Kathy Fields, JMI Equity
Kathy Fields says she was first drawn to mergers and acquisitions in law school. Intending to become an intellectual property lawyer, she found herself attracted to M&A instead, because the work required more big-picture knowledge and people skills.
“You’re more of a quarterback and marshal of the process, rather than a deep subject matter expert,” Fields explains. “You need to know all the right questions to ask, but you’re not necessarily the person who’s going to know all of the answers. The ability to listen to the different pieces and bring people together—that’s the part of the process that I really enjoy.”
Fields has worked in the private equity sector for the past 25 years. Before joining JMI Equity in 2013, she was a partner in the corporate, private equity and technology company groups at Goodwin Procter, where she co-led the launch of the firm’s Northern California offices and served as co-chair of its Silicon Valley office.
Fields attributes her knack for anticipating what could go wrong with a deal as one of the keys to her success. “I spend a lot of time thinking about how to deal with things that could go wrong and not letting them before they do,” she says.
Recognized by U.S. News and Best Lawyers as a leader in her field in 2012, Fields is also a board member of the American Online Giving Foundation. She has a bachelor’s degree in business from Indiana University and graduated from Stanford Law School.