From being encouraged to encouraging others – International Women’s Day

Raelan Lambert is Managing Director, Advisory Services with Pavilion Alternatives Group, LLC.  Raelan is based in Sacramento.

Right place, right time:  I originally started my career at Goldman Sachs but stumbled upon private equity when my husband and I relocated to Sacramento, CA from New York City.  I found the opportunity at Pavilion through a proactive job search and was excited to have the opportunity to be an integral part of a growing firm. It felt very entrepreneurial and provided me with a lot of opportunity to contribute to the firm’s growth and learn about private equity.

Gaining experience:  At the outset, I recall feeling as though I wanted to be promoted immediately and be out in the market more. I quickly realized that it takes time and experience to truly develop a deep and broad enough set of skills to really appreciate and adeptly manage all of the dynamics of our industry. Private equity is a people business at its core and it’s extremely important to have good judgement and be a thoughtful communicator.

“I would advise women to speak up
and offer a potential solution
to challenges they may be experiencing
rather than give up and leave.”

The numbers are rising:  One of the things I really missed when I moved to Sacramento was having a professional network of women to interact with regularly. In NYC, I was on the board of a professional women’s organization and that was really important to me. I recall when the first Women in Private Equity Summit was launched 11 years ago.  It was pretty small (under 100 attendees, I think) and today, 550 women will be at the March 2018 Summit! This shows how our industry has evolved to showcase and celebrate women, support us in our careers, and provide us with the opportunity to engage with one another more candidly and frequently. Through attending the Summit over the years, I have built a wonderful network of professional women and friends all over the world and this has been really important to my continued happiness and growth.

Forging a path with encouragement:  I have worked for as long as I can remember and put myself through college; I am the first college graduate in my family.  I definitely forged my own career path and have sought many mentors along the way with whom I owe so much of my success. To me, a mentor is someone who has met my ambition with encouragement, sound judgement and advice, and built my confidence. A professors at the University of Virginia McIntire School of Commerce was a huge influence and recommended that I interview with Goldman Sachs back in 1998. I am so grateful for her belief in me. While at Goldman Sachs, I had many mentors and one that led to my next role at American Express, where I had amazing exposure to the firm’s C-level executives and top technology companies like Oracle, Dell, IBM, HP and so many others. One mentor at Amex taught me how to think more strategically about my career, build a network and unapologetically blaze a path.

Advice for women:  For women seeking to enter the industry, I would advise them to realize that in the early years it may be easier to focus on yourself and your goals. If you decide to enter into a partnership and grow a family as time progresses, it will certainly become more challenging to juggle it all. Things will not go as smoothly at one time or another and you will be faced with important choices. I feel it took a bit longer for me to find my own voice but I know that I have it today.

I feel the industry today is more understanding of the many responsibilities we juggle as women. At Pavilion, we have had a mentoring and advancement program in place for many years to help guide our people through their development. I would advise women to speak up and offer a potential solution to challenges they may be experiencing rather than give up and leave. I would tell them that they are extremely important and the worst thing that can happen is your request is answered with a “No”. Most often, however, it’s answered with a “Maybe, let’s talk about that some more” or a “Yes”!


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