sector was shaped by the firm’s people and culture from the start. I particularly value the fact that Equistone has a real cohesive culture and everyone is highly committed to the work we do while allowing for a healthy personal life balance. These factors help to explain why I’ve stayed at Equistone for 19 years! Over time, I’ve also been able to appreciate the different facets of the job from analysis and technicity to decision making and action in an environment where trustful relationships are at the core of what we do. I’ve also seen to what point we are in the position to take important decisions and then manage the results of ensuing actions.
What advice would you give women interested in a career in private equity?
One of the most important pieces of advice I could give to someone considering a career in private equity is to choose your firm, and therefore its partners, carefully. Not only is it key to ensure that the culture and ‘fit’ is right for you, which is important in a business where one typically stays in the same firm for years or decades, but it also helps to be aligned in terms of the decision-making process. All PE funds are full of smart people conducting deep and relevant analyses but the way in which decisions are taken can really make a difference.
Another important thing to keep in mind is that you need to be clear about what you want in both your professional and personal life. Do not hesitate to make the adjustments necessary both at the office and at home because PE is a job that requires good, clear decisions and strong performance and this is only possible if you have established the right balance for you.
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?
I do believe that the gender gap is improving but is doing so at a slow pace as it’s driven by generational renewals. When I began at Equistone in 2000, it was not as common as today to see women at junior levels in the sector. I anticipate that the gap at senior level should narrow as the younger generation becomes more senior. From what I have experienced, this sort of natural progression is the most successful way to close the gender gap as it ensures a good level of integration. This also clearly depends a lot on the firm and its culture as retention is the key to bridging the gap at a senior level.