Mergers & Acquisitions has named 36 leaders the 2019 Most Influential Women in Mid-Market M&A, including Kainos Capital’s Sarah Bradley, Madison Capital Funding’s Jennifer Cotton (pictured), Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors’ Nishita Cummings, Antares Capital’s Shannon Fritz, Avante Mezzanine Partners’ Jeri Harman, Duane Morris’ Nanette Heide, the Riverside Co.’s Pam Hendrickson, Monroe Capital’s Karin Kovacic, Stifel’s Justine Mannering, KPS Capital Partners’ Raquel Palmer, Accordion’s Michelle Van Hellemont and Sterling Investment Partners’ Amy Weisman. All 36 are outstanding dealmakers both inside and outside of their firms. Interest in women’s issues is high, as is clear by the record number of women heading to the U.S. Congress. The momentum is fueled, at least in part, by the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment and sexual assault, although the movement is facing something of a backlash at the moment. Some men in the financial services sector are reacting by avoiding women. But many women in the middle market are stepping up and recommitting to helping each other. “We launched Exponent Women to reinforce the value of bringing together women in financial services. We exchange connections, information and ideas to help one another succeed,” explains Van Hellemont, a founding member of Exponent Women. Recruiting women has become more of a priority at private equity firms. Eighty-three percent of private equity managers based in North America, Asia and Europe say they have focused on increasing gender diversity in their front-office roles over the last decade, according to new research from EY. This year, we asked the featured dealmakers to tell their own stories through Q&As, including their advice for women. “The path you’re on may not be linear,” points out Cotton, managing director, chief underwriting officer, Madison Capital Funding. “Some of the best opportunities may take you in a completely, unexpected direction.”

Related: Meet the 2019 Most Influential Women in Mid-Market M&A.

Deal news
Centerbridge Partners is buying Civitas Solutions (NYSE: CIVI), a provider of health and human services for individuals with disabilities, for $1.4 billion. Barclays and Kirkland & Ellis are advising Civitas. Cain brothers, UBS Securities, Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS), Goodwin Procter and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett are advising Centerbridge. Goldman Sachs, UBS, RBC Capital Markets and Keybanc Capital Markets are providing financing.

The Carlyle Group (Nasdaq: CG) is acquiring StandardAero, a provider of of aftermarket engine maintenance, repair and overhaul services for the aerospace and defense industries, from Veritas Capital. Credit Suisse, RBC Capital Markets LLC, Macquarie Capital and Latham & Watkins are advising Carlyle. Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS), Morgan Stanley and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP are advising StandardAero. Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs Merchant Banking Division, RBC Capital Markets LLC, Macquarie Capital, Barclays, Jefferies LLC, Nomura Securities and Goldman Sachs are providing financing.

Gryphon Investors is buying a majority stake in RegEd Inc., a provider of regulatory management services for the financial services firms, from Falfurrias Capital Partners. The latter is keeping a minority stake. Evercore Inc. (NYSE: EVR) and Baird are advising Gryphon. Raymond James is advising RegEd.

BVI is acquiring medical device company PhysIOL Group SA from TA Associates. TPG Capital is backing the deal. Deutsche Bank Securities Inc., Goldman Sachs & Co.(NYSE: GS), RBC Capital Markets, William Blair and Ropes & Gray are advising BVI and TPG. Jefferies and Baker McKenzie are advising PhyIOL.

Pamplona Capital Management is buying a majority stake in pool accessories maker Latham Pool Products from Wynnchurch Capital. The deal values Latham at $375 million. Cowen, Nomura, and Goodwin Procter are advising Pamplona. Moelis (NYSE: MC), William Blair and Foley & Lardner are advising Wynnchurch.

Palladium Equity Partners has invested in Quirch Foods, a distributor of Hispanic food products. Harris Williams and Holland & Knight are advising Quirch. BB&T Capital Markets, RBC Capital Markets and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett are advising Palladium.

Featured content
Private equity firms are giving back – organizing groceries at food pantries, mentoring students in schools, running races for cancer cures and pitching in at animal shelters. In time for the holidays, Mergers & Acquisitions highlights the philanthropic and volunteering initiatives of 5 PE firms: the Carlyle Group LP (Nasdaq: CG), Frontier Capital, Huron Capital, the Riverside Co. and Star Mountain Capital. At Carlyle, charity starts at the top, with CEO David Rubenstein’s signing of The Giving Pledge, a commitment by the world’s wealthiest individuals and families to dedicate the majority of their wealth to philanthropy. Community involvement is more important than ever to today’s work force. Millennials, defined as people born between 1981 and 1996 by the Pew Research Center, are “for sustainability, diversity, inclusion and giving back to the community,” says Carlyle managing director Christopher Ullman. “We are finding this more and more. Yes, we are here to make money, secure retirement for pensioners, but the firm wants to support people’s efforts to make the world a better place.” Frontier Capital supports several causes, including The Miracle League, a baseball organization for people who are mentally and physically challenged. “There’s more to life than work and material things, and our people understand that,” says Frontier managing partner Andrew Lindner. At Detroit-based Huron Capital, the firm’s philanthropic efforts are focused on local groups. “We want to leave our footprint in this community where we live and work while being as helpful as possible,” says partner Gretchen Perkins. “The charitable activities we do as a group, the ability for each employee to influence where Huron’s donations go, and the ability to perform community service during work hours, or receive matching funds for an employee’s personal non-profit passion, all contribute to a portion of an employee’s sense of purpose and contributing to the greater good.” Read the full story, The Big Give.

We asked dealmakers at ACG Philadelphia’s M&A East to share their thoughts on Giving Back. Check out our video interview with Baker Tilly Capital’s Judit Nagy-Eichelber: Volunteer work brings teams together. Also watch our conversation with Reed Smith’s Jonathan Moyer: For millennial dealmakers, giving back is part of who they are.

Super Saturday (Dec. 22) is expected to be the second-busiest for traffic at stores this holiday season, trailing only Black Friday, according to retail tracking firm ShopperTrak. The ongoing challenges in the sector continue to force some retailers to close, including the June liquidation of Toys R Us, backed by Bain Capital and KKR & Co. Inc. (NYSE: KKR). Technology is driving many of the transactions. See our list, 5 trends driving retail M&A deals.

The success of the Blackstone-led consortium’s bid for Thomson Reuters Corp, along with the ongoing joint Arconic bid, have gotten people talking about a potential return to the pre-crisis era of club deals and collaborations. Read the full guest article by Augnetius’ Hugh Stacey: Are private equity club deals making a comeback?

The New Orleans Saints defeated the Carolina Panthers 12-9 on Monday night to wrap upNFL Week 15. Off the field, many football players invest in companies. New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady recently teamed with former Giants defensive end Michael Strahan, who is the co-host of ABC’s Good Morning America, to launch a sports media startup called Religion of Sports Media, which has raised $3 million in venture capital funding from CourtsideVC and Advancit Capital. Muhsin Muhammad, who played wide receiver for the Carolina Panthersand the Chicago Bears, is a managing director of private equity firm Axum Capital Partners. Steve Young, former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, is a co-founder of private equity firm HGGC. View our slideshow, NFL stars Tom Brady, Michael Strahan, Steve Young go PE.

ACG New York Women of Leadership Summit brings together women in the middle-market dealmaking community for a day focused on networking and knowledge sharing on Jan. 17 at the Intercontinental Barclay Hotel. Alexa Von Tobel, chief innovation officer of Northwestern Mutual, keynotes.

Exponent Women kicks off the new year with an evening of networking on Jan. 24 at The Campbell, at New York’s Grand Central Terminal. Jazz Age financier John W. Campbellconverted the space to his private office and reception hall in 1923, and it has recently been restored by design firm Ingrao Inc.

ACG Boston, ACG Connecticut, ACG New Jersey, ACG New York & ACG Philadelphia host ACG Northeast Dealmaking at the Mountain at Stowe Mountain Resort in Stowe, Vermont Jan. 27-29. The event provides a chance for middle-market M&A professionals from across the northeast to come together for two days of close knit networking, shared conversations and valuable time spent to deepen your relationships within the deal community.