The challenges women face in achieving top-tier status in financial services are particularly acute in the middle market, where women account for only 14 percent of all dealmakers. One emerging exception may be private equity firms. As the asset class matures and some of the older players step aside, there’s room for new firms and new leadership of old firms, providing potential opportunity for women and minorities.

Two examples of the generational shift are Kristina Heinze and Julia Karol. Heinze co-founded ParkerGale Capital LP in 2014, when she and four male partners spun off Chicago Growth Partners. Heinze leads deal sourcing for ParkerGale, which backs small technology companies. The firm recently closed its debut fund.

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