Mergers & Acquisitions names the 2024 Most Influential Women in Mid-Market M&A, including Katten‘s Kimberly Smith.

How are you a champion of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI)?

As one of three women at the firm leading a department, I am acutely aware of the need for greater diversity in the leadership ranks generally in the legal profession, as well as the private equity industry.

As a leader, I feel a personal responsibility to help increase diversity through hiring, development, retention and advancement efforts. I stand behind impactful programs and initiatives that are focused on helping historically underrepresented attorneys have successful careers at Katten and beyond. For example, the firm’s Kattalyst program pairs participants at the associate, counsel and partner levels with senior partners and firm leaders and offers training and coaching that can enhance leadership, management, relationship building and business development skills.

How are you advancing the state of women?

Through Katten’s Women’s Leadership Forum, which supports the retention and advancement of women attorneys across all practices, including financial services, I avail myself to discuss any workplace concerns or barriers and offer advice on how to navigate past those challenges and help them advance in their careers.

I extend the same support to women in the private equity industry. Women are underrepresented in leadership roles at many private equity firms, so when I see someone emerging as a leader, I am prepared to offer my assistance in whatever way I can to help them reach those senior positions.

For the full list of 2024 Most Influential Women in Mid-Market M&A, see here.