Facilitating Diversity within Private Equity
Q + A with Investment Director, Danielle Garland
How did you get started in private equity, and what has been your path to your current role?
At school, money was tight, so I was always trying to make more on the side; my days were spent in the library and my evenings behind the bar of the local pub. My only female role model at the time was Carol Vorderman, as I liked numbers, so when the long hours paid off, I went to university to study maths.
I was often laughed at for wanting a career in ‘finance’ (childcare, I was told, was more realistic). Not that I understood what finance was (beyond my local bank branch); however, I knew it was my best chance to open up a world with more opportunities.
I started my career on a graduate scheme at KPMG in 2008. I completed my ACA, used this as a platform to get as much experience across M&A, learned what private equity was, and did my CFA exams. I then moved into private equity in 2016.
You have recently joined the Palatine Investment team as Investment Director. What convinced you to join?
Palatine is well ahead of the curve with its focus on ESG as a value driver, and I could see how successfully it had grown and its ambition to grow further. The team also felt like one I could work well with culturally, with a shared view that success will follow if you do the right thing and get the people aspect right.
What is the favourite aspect of your job?
I feel fortunate that I love what I do. It’s a role in which I am constantly learning and growing. From cake factories to film studios, every day is different. There’s also that thrill from feeling like you’re winning at something – you can see the tangible result of helping a company be the best it can be.
What advice would you give women considering a career in private equity?
Don’t be afraid to stick your neck out. It’s an industry where different views and opinions are highly valued, and we must avoid group thinking. I wasted too much time when I was younger, doubting myself, but as long as you score more goals than you let in, you will win the game.
What do you think about I&D in the private equity industry?
Across the industry, there is still a way to go. There’s a big focus on DE&I at Palatine, and we have a I&D Committee who are committed to continual improvement. We have recently set up a network and series of events to bring together women in the PE ecosystem, including investors, entrepreneurs and advisors. The aim is to build strong business relationships and ultimately facilitate more industry diversity. Gender is just one of the many strands of DE&I. However, given that women represent 50% of the population and less than 10% of women are in senior investment roles in UK private equity, it feels like an excellent place to start.