Startling statistics in Private Equity (PE) research shows that women hold:
9.9% of senior roles in Europe; 10.3% of senior roles in US; 12.8% of senior roles in Asia. with 10.5m American businesses owned by women, that’s only 40% of all private companies in the US, with only 3 – 5% receiving venture backing.
The question is what can we do to change this?
Last month the British Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (BVCA) saw some 150 women attend the Women in Private Equity (PE) Forum. The topics covered were ‘Recruitment and retention of women in PE’ and ‘Feel the fear and do it anyway’. Many other senior women in the industry and likeminded inspiring women shared their insights on how we can help encourage and empower women to consider and attain the senior roles.
As one of the panellists here are my top five takeaways for investing in you.
1. Mentor, Coach or Sponsor
- Find a mentor or coach or sponsor
- Decide what you want from them
- Interview them for the role
- Ensure you look outside your industry
- Give back by mentoring others
2. Think knowledge and market yourself
- Create your own mission statement
- Identify what characteristics, strengths and skills you will need for your future career
- Make yourself memorable
- Be strategic in your thinking
- Create a tag-line for yourself and market, market, market
3. Develop a positive attitude and image
- Focus on learning and read positive and inspiring books
- Recharge yourself (good food, good company, downtime)
- Exercise (research has shown that the effects of 15 mins a day can last for 15 hours)
- Look at each challenge as an opportunity in disguise
- Be the best that you can be every day
4. Network productively
- Ensure you have an updated profile whether you use Linkedin, Facebook or Twitter
- Take part on online discussions in your sector
- Acknowledge that networking events are part of the role of your job and enjoy them
- Offer to help others first and show a genuine interest
- Find the group that is right for you
5. Identify trends for new roles
- Ensure you keep yourself abreast of the strategic business plan of the business both for the year ahead and the five year plan
- Is technology changing in the business? How can this benefit you in a new role?
- Ensure you are being more proactive and adopt roles that are facilitative and supportive which will help get knowledge to the right people at the right time (consider your team)
- Look at how else you might be better placed to communicate, influence, coach or mentor and understand others particularly people’s strengths and weaknesses
- Look at how you and/or your team can add value to the business
And finally ensure you have fun in the process – love what you do and do what you love. As Steve Jobs said;
‘And we’ve all chosen to do this with our lives. So it better be damn good. It better be worth it.’