Working in private equity requires insane hours and tons of travel in a high-pressure environment, and it’s notoriously tough on women. As the Wall Street Journal’s Laura Kreutzer puts it in a blog post this afternoon, “Finding the time to procreate, let alone attend a dance recital or parent-teacher conference, can be challenging at best.” Kreutzer talks with a few women who have been successful in private equity — and become mothers along the way. Unsurprisingly, their advice is unapologetic and no-nonsense.
- Start your career before your family. If you’re on your way to partner before you start thinking about having kids, you have the credibility to ask for some wiggle room during that high-demand season of life. ““I put in a lot of time and energy, even before I was a partner. It’s about building the credibility with the people you work with, showing them that you’re a hard worker and that you will not drop the ball no matter what comes your way. That’s how you build the trust that will allow you to have the flexibility to do other things.” — Raquel Palmer, KPS Capital Partners, mother of three kids from age 4 to 8.
- Find a family-friendly employer. It’s not just about how they treat women, either. “You have to find a job and a firm that you believe will be supportive of you having a family. It’s not just the women at the workplace but the men as well. You can get a good sense of that by how many people around here have kids.” — Andrea Kramer, managing director at Hamilton Lane, mother of three from ages 9 to 11.
- Banish guilt. “I really think if you believe and act as if it’s a non-issue, it will be a non-issue. You’re really smart and you’re good at what you do, so just go with it. People sometimes feel guilty and worry about things that they shouldn’t be worried about.” — Pam Hendrickson, COO of the Riverside Company, mother of an 18-year-old and a 15-year-old.