The interview below is part of a yearlong effort by McGuireWoods to profile women leaders in private equity. To read previous profiles, click here. To recommend a woman for a future interview, email Amber Walsh at [email protected].Granite Growth Health Partners
Q: Why do you actively support providing capital to women entrepreneurs?
Diane Daych: I don’t necessarily proactively try to find women entrepreneurs. I have a fiduciary responsibility to try to find the best companies to invest in. My goal is to find the best companies and the best management talent. If a great company happens to have a woman CEO, that’s awesome. At one point, I had two women CEOs in my portfolio, and I just sold a company with a female CEO.
What may be potentially different about working with a woman partner in PE is that women are not blind to 50 percent of the population out there who can be great CEOs. We’ll look at the entire talent pool, not just the male half.
Q: Why is it important for more women to pursue careers in PE?
DD: The data show that diversity and different perspectives around the board table make a big difference and can have a positive impact on companies.
I am frequently the only woman or one of two women around a board table, and the second is usually part of the management team.
To echo what I said earlier, women who are in PE will look at 100 percent of the talent pool and not just 50 percent of the talent pool. That includes board positions as well as C-suite management.
Q: What attracted you to PE?
DD: I was essentially a “quant (quantitative) jock” in college — a math and economics major. I was an actuary before I went to business school. I was also extremely social. Those qualities don’t usually go together.
When I was in business school, I spoke with a lot of my friends who graduated ahead of me who went into investment banking. I also talked with one friend who had gone right to GE and its buyout group. The way he described what he was doing in terms of working with the companies and management teams was so much more interesting to me than what the investment bankers described.
I looked at the deal business and thought it would be a great combination of being able to do the numbers and all the analysis, while at the same time having to leverage my interpersonal skills because you’re making deals. In PE, you’re really working with a company and not just selling something. That may have been a naïve, immature way of looking at the business, but it sounded so much more interesting to me. So that’s the route I went.
As I’ve now been in the field for a long time, the company-building aspect of it is what I love — partnering with a management team to help grow a company. In my case, because I’m focused exclusively on healthcare services, I’m working with management teams to build companies that are positively impacting how healthcare is delivered in this country. That’s what drives me. It’s very intellectually challenging, fun and rewarding when you see a company making such an impact.
Q: Can you share a personal story that you feel exemplifies the value of women entrepreneurship?
DD: I proudly point to my story with Granite. We formed Granite about a year ago by doing a secondary spinout of the healthcare services portfolio I built at a prior fund. It was a very heavy lift, but we got it done. It was my third try at raising a fund. I kept going after it really, really hard. I think it finally happened because of grit, perseverance and resilience. Maybe for women it is more of an uphill battle and we need a bit more of all three of those to keep going.
There have just been so many twists and turns when I think about my career that I never anticipated when I was that naïve, immature person who thought PE would be fun. But by being able to adapt and maintain that dedication to get where I wanted to, my own fund finally happened. I never would have thought this would happen three years ago. I never let go of the dream of having my own fund, but I couldn’t envision how it would happen. Then the opportunity presented itself. I grabbed it and we got it done.
To contact Daych, email [email protected].