Sphere of Influence: Heads business development for AUA; contributes to the ACG New York’s Women of Leadership committee; looks to increase diversity in private equity, specifically among minority groups and the Hispanic community
There are things that separate ordinary business leaders from the next and go-getters from the everyday office attendee. Though it takes a certain aptitude to get in the door, Astrid Soto says there are other traits that keep influential people.
Having the knack for emotional intelligence – the ability to motivate, have empathy, self awareness, social skills, self control is a trait that molds the most memorable leaders. Soto says it’s the “balance and fine tuning” of high IQ and technical skills with emotional intelligence that private equity leaders should focus on in this industry.
Soto leads business development and investor relations for AUA Private Equity Partners, a New York-based lower middle-market private equity firm that specializes in leveraged and management buyouts. Formed in 2012 and led by Andy Unanue, AUA looks to provide strategic capital to companies with a particular focus on family-owned businesses and companies benefiting from the growth of the U.S. Hispanic population. Unanue is the former COO and current shareholder of Goya Foods Inc.
In early 2016, Soto helped lead AUA’s acquisition of yogurt maker Noga Dairies Inc. as an add-on to portfolio company Raymundos Food Group, LLC. The deal helped accelerate Raymundos’ expansion into adjacent refrigerated categories.
Prior to joining AUA, Soto served as a business development associate at Boston private equity firm Audax Group. While there, Soto was inducted into the Young Professionals for ACG Boston Accelerator Class of 2014. Soto is very active in the middle-market as she continues growing as a well-known name in the industry. She has participated in several speaking engagements for the ACG New York chapter covering topics such as: niche investment strategies, family offices and private equity investments. Soto’s involvement with industry has helped Latin-oriented businesses receive capital commitments, which generally have not received as much attention as needed. Soto currently serves as vice chair for ACG New York’s Women of Leadership committee.