MidOcean Partners, which was a 2021 M&A Leader in DEI, recently launched the Women’s Awareness Initiative (WAI). The program aims to bridge the gender diversity gap in the asset management industry. The Institutional Limited Partners Association (ILPA) has endorsed WAI and added the program to its DEI roadmap. Read more below.

Established by managing director and ESG/compliance officer Candice Richards, WAI’s mission is to bring together institutions committed to advancing gender diversity and demonstrate to women of all ages their possibilities for success. WAI plans to achieve this via workshops and programming that help women build relationships and hone their career-related skillsets. Founding members of WAI include Avante Capital Partners, The Riverside Company and Churchill Asset Management.

What steps are you taking to improve DEI at your firm?

Candice Richards, Managing Director, ESG/Compliance Officer

Two areas were of specific importance to us as we developed our DEI platform. The first was formalizing and communicating our commitment to DEI. We sought to engage the entire firm in this dialogue to heighten awareness at all levels and functional groups across the firm. Secondly, it was, and continues to be, very important to us to engage our broader communities around the importance of a strong DEI approach.

In an effort to bring a diverse set of individuals exposure and access to the financial services industry, we have engaged in a number of collaborative partnerships and worked with our communities to create awareness and access. We’ve collaborated with local organizations to provide professional opportunities to students from underserved communities.

We’ve built relationships with First Workings, a New York City-based nonprofit that trains and places high school students from underserved communities in paid internships at major companies, and with Cristo Rey New York High School, which offers a corporate work study program in which students work one day per week at an assigned company and are able to earn up to 40 percent of the cost of their education.

What steps are you taking to improve DEI at your portfolio companies?

We actively engage with portfolio company senior executives and boards of directors to discuss broader ESG initiatives, inclusive of DEI, and collect from each of our companies DEI metrics to establish a baseline from which to measure progress over time. In the spirit of continuous engagement and dialogue with our teams around DEI issues, we serve as a resource to our portfolio companies on individual DEI-related initiatives.