The private equity industry may have an image of being filled with pinstriped men who are all about spreadsheets, but that does not reflect the reality at Livingbridge.
During our IWD 2021 Panel Discussion we focus on how the private equity industry can maintain progress and continue to attract a diverse talent pool.
Chaired by Associate Director Nancy Chen, the panel included Chief Investment Officer and partner Shani Zindel; Investment Director and partner Amy Yateman-Smith; Susie Stanford from the new investments team; and Liz Jones.
All four come from different backgrounds including banking, trading, accountancy, and consultancy as opposed to the traditional route of investment banking. This has enabled them to share different perspectives and experience of how diversity and inclusion has moved up the agenda for the industry and the firms it invests in. Susie tells how diversity can give Livingbridge a competitive edge with companies who recognise the need for female advisers.
Amy highlights how firms are now appointing Diversity and Inclusion Directors to the board and how private equity supports companies in enhancing diversity. Shani also points out:
“We have a platform, and we have a responsibility to use that platform to set an example for other people and to try to inspire change.”
The private equity industry is not perfect, but all agreed potential recruits should not worry that they don’t have the perfect CV. There is no correct career path.
The challenge for the next 10 years is to move the debate on, and use private equity’s platform to enhance diversity. For Susie, it’s about helping to create a pool of talented female executives and non-executives so that in the future firms don’t have to resort to pulling from the traditional demographics.
The private equity industry will have to be more diverse in the future. As Shani says:
“Diversity builds better businesses, stronger management teams, and allows you to have more enriching experience. Fundamentally it’s just better for society as a whole”.