Anne Vazquez slideshow opener
Mergers & Acquisitions' special report celebrates female professionals in lending, including NewSpring Mezzanine partner Anne Vazquez. Vazquez joined NewSpring Mezzanine in 2008 and was promoted to partner in 2016. Prior to NewSpring, she held positions at American Capital and KMPG.

The challenges women face in achieving top-tier status in financial services are particularly acute in the middle market, where women account for approximately 14 percent of all dealmakers and account for only about 11 percent of senior private equity professionals.

It is now widely acknowledged that private equity firms with a strong track record of fostering diversity and encouraging women’s participation in the industry have a competitive advantage.

“Private Equity is still a very male-dominated industry, which may create the appearance of a barrier for women to enter into the profession,” Vazquez acknowledges. “It is not unusual for me to be the only women in the room, be it an industry conference, a meeting with the senior management team or a Board meeting for one of our portfolio companies.”

“For someone new to the industry,” she adds, “it might take some time to adjust to the perception that gender is a concern. But I can tell you that fades with time; I personally don’t even notice it anymore.”
Marilyn Adler
Name: Marilyn Adler
No. of years in M&A: 14
Current position: Managing Director, Medley
Key responsibilities: Adler leads Medley’s small business investment company, which provides first- and second-lien debt financing to lower and middle market U.S. companies
Previous: Sunrise Equity Partners; Hudson Venture Partners; TIAA-CREF
Education: B.S. from Cornell University; MBA from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania
Carey Davidson
Name: Carey Davidson
No. of years in M&A: 18
Current position: Managing director and head of capital markets, Monroe Capital
Key responsibilities: Davidson oversees buy-side club originations, relationship management, marketing and sell-side syndications, and serves on the investment committee
Previous: The Carlyle Group; Churchill Financial; GE Antares Capital
Education: B.A. from University of Wisconsin-Madison; MBA from The University of Chicago
Robin Engelson
Name: Robin Engelson
No. of years in M&A: 36
Current Position: Founder and managing partner, Sapphire Financial
Key Responsibilities: Engelson manages debt and equity capital raises for entrepreneur-owned middle market businesses, family offices, independent sponsors, management teams and funds with capital requirements from $20 million to $500 million
Previous: Lazard Middle Market; Goldsmith Agio Helms; GE Capital; The Bank of New York
Education: B.A. from the University of Michigan; M.A. from the Anderson School of Management at UCLA
Venita Fields
Name: Venita Fields
No. of years in M&A: 33
Current Position: Partner, Pelham S2K Managers LLC
Key Responsibilities: Fields invests and manages debt and equity investments in Pelham S2K Managers LLC, a small business investment company formed in 2016. She also manages the firm’s Midwest office in Evanston, Illinois.
Previous: Smith Whiley & Co.; Bank of America; Citi; Continental Bank
Education: B.A. from Northwestern University; M.A. from Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management
Jeri Harman
Name: Jeri Harman
No. of years in M&A: 30
Current position: CEO, Avante Mezzanine Partners
Key responsibilities: Directs investment and growth strategy, brand building and investor relations
Previous: Founded the Los Angeles offices for American Capital and Allied Capital
Education: B.S. from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, MBA from the University of California, Berkeley’s Walter A. Haas School of Business
Point of view: “More and more private equity firms are looking to recruit women, so there has never been a better time for women to enter the industry.”
Katie Hockman
Name: Katie Hockman
No. of years in M&A: 15
Current position: Managing Director, Antares Capital
Key responsibilities: Responsible for client relationship development, new business origination, underwriting and portfolio company management
Previous: Member of the underwriting team at Antares Capital; a founding member of the Chicago-based VC firm, BlueStar Ventures; ABN AMRO’s investment banking division
Education: Ohio State University; Northwestern University
Point of view: On leaving the VC world to join the middle market: “I wanted to go into something where I could live with the investment after deploying the capital."
Anne Vazquez
Name: Anne Vazquez
No. of years in M&A: 14
Current position: Partner, NewSpring Mezzanine
Key responsibilities: Making value-added investments in growing lower middle market companies
Previous: American Capital and KPMG
Education: B.S. from the University of Rhode Island; M.S. from Villanova University
Success Secrets: “If you’re good at what you do, and you surround yourself with good people, your gender won’t matter in the end.”