Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Developing Tomorrow’s Leaders: CWPE’s New Mentorship Program

CWPE 2400px October 04 2017 1024x577

Photo: Lisa Melchior (VERTU Capital), Sylvia Rasic (BMO), Brenda Hogan (OCGC), Natalie Townsend (Northrock Capital) and Brett Stewart (McMillan LLP)

We are focused on promoting the entry, advancement, development and retention of women in private capital”

Canadian Women in Private Equity (CWPE), a committee of the CVCA, have launched a first-of-its-kind mentorship program designed to increase the number of women in the private capital industry and in particular, those in senior leadership positions.

The CVCA’s CWPE committee was established to provide a platform for women in the private capital industry to network, share information and compare notes on leading practices.

CWPE membership consists of institutional investors, fund, managers, and professional service providers such as lawyers and bankers. The common thread is that they all operate in private capital.

CWPE Co-Chairs Brenda Hogan, Senior Investment Manager, Ontario Capital Growth Corporation, and Brett Stewart, Co-Chair, Private Equity, McMillan LLP explain the new mentorship program falls under the umbrella of the committee’s gender diversity goals.

We are focused on promoting the entry, advancement, development and retention of women in private equity,” says Hogan. We’re also focused on providing a forum for women in private equity to network and make business connections, and exchange business ideas, knowledge and opinions.”

Mentorship is indeed a powerful way to catalyze gender diversity.

A 2017 global survey by Egon Zehnder claims that, of all women surveyed, women in the C‑suite used resources like advocacy and mentorship to advance their career at the highest rates.

We believe mentorship is an effective way for women to learn and benefit from the experience of others, particularly at critical inflection points in their careers,” Stewart emphasizes. The program is intended to foster meaningful networks for the participants.”

The CWPE mentorship program, which launched back in May, is the result of a high demand from CWPE membership. The first cohort is already fully subscribed, which speaks to the demand and interest in the program across the membership.

Our first cohort includes 42 participants (21 pairs) from across the PE and venture capital industry and across Canada,” says Hogan. It is a really strong group and we will grow the program in the years ahead.”

Stewart says the mentorship program has participants across Canada. Where possible, the CWPE is pairing people in the same city and in cases due to geography, participants have agreed to meet via virtual meetings.

The mentorship program speaks to the CWPE’s evolution and satisfies one of the committee’s 2017 ambitions.

This year, we were confident that our membership had grown to include a large and diverse enough group of women at various stages of their careers to allow for a successful launch of a mentorship program, so we made it one of our key initiatives,” Hogan says.

We are thrilled with the participation and the results.”

Those interested in the mentorship program are encouraged to sign up as a CWPE member by contacting the CWPE Co-Chairs, Brenda Hogan or Brett Stewart here.

If you would like to submit an idea for content, contribute to an article, or are interested in submitting an op-ed, contact the CVCA’s editorial department here.