Eva Davis, partner, co-chair, private equity, Winston & Strawn, 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 has a mentor helped your career?
Kara Cissell-Roell, Managing Director of VMG Partners, has mentored me for almost 15 years. Kara has distinguished herself as a person who wants to see other women succeed. She has introduced me to companies and investors in the consumer products space that need private equity M&A legal expertise. Kara has provided unprecedented insights into the issues they might be facing and how to best partner with them to help them succeed.
What is your current role?
There is no typical day. Today, I took the redeye to Chicago to participate in the firm’s Executive Committee meeting, negotiated a software deal for a PE client and an industrials deal for another, pitched new business, and extended invites to banks and PE funds for our “capital connection” event. In the evening, I flew to San Francisco for hiring meetings and an awards dinner for a client whom I nominated for “Next Gen Women in Tech” award.
Describe a recent deal.
I am leading two transactions impacted by the new CFIUS regulations. We’ve needed to determine whether our transaction involving a foreign buyer is a “covered transaction” requiring a CFIUS filing. Due to the vagueness of the regulations which require us to assess whether the target involves “critical infrastructure,” “critical technologies,” or “sensitive personal data that threatens national security” and an assessment of foreign buyer control, we have spent significant time addressing structure, deal certainty and risk.
What is your advice for women?
- While it’s important to be fully prepared, don’t be afraid, promote your ideas, back them up with facts and do not stand down.
- Make short- and long-term goals and track your progress and adjust, if needed.
- Seek out clients and deal opportunities and be an active supporter of your network.
- Develop and regularly tend to your network. Be known as someone who has the answers or can get the answers through your network.
When you're not making deals, what is your favorite thing to do?
Going to plays with my youngest daughter Elizabeth, sweating it out in Hot Yoga with my oldest daughter Alexandra, skiing or rock climbing with my husband Rich, walking on the beach with my rescue dog Charlie, stand up paddle boarding with my sister Melissa and enjoying Duke basketball games in Cameron Indoor Stadium with my Dad, siblings, girls, and nephews!
How do you support women?
For more than 25 years I’ve worked to develop and support the women in my network by providing early leads on M&A and financing deal opportunities, sharing market trends (learned from our private company deals that are not publicly available), providing early leads on individuals who may be interested in moving to a portfolio company, and serving as a “reference” when women want to switch firms – in sum serving as a “connector” to my “Old Girls’ Network.”