Patricia Luscombe, managing director, Lincoln International, 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?

Although not explicitly a dealmaker, I have been involved in middle market M&A as a valuation service provider for close to thirty years. I realized early on in my career that I could learn a lot from working with middle market companies and their entrepreneurial roots, and enjoyed helping these companies grow through valuation and financial advisory services.

How has a mentor helped your career?

Ron Kahn, who coheads both Lincoln International’s Debt Advisory Group and Valuations & Opinions Group, and is on the firm’s senior executive committees. Ron is a terrific role model, extremely dedicated and committed to helping the middle markets through the firm’s advisory services, and developing female leadership. He has been instrumental in making introductions to many investors and funds focused on the middle market and in need of valuation services, but more importantly, his confidence in me has fueled my drive for continued professional growth.

What is your current role?

Co-head the firm’s valuations & opinions group which provides quarterly valuation services to a majority of the public and private BDCs, global multi-strategy asset managers, private equity and credit funds reflecting approximately $50 billion in middle market debt and equity investments. Responsible for working with clients and their boards of directors, in addition to marketing to new clients. Actively engage with Managing Director colleagues to maximize opportunities to introduce valuation services into client relationships and/or identify opportunities to add value to the firm’s client roster. Member of the U.S. Management Committee. Also, focused on recruiting, training and mentoring a diverse team, including many women.

Describe your influence on the middle market.

As so much of middle market lending activities have shifted from banks to alternative non-bank lenders, the investments of such alternative capital providers require regular valuations. These valuations are important as they determine the net asset values of fund clients and are thus one input to impact a fund’s capital raising success. I have been on the forefront of developing best practices for these valuations and have spoken frequently at conferences and with clients, on valuation topics. I have also been involved in the development of both the Lincoln Middle Market Index (LMMI), a first-of-its-kind index to measure value of private companies, as well as our proprietary database which aggregates financial, valuation and credit information across all of my team’s valuation activities (nearly 1,400 companies). Both the LMMI and database provide terrific insights into the health of middle market companies and provide important visibility to organizations for benchmarking.

Describe a challenge you overcame.

When I first joined Lincoln in 2007, its valuations group was in the early stages of development and my sole responsibility was to develop valuations and fairness opinions into a separate product offering. Then, the financial crisis hit and the overall landscape to grow the valuations group changed dramatically. However, because middle market companies and deal flow were more stable during the financial crisis than the large corporate deal environment, I was able to communicate with what are now the firm’s valuation fund clients that valuations were similarly more stable. This message resonated well and set the foundation for substantial future growth in our team in the valuation of middle market private debt and equity investments, of which we are still enjoying today ten years later.

How do you support women?

I focus on leading by example and fostering an environment for junior women to gain confidence in their own abilities to work in a historically male dominated field. I also try to participate in as many women networking events as my schedule allows to mentor other women.

What is your advice for women?

To realize that you can have it all, a successful career and rewarding home life. That balance starts with dedication and commitment to both career and home life, plus surrounding yourself with mentors and quality team members to encourage you along the way.

When you’re not making deals, what is your favorite thing to do?

I enjoy the outdoors and staying active, whether it is bicycling, running, walking, skiing, cross training or pilates/yoga – it refreshes me and helps put my career in perspective.

What other career path might you have chosen?

It is difficult to choose one other career path as my current career has allowed me to develop professionally in many different ways, such as growing a valuations practice with over forty team members from its inception, working with a diverse group of middle market focused investment funds and companies on a variety of corporate transactions, valuations and fairness opinions which has benefitted their growth and success, as well as participating in middle market M&A and capital markets, all of which I have thoroughly enjoyed.