The American Investment Council has named the Riverside Co.’s Pam Hendrickson the vice chair of the board of directors. She is the first person to serve in the newly created role at the advocacy group.

Hendrickson, who is the COO and vice chair of Riverside, has served previously as a member of AIC’s board. She is a long-time advocate of the private equity industry, including presenting testimony on Capitol Hill about the positive role PE plays in the U.S. economy. Mergers & Acquisitions has named Hendrickson one of the 2020 Most Influential Women in Mid-Market M&A.

“Our industry is doing so much good across the country as we build better businesses, support jobs, and strengthen pensions; that story needs to be told to the Biden-Harris Administration and members of Congress on both sides of the aisle,” Hendrickson said in an interview with Mergers & Acquisitions. “During the Covid-19 pandemic, private investment is more important than ever, as we work to rebuild America’s economy and insure the free flow of and access to capital.  In the years ahead, we’ll be even more proactive about making sure decision makers in Washington know exactly how private equity benefits their local communities and takes a leadership role on important issues.”

Private equity invests half a trillion dollars in American businesses each year, according to the AIC. There are more than 5,000 U.S. private equity firms with investments in approximately 35,000 American businesses that employ 8.8 million people.

“Pam Hendrickson is the perfect choice for vice chair,” said AIC chair Steve Klinsky. “Pam has extensive experience supporting small businesses at the Riverside Co. and has worked closely with the AIC team for years educating policymakers and the public about the benefits of private equity.”

Hendrickson joined Riverside in 2006 and served previously for 22 years at JP Morgan Chase with senior roles in the real estate division and the private bank. She is a former chairman of the board of the Association for Corporate Growth and has been a member of the board of the Small Business Investor Alliance. She is also vice chairman of the advisory board of the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University and a trustee of the National Humanities Center, where she chairs the audit committee.

For more on the role PE plays in the U.S. today and the further leadership role it could play in the future, see It’s Time for the Private Equity Industry to Step Up.