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Level 20 2

As both International Women’s Day and our Empower for Change event are fast approaching, at Altus Partners we decided to seize the opportunity to celebrate the successful women in private equity who will lead our programme as speakers and panellists.

The first event of a three-part programme, Empower for Change – Each for Equal will take place on Wednesday 11th March. Our mission is ‘To Inspire, Elevate and Support’ and to help change the current situation in the male-dominated industry of private equity by attracting and retaining more female professionals. In order to provide you with relevant insights and practical tools to start changing the situation in your company, what better way than to partner with dynamic and uplifting Level20 members? 

Set up in 2015, this non-profit organisation shares our mission of gender equality in private equity: they aim to see 20% of this industry’s senior roles being held by women since the current reality only amounts to a small 5.2%.

Here are the female professionals who not only decided to enter private equity, but also managed to turn it into a successful career path by growing with and within their companies.

Caroline Woodworth – Vice President at General Atlantic

Focusing on investments for their Financial Services sector, Caroline is one of the reasons behind the success of the European arm of General Atlantic, a pioneer of growth equity with 40 years of experience in this industry. After graduating in Economics and Political Science from Middlebury College, she worked as a Senior Associate for the American private equity firm J.C. Flowers & Co, and as an Investment Banking Analyst for Citigroup in New York.

Caroline was also included in the prestigious list of 25 Rising Stars in European Private Equity in 2019, a program that celebrates Europe-based professionals under the age of 40. This was thanks to her inspiring variety of personal and career achievements, including her beneficial contributions to General Atlantic’s investments in Deutsche Börse’s Index and Portfolio Risk/Analytics Business.

Lara Markham – Investment Manager at Graphite Capital

An Oxford Law graduate, Lara has been an asset to Graphite Capital across a variety of sectors since 2017, first as an Investment Executive and then, after only a year, as a Manager. She has also worked in mergers & acquisitions and corporate strategy for OC&C Strategy Consultants, in their consumer, business services and TMT sectors.

Louise Boothby – Partner at Coller Capital

A key member of the investment team and Partner for ten years, Louise is in charge of origination and execution in the London branch of Coller Capital, a multinational company that has been leading private equity’s secondary market for 30 years. 

Louise has previously worked in the Debt Advisory team at DC Advisory Partners and in the Securitised and Principal Finance team at Dresdner Kleinwort. She also graduated in Economics from the University of Nottingham.

Proactive and highly motivated, she has been getting involved with events and courses such as Mental Health First Aid to help raise money, support and awareness for mental health.

Louise has kindly agreed to answer our questions regarding gender equality, sharing interesting insights and her personal experience, as well as a little Empower for Change sneak peek.

Was there a particular moment in your career that made you realise that the current situation regarding gender equality in the workplace could definitely be improved?

“I’ve worked my whole career in a male-dominated environment, and in many ways thrived within it. There was never really a single defining moment where I realised things should be different: I’ve thought that since looking around on the first day of my graduate intake. However, as I became more senior, there were a series of moments where I realised things could be different, and that I had the power to make small changes.”

 How is Level 20 helping tackle this problem?

“Level20 is certainly raising awareness of the issues by ensuring that diversity is front and centre in people’s minds. It’s also a helpful network to connect with others with similar experiences and use that to help navigate your own career path. The most valuable and rewarding element of Level20 for me personally has been my involvement with the mentoring program, both as a mentee and now twice as mentor. I’ve learned so much about myself and others as part of that experience!”

In this industry, many valuable employees and, especially, minorities leave their positions after a few months or years instead of developing their full potential and growing with the company. Have you got any tips for other companies on how to retain them?

“I’ve always believed in focusing on a strength-based development model: be flexible, identify strengths and high-potential early, and nurture them. Allow people to develop in roles where their personal strengths are utilised and valued, with space to grow. Ultimately, creating a supportive environment which gives people the opportunity to do something they both enjoy and are good at should hopefully make them stickier.”

Could you give us a little sneak peek of something that you’re excited to talk about at Empower for Change?

“Balance—always a hot topic! What does it mean? Can you achieve it? Should you want to? Does it limit your career potential? I’d be really interested to hear others’ views and experiences on the topic.”

Given their successful experience in this male-dominated industry, we are confident that Caroline, Lara and Louise are some of the best private equity professionals to show you what an ambitious woman can achieve in this sector, as well as how companies can benefit from hiring minorities and a diverse workforce. Join the conversation and help us change the game!

Find out more about this event and reserve your place by contacting us at or calling us on 0203 854 2681.

[Picture credit: General Atlantic, Coller Capital and Graphite Central websites.]