Mergers & Acquisitions names 2021 Top 25 Most Influential Women in Mid-Market M&A, including William Blair’s Justine Chiou.
Describe a recent accomplishment.
The Covid-19 pandemic and the work-/learn-from-home environment have forced the education industry, which historically has been reluctant to change, to embrace innovation and new models. In 2020, two deals stand out—the sale of Cadence Education to Apax and the sale of StraighterLine to BV Investment Partners—that are part of this transformation. Cadence brings education-focused, professional, safe early childhood education to families across the United States. StraighterLine is rethinking how to deliver low-cost higher education to non-traditional learners and help prepare them for the workforce. Both are mission-driven companies, and I’m proud that our team was able to help them get greater access to capital and operational support to continue delivering on their missions.
How are you a champion for inclusion and equality?
With all that has occurred politically and with respect to social justice this year, I have thought a lot about how I can be an advocate for change in the investment banking industry. I’ve realized that my seniority gives me a platform and an opportunity to raise awareness about ways that we all can work together to build a more inclusive environment. In addition to the firm’s usual employee gift-matching program, William Blair made 3:1 matching contributions for employees’ gifts to organizations working to promote inclusion, racial equity and social justice. Our group took advantage of this by pooling our donations and letting our junior bankers pick causes related to social justice that were particularly important to them. We were able to raise over $60,000 for several causes, which our junior bankers then presented to the full group on our weekly calls. It was amazing to hear their passion and awareness of critical organizations that are driving necessary change.