The interview below is part of an ongoing effort by McGuireWoods to profile women leaders in private equity (PE). To read previous profiles, click here. To recommend a woman for a future interview, email Amber Walsh at [email protected].
Elizabeth “Liz” Weindruch is a member of Barings’ diversified alternative equity team and is responsible for originating and underwriting funds and co-investments globally. She is on the firm’s environmental, social and governance steering committee and is also on the leadership team of the Barings Women’s Network.
Prior to joining Barings in 2015, she was with the Wells Fargo Investment Institute where she led the strategy, due diligence, implementation and support efforts for PE and private real estate products across the alternative investments platform. She also held various PE roles at Citi Private Bank, Brooke Private Equity Associates and Investor Group Services.
Weindruch serves as a trustee and chair of the investment committee for the Heifer Foundation, is a member of the investment committee for the Davidson College endowment and is a member of the advisory board for Sleeping Giant Capital. She holds a BA in political science from Davidson College.
Q: Why is it important for more women to pursue careers in PE?
Elizabeth Weindruch: Considering women have more influence over household purchasing decisions and how money is invested in a home setting, it makes sense that this dynamic has evolved into the more institutional investment world. Women driving decisions in PE is more reflective of what’s going on in our broader communities as well as the broader investment landscape. There’s data out there that shows women are better investors, and whether you believe that or not, having a woman’s voice at the table from an investment perspective is important.
Q: Why do you actively support providing capital to women entrepreneurs?
EW: We think women are great investors, and we specifically go out of our way to try to identify women fund managers. We believe women are typically underrepresented, and it can be more difficult for a woman to get to the senior levels of decision making within a PE firm or investment manager.
As a result, you often see women start their own firms. We actively support these people because they have strong investment track records, make good decisions and make good investments.
Q: What attracted you to PE?
EW: If you look at my background, how I got here is fairly nontraditional. I started out working in Washington, D.C, in a political setting and studied political science and religion in undergrad. I initially became attracted to PE because I worked in a consulting firm and an environment where I had exposure to a lot of different PE transactions. I was and continue to be fascinated by the blend of quantitative analytics and qualitative research and analysis required to make smart investment decisions when you’re both backing PE teams or looking to invest in individual deals.
At the end of the day, PE is a people business. While the quantitative aspect is very important, the personal relationships I’ve developed over time have kept me here.
What ultimately attracted me was the ability to interact and work with really smart people. They are not just sitting behind spreadsheets but also going out in the market, meeting management teams and making good investments. I’ve been doing this for almost 20 years, and I still learn something new every day.
Q: What advice would you provide to a woman-led company interested in securing PE?
EW: Don’t be afraid to reach out to people — find something in common and make the connection. For me, it’s part of the job to respond, listen to the story and hopefully develop a relationship..
Be persistent. Reach out to the right people. Reach out to as many people as you can. Also, maintain and hold on to the network of relationships you develop over time. I have found that PE is a small world. A lot of the same folks have been in the business for as long as I have. You never know if people who can’t help you today might be able to help you tomorrow.
To build and hold on to a network of women in PE, look into organizations like PEWIN and WAVE. They are great ways to learn about events and opportunities. Attending conferences can be helpful. There are women’s conferences and events out there — Kayo is one that comes to mind.
I think a combination of participating in events and reaching out to people every now and again is key. Finding a way to stay connected with people and finding good ways to reach out are important. You want to stay top of mind as you’re out there looking for capital in the market.
Something that helped me keep up with people is trying to think of ways I can connect the dots with people I know. Maybe it’s connecting people to sources of capital or connecting like-minded people. I try to approach the world not with an agenda of “What can this person provide to me?” but “How can I be helpful in the overall market?” I think that type of mindset is important for people who are just getting started or trying to develop relationships.
To contact Elizabeth Weindruch, email [email protected].