: What do you enjoy the most about your work as a PE executive, Lauren?
LH: [At Merit, Hamlin identifies potential investments across the country, analyzing and scrutinizing to find the best possible opportunities for the firm, serving on boards of directors at those businesses that make the cut, and then spending years working closely with management to improve and grow each company.] “I love the work. It’s exciting to be involved in so many different industries and to strategize with the management teams to develop the initiatives that help them grow.”
AJR: Are the board rooms and private equity partners tables that you operate in diverse gender-wise?
LH: “[In the early years before reaching this point in my career, I confided to a close friend that] “It just feels weird to be the only woman.” My friend’s response really stuck. She said, “You know, people are going to remember you better because you aren’t just another one of the guys. You are different because you are a woman. You bring a different perspective forward.”
AJR: Will PE forever be this male-dominated?
LH: “There is a growing focus on having more gender balance and cultural diversity in boards and private equity firms. Investors are pushing for this. So, things are evolving.”
AJR: How do you battle through in the interim?
LH: “[I] don’t focus on it—just be the best that you can be. If you work really hard and stick with it, you will gain invaluable experience. Because you are there and you have a different perspective than some of your other male co-workers, it is a plus for you, and for your firm. [And] turn around and help the next woman behind you. It’s so important to give back—to be a sounding board and to help each other. When I came up, there were not a lot of female role models. I wish it had been different then, but we can help make it different for the women who are coming up now.”
AJR: Secret to parenting as a working mom?
LH: “Whatever we are doing together, I keep the focus on them. If I go to watch them at a lesson or event, I really watch them. I’m not on my cell phone.”
AJR: Best piece of advice you can give women striving to enter the private equity/finance realms?
LH: “There are continually more female college graduates entering the private equity arena. My advice to those women would be to pick great mentors; they will help shape your career.”
To read the entire article on Lauren Hamlin entitled “Equitable Equity,” in the May 2022 Edition of Sheridan Road Magazine, find it here.
Article Credit: Monica Kass Rogers for Sheridan Road Magazine