Anna Dodson, partner, Goodwin, is one of 36 dealmakers named in Mergers & Acquisitions’ 2019 Most Influential Women in Mid-Market M&A. Click here for the full list. This year, we asked the dealmakers to tell their stories in their own voices through Q&As.
How did you get into dealmaking?
I had this wonderful professor, Professor Arpad von Lazar, from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy who helped me get an internship in Budapest in the early 1990s. That internship included sitting in on negotiations among an American company, a private Hungarian company and several Hungarian government owned companies to negotiate a joint venture to build a private telecommunications ring in Budapest. I simply loved the deal-making in dealmaking, and I was hooked.
Describe a recent deal.
Goodwin represented GTT Telecommunications in its acquistion of Interoute. My partner, Gemma Roberts out of our London office, led the acquistion and I led on the acquistion debt finance. The deal reflects at least two important trends – the importance of M&A teams with deep expertise in the US and European markets and that rise of women leading “bet-the-company” transactions.
Describe a challenge you overcame.
Public speaking was a tremendous challenge and real obstacle to becoming the dealmaker that I wanted to be. To practice, I did two things. The first was volunteering as often as I could to present neighborhood workshops on business law topics as part of Goodwin’s Neighborhood Business Initiative. The second path was to just do it – sign up to speak publicly.
How do you support women?
First and foremost, I believe in them and their ambition. I do my best to never ask why and to instead ask how? What next? And, what can I do for you? Second, I talk them up. Introductions are nice, but I believe in “buzz” and I have always found it’s best to be introduced to someone who has heard of you, who wanted to meet you, too.
What is your advice for women?
Lead. If she wants to be a leader, at every opportunity, she should step forward, speak up and lead. It almost doesn’t matter what it is. Every opportunity to lead is an opportunity for a professionally junior woman to demonstrate that she gets the bigger picture, thinks strategically and has what it takes to drive the team to achieve.
When you’re not making deals, what is your favorite thing to do?
I love to cook for large family gatherings and to travel. I so enjoy testing and “refining” new recipes. Recently, I have been working on perfecting a so-called French apple cake for the holidays. I am working toward an apple cake that looks and tastes like it came from a café in Budapest or Hamburg.