Trisha Renner, managing director, Baird, 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.

What is your current role?

I split my time at work between clients and internal initiatives. On the client side I advise global clients primarily in the industrial sector regarding M&A, capital raising, strategic alternatives and general business advisory. Within Baird, I participate in our global leadership committee focused on growing our practice and developing our teams.

Describe a recent challenge you overcame.

Personally, I think every day brings a new challenge and a new opportunity. As I think about my career, the biggest career challenge has been finding my personal communication style. Not everyone appreciates direct. Developing an effective style takes time, working with mentors and listening to others.

How do you support women?

Early in my career, after a long day of travel, our CEO and I decided it was time to put some real dollars and time behind encouraging more women to enter the financial services and banking, in particular. That original effort turned into fellowships with some of the leading business schools and a diversity committee, that today, has morphed into a very popular Women’s Associate Resource Group. This is a tough career but I am proud of the effort both Baird and I put into recruiting more women into the field.

What is your advice for women?

Be yourself and find something you like to talk about with every client. Talking sports is fine but if that is not your thing find something else that resonates.

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

Get outside and play, biking, hiking, skiing are top of the list. What a refreshing change from the Board Room or stale airplane.

What other career path might you have chosen?

If I could start over, I would have pursued an engineering degree and a career starting with engineering. Technology is such an important part of our future. My advice to all young women considering a career path in finance is to focus on the technical side first, the finance will come.