Synergist SF hosted a breakfast with Justina Lai, Director of Impact Investing at Wetherby Asset Management. Over a few cups of coffee and scrambled eggs, Justina and the Synergist Board chatted about the evolution of impact investing and navigating the challenges of working as a woman in a male-dominated industry. Justina’s passion for driving meaningful change through her work was palpable and truly inspiring. Having made the transition from more traditional private equity to now leading investments across multiple asset classes with an impact investing thesis, Justina’s perspective was invaluable to all of us aiming to combine our professional ambition and desire to make a real difference in the world into a meaningful career.
On April 25th, the boards of Exponent and Synergist came together over dinner and drinks to discuss how we could tap into our networks and experiences to create exciting opportunities for our members. A network of women deal-makers whose mission is to “raise women to a new power,” Exponent shares many of Synergist’s values and ambitions. We look forward to working together in the future, starting with attending the Marquee Exponent Exchange in JulyA special thanks goes to Nanette Heide for hosting us at the offices of Duane Morris (and supplying the wine!)
Our NY Chapter was thrilled to meet Aly Lovett, Partner at Radian Capital, over breakfast this morning. We’d been looking forward to meeting Aly since she was featured in our January 2018 newsletter and became our most popular profile! Typically, our breakfast discussions are closed to the Synergist Board, but given pent-up demand from the newsletter, we opened up spots to a few lucky members of the Synergist Network.
In between sips of coffee and bites of a breakfast BLT, Aly spoke about her experience transitioning from investment banking, to TA Associates, to FTV Capital, to Radian Capital, all the while starting a family with her husband, Mark, a Principal at American Securities. Her energy and passion were inspiring, as were her words of advice related to pitching a deal at investment committee (“the art of storytelling”), considering an investment opportunity with an awareness about your disposition toward risk, and joining the “right” firm where you can be open about your personal life and are aligned on key priorities. Aly’s experiences while building her career resonate deeply with all of us – to see someone who has been so successful in overcoming many of the challenges we face today is not only reassuring but also uniting. Having navigated numerous transitions and now running a leading growth equity firm while raising two cute kids, Aly is a true role model for all of us. We look forward to working with her to organize a future event to support….yes, you probably guessed it…WOMEN looking to build careers in investing (and learn more about Radian Capital)!
On March 24th, Synergist hosted a SoulCycle fundraiser and post-workout meet & greet with snacks donated by Hu Kitchen. Although the Saturday evening timing wasn’t ideal, we were thrilled that over sixty guys and girls joined us for the ride and helped us raise money to support our organization and fund future events for our community! We’re so thankful for everyone that attended.
This week, the San Francisco chapter held its kick-off event, celebrating the launch of the Synergist Network in the Bay Area. The event was co -hosted by Karen Derr Gilbert of FTV Capital and Jennifer James of Thoma Bravo. Guest speaker Kate Mitchell, Co -Founder & Partner of Scale Venture Partners, addressed a group of more than 75 attendees – both senior and junior women in finance and investing – sharing her views on what’s next in the industry, providing career advice to the next generation, and imparting her belief in the opportunities for young women in this market.
Synergist members were extremely excited to host a breakfast with Tiffany Clay, Vice President at L Catterton, on December 12th. Previously Tiffany was a Principal at TPG Capital where she was a founding member of the TPG Alternative and Renewable Technologies investment team. She gave advice on the transition between different private equity firms and more specifically, coverage of different industries. Tiffany also shared insight on how to find the best fit for yourself within investing. Having attended Harvard Business school she was able to answer several questions Synergist members had on the opportunities that business school offers. Overall, Tiffany’s advice was highly valued and all Synergist members were grateful for her time!
On November 16, Synergist hosted a panel discussion on buy-side recruiting and careers in investing. The panel featured female representatives from firms across the investing spectrum - Advent International, BDMI Ventures, General Atlantic, and Stonepeak Infrastructure - as well as a representative from Bellcast Partners, a top private equity recruiting firm.
On November 3, members of the Synergist board had lunch with Erika Karp, Founder and CEO of Cornerstone Capital, a firm dedicated to bringing the discipline of sustainable finance to mainstream capital markets. With analysis of ESG factors in the investment process, Cornerstone Capital advises both investors and corporations on how to optimize their financial and business decision-making processes. Erika talked to us about her experience transitioning from a traditional Wall Street management role at UBS to launching her own startup with Cornerstone (“It’s like jumping out of an airplane and building the parachute on the way down!”) and some of the valuable lessons she learned along the way. We also had a chance to ask her some more practical questions about sustainable investing, and came away with some great ideas about how to integrate concepts of sustainability into our day to day investing mindset.
When board member Sarika Ramakrishnan relocated to San Francisco to work at Genstar Capital, she was disappointed to leave the Synergist community in New York behind. On October 22nd, Sarika hosted an introductory brunch with women from a handful of investment banks and private equity firms, as the first step in creating a San Francisco chapter. We are very excited for the events they have in the pipeline including – a Sur La Table cooking class, an introduction to PE recruiting, and an overview of the business school application process with current students and recent graduates! Please use the contact us page to indicate your interest in joining our new SF chapter!
On a chilly fall Thursday, Synergist hosted a breakfast with Pat Hedley, Founder and CEO of The Path Ahead. Pat, a former Managing Director at General Atlantic, has nearly three decades of global private equity experience and currently invests in entrepreneurs and CEOs of growth companies, such as Margaux, who’s founders, Alexa and Sarah, CEOs to help them accelerate revenue growth, expand their strategic network and scale their operations. She is also the author of Meet 100 People, a how-to-guide for those beginning to build their networks. Pat continues to support Synergist and has encouraged numerous women to join the Synergist Network, and we couldn’t be more grateful!
Over a few cups of coffee and some avocado toast, Stash Wealth Founding Partner, Priya Malani, and the Synergist Board chatted about personal investing best practices, renting vs. buying, and why millennials may not need to give up those little indulgences (like that avocado toast). A new model for asset management, Stash Wealth focuses on investing for HENRY’s – or those of us not yet wealthy enough for a manager at a major bank, but still in need of a financial plan. Want to learn more? Synergist Network subscribers can book a complimentary initial assessment call with Stash Wealth here.
In May, Synergist hosted a panel and networking event in collaboration with Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO), a non-profit organization that provides educational and career programs to young people from underserved and underrepresented communities. Approximately 30-40 incoming summer interns in investment banking, sales & trading, research and asset management attended the event. We enjoyed sharing our work experiences with an eager group of students embarking on their finance careers and were also able to form longer-term mentor/mentee relationships through the event!
The Synergist Board had the privilege of meeting Andrea Turner Moffitt, Co-Founder of Plum Alley and author of Harness the Power of the Purse: Winning Women Investors, and Lisa Shalett, retired Goldman Sachs Partner and early member of Plum Alley. We learned more about the people and decisions to which they attribute their successful careers in financial services. We also picked their brains for tips on investing. You can find additional insights from our conversation here. If you’re interested in learning more, please use our Contact Us page. We’ll be reading Andrea’s book and meeting for a book club discussion next month!
The women of Synergist visited The Bowery Mission on the Lower East Side of NYC to prepare and serve 300 meals before Thanksgiving. The Bowery Mission has served homeless, hungry and poor New Yorkers since 1879 and is heavily dependent on volunteers. We were thankful to have been part of such an empowering program. Please reach out if you are interested in volunteering with us in the future!
On November 9th, 2016, Synergist invited a group of 20 junior women from investment banks across New York City to breakfast at Le Pain Quotidien. The setting was very welcoming and informal, with board members rotating around the room to speak with all attendees on topics such as their reasons for moving into private equity, their experience thus far in their associate roles, and advice for navigating the private equity recruiting process. Feedback after the session from both the Synergist board members and the invited analysts was incredibly positive, and we look forward to hosting more events in the future aimed at strengthening the network of young women in finance.
On November 4th, 2016, Synergist attended Harvard Alumni for Global Women's Empowerment's ("GlobalWE's") first Women's Empowerment Expo, focused on global women's issues and initiatives. The Expo provided a forum for leading women's empowerment organizations to connect with Harvard alumni and students seeking career, internship, mentorship, volunteer, and fundraising opportunities. We were inspired by the people we met and are excited that Synergist's cause resonated with so many women.
On June 16th, 2016, Tovah Haim, Vice President of Finance at Blue Apron, spoke at Synergist’s Summer Cocktails event hosted on the Stripes Group rooftop. Tovah shared her exciting career path across a variety of industries – beginning as a Technology Investment Banking analyst based in California, Tovah moved to New York to pursue global infrastructure private equity investing. She next transitioned to corporate strategy at a consumer company before ultimately returning to the technology sector and taking a position at Blue Apron. We can’t wait to see what’s in store for you and Blue Apron next!
On June 14th, 2016, The Girls’ Lounge sponsored the Synergist Network to attend the White House Summit on the United State of Women in Washington DC. The Summit focused on five core pillars that impact women and girls: violence against women, health and wellness, economic empowerment, entrepreneurship and innovation, and educational opportunity. Megan Smith, U.S. Chief Technology Officer and Assistant to the President, graciously welcomed us into her home for dinner to cap off an incredible day. On the train back to New York, we reminisced on the words we heard from POTUS, FLOTUS, and Warren Buffet, who encouraged us to have jobs that make us “tap dance to work.” Check out the video!
We were delighted to be invited to participate in The New York Fashion Tech Lab Demo Day on June 8th, 2016. The New York Fashion Tech Lab was co-founded by the Partnership Fund for New York City, Springboard Enterprises and major fashion retailers to support women-led companies that have developed innovations at the intersection of fashion, retail, and technology. We really enjoyed learning about the 2016 Lab companies and look forward to tracking their growth!
On May 10th, 2016, Synergist attended a book signing with Maureen Sherry, the author of Opening Belle and former Managing Director at Bear Stearns. Set around 2007, Opening Belle tells the story of a young mother's struggle to manage her home life and her high pressure job on Wall Street. Thank you, Maureen, for bringing together multiple generations of financiers and inspiring us all. We’re very excited to see Opening Belle starring Reese Witherspoon when it comes out in theaters soon!