Women’s Private Equity Summit

March 14, 2009

Thursday and Friday, I attended the Women’s Private Equity Summit (300 women and one very brave man).  The conference covered the same kinds of topics that any current private equity summit would cover.  Panelists talked about the impacts of uncertainty and where opportunities lie, even in the current environment.

Two comments struck me as being noteworthy:

One panel moderator asked, “How important is diversity in private equity recruiting?”  Although most people immediately thought about race, gender, and  “ethnic” diversity,  one very insightful audience member pointed out that for the same reasons that  private equity firms reduce their financial risk by diversifying their financial portfolios,  such firms (or for that matter, businesses, in general) could further reduce their risk by ensuring that their teams include a diversity of skill sets and perspectives–regardless of race, gender, or ethnicity–so that multiple views would be more likely to be considered.

On a slightly different topic, another observer pointed out that women have been conspicuously absent in the leadership of the well-known failed and failing business enterprises that have led to the current economic crisis.