Jeanne left her public accounting background to join the world of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) nearly 20 years ago. At that time, there was very little female participation. Jeanne learned early on in her career that for her talent to be recognized she needed to work outside of her comfort zone and never say no to an opportunity. And, while she did not initially feel confident in her ability to run a multimillion-dollar transaction, when thrown into such a situation, she did just that.
Like many others, she had a preconceived notion of what kind of personality it took to be successful in M&A but learned that there are a variety of successful ways to approach these transactions and many of the skills women naturally possess fit perfectly into the profession. Now, Jeanne wants to provide insight into the investment banking world and inspire other women to join a male-dominated field with an outdated reputation for requiring a specific personality type and style.
Jeanne believes that many of the industry’s barriers are self-imposed and that women should not be dissuaded from participating due to perceived or real obstacles. It’s a difficult industry for anyone, let alone women who are raising families — long hours, late nights and weekends, managing the tough and differing personalities of clients and the buyers. However, she is consistently impressed by the focus, diligence and ability to multitask demonstrated by the women she has mentored in the field. Woman make exceptional negotiators, tend to have the much-needed patience to deal with a stressful environment and are good listeners — all crucial factors in closing a deal.
Interaction with women clients can be different, but Jeanne’s overall approach comes with a very personal touch, regardless of the gender of those with whom she is working. With every deal, Jeanne is most interested in finding the right fit for both parties. She admits that while the financial factor is obviously important, equally so is life after the transaction. That is a major consideration in how she guides her deals.
Jeanne runs the Healthcare Division at Cross Keys Capital, working mostly with physician practices. She is currently working on a large transaction led by an all-women team, including two McGuireWoods attorneys and the lead physician. Jeanne believes that the success of the transaction is due in a large part to an organized and transparent team approach that is inherent in each woman’s leadership style. Ultimately, what makes Jeanne stand out as a successful woman in M&A is her unique ability to adopt a thoughtful and caring perspective for the long term, while simultaneously maintaining the respect of the PE investor community and being a tough negotiator on behalf of her clients.
We are honored to celebrate Jeanne Proia and Cross Keys Capital!
The McGuireWoods Women in Private Equity & Finance Initiative promotes the advancement of women in private equity and lending through a series of varied experiences that provide substantive educational and networking opportunities.