Michelle Van Hellemont joined Accordion Partners in 2013, helping the advisory grow at a 70 percent clip per year over the ensuing five years and build a client base of more than 100 sponsors.

Among her key deals, she secured an advisory relationship with Carlyle and solidified relationships with middle-market firms Towerbrook Capital, Charlesbank, RFE Investment Partners, Long Point Capital, Wicks Group and FFL Partners, among others.

A founding partner of Exponent Women LLC, a networking organization for women in private equity and venture capital, Van Hellemont has also co-founded and co-chaired both the Association for Corporate Growth’s New York Women in Private Equity Summit and the ACG’s New York Women of Leadership Committee. She received the ACG New York’s Women of Leadership Award in 2016 and is the founder and chair of the Accordion Women’s Network networking group.

Previously with at Ambrose Employer Group and Stax Inc., Van Hellemont has worked with private equity clients for about 13 years. She says “putting good people together” through her networking has been a huge factor in her success. “You find people are always seeking something. You may not be able to help them directly, but you surely do know somebody, or a handful of people, who can help them,” she explains.

Women starting careers in private equity, Van Hellemont says, should realize that relationships are at the heart of the business. “Don’t be fooled by the steel façade that you see; the buttoned-up suits. It’s a little intimidating if you’re just taking a first glance at it,” she allows, “but it is a community of people who are all about working with other people, growing businesses and creating their own networks.”

Van Hellemont has a bachelor’s degree in organizational management from the University of Michigan.