With the launch of The Most Influential Women in Mid-Market M&A, Mergers & Acquisitions joins a long history of celebrating female business leaders at SourceMedia, the publishing company that owns our brand. SourceMedia, backed by Observer Capital, publishes many special reports honoring women in various financial services sub-sectors, such as American Banker’s Most Powerful Women in Banking.
Mergers & Acquisitions introduces this special report, which profiles 25 top female dealmakers of the middle market, at a time when the financial services industry is under scrutiny for its treatment of women, due, in part, to Ellen Pao’s unsuccessful but high-profile gender discrimination suit against former employer Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Pao’s case serves to remind venture capital and private equity firms alike that it’s time for a cultural sea-change.
While women have made strides in the financial services sector, they are still woefully underrepresented. For example, across the 10 biggest private equity firms, women account for less than 11 percent of senior managers, according to data compiled recently by Bloomberg. The lack of other women in financial services, especially in the upper ranks, leads to a lot of professional loneliness.
Dealmaking is all about forging relationships, so feeling comfortable and connected is essential. By profiling powerful women — such as Jeri Harman, the founder of Avante Mezzanine Partners; Pam Hendrickson, the chief operating officer of The Riverside Co.; and Emily Waldorf, Vice President, Corporate Strategy, Campbell Soup Co. (NYSE: CPB) — we hope to foster a sense of community and inspire the next generation.