MidOcean Partners kicked off its Women’s Awareness Initiative (WAI) this week with the aim of bridging the gender diversity gap in the asset management industry near term.
The effort is led by MidOcean’s Candice Richards and has already gathered interest from other private market managers including The Riverside Company, Avante Capital Partners and Churchill Asset Management.
WAI has also been endorsed by the Institutional Limited Partners Association, adding the program to its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Road Map geared to investors. The WAI mission is to bring together institution committed to advancing gender diversity in the industry and to demonstrate to women of all ages their possibilities for success in the space, according to Richards, who is managing director and ESG/compliance officer at MidOcean.
The group plans to hold workshops and programming aimed to help women build relationships and achieve career-related skillsets.
“Our catalyst for establishing WAI was the realization that given our position of influence, our actions have the potential to make real change and impact in our industry and set the stage for multi-generational impact,” Richards said in a statement. “I feel incredibly fortunate to work for a firm that has supported me throughout my career and has given me the runway to develop a framework to seek to create more opportunities for under-represented groups within the asset management industry.”
MidOcean has previously sponsored other initiatives, including Rise Up, an empowerment program supporting and inspiring women leaders at MidOcean’s portfolio companies; the Quarterly Women’s Breakfast Club series hosted in partnership with Churchill Asset Management; a Women’s Activation Movement whose focus is to provide tools and resources for women professionals at MidOcean to build their seat at the table; and Women at MidOcean, an internal affinity group committed to helping both employees and women from the broader community develop key skills and acquire new relationships through industry events and networking.
Elena Laird, a vice president on the Riverside Strategic Capital Fund, will serve as the WAI representative from The Riverside Company.
“We are excited to contribute to this important initiative because we are deeply committed to its mission,” she said in a statement. “We look forward to sharing the strategies that have made The Riverside Company successful and working together to further improve gender diversity across the asset management industry.”
Membership in WAI is not limited by a firm’s asset size or geographic location, officials said. As a signatory of WAI, asset management firms commit to:
- Establish a firm-wide communications channel for female employees to foster seamless connectivity and relationship among women of all levels of the organization;
- Host an annual intrafirm women’s event to encourage women throughout the entirety of an organization to build camaraderie;
- Promote learning and discovery among younger female generations by hosting an annual women’s opportunity workshop to expose high school- and college-aged women to career paths in asset management; and
- Participate in the Annual WAI Meeting by sending a firm representative to discuss year-over-year progress and goals.
“We look forward to welcoming many more signatories and working with firms across the industry to raise awareness of the myriad career paths available and fast-tracking access to asset management roles for a new generation,” Richards added.