Women in Alternatives Initiative

The NAIC Women in Alternatives Initiative is a partnership between the National Association of Investment Companies and the American Investment Council (AIC) in collaboration with several other organizations with the goal of increasing the number of women entering and advancing in the private equity industry.


The NAIC has long since acknowledged the issue, with regular forums dedicated to discussing and finding solutions at its Private Equity and Hedge Fund Conference. This initiative will take efforts to a higher level by way of relevant research, educational forums, networking events, mentoring programs and other means.

Industry Guidelines
Women make up just 10 percent of senior employee ranks in private equity, according to William Alden’s report, Chipping Away at the Glass Ceiling in Private Equity. They generally face one of two career challenges: breaking into the industry; and when in the industry, identifying how to effectively navigate their way to the senior level positions. In light of this, a working committee developed guidelines private equity firms should consider:

  • Proactively seek to recruit women at all levels and in all roles throughout the firm.
  • Demonstrate a commitment from the top of the organization the goal advancing opportunities for women and having women in senior positions across all roles of the firm.
  • Foster a culture that encourages and supports the success of women.
  • Establish specific goals and/or initiatives to increase retention.
  • Implement policies that assure the professional development and success of all employees and employ metrics to measure success.
  • Establish an infrastructure (i.e., formalized processes fostering human capital) that supports the development of all employees with regard to promotion, compensation, and career opportunities.

Best Practices
The Women in Alternatives Initiative includes the convening of a Working Committee comprised of eleven senior women from AIC and NAIC firms, including members of PE WIN and representatives from SEO Alternative Investments and the Robert Toigo Foundation. Together, these industry leaders created the Initiative’s Guidelines and Best Practices, a framework for promoting recruitment and retention of women.

  Click here to download the Women in Alternatives Initiative Best Practices

Working Committee Members

  • Kelly Williams (Chair), Senior Advisor, GCM Grosvenor
  • Maura Allen, Private Equity Fellowship and Program Manager, Robert Toigo Foundation
  • Lauren Dillard, Managing Director and Head of Investment Solutions, Carlyle Group
  • Daphne J. Dufresne, Managing Director, JBD Holdings
  • Nia Gandy White, Managing Director, Head of Investor Relations and External Affairs, Astra Capital Management
  • Martina Marshall-Edwards, Former Director of Alumni & Alternative Investments Programs, SEO
  • Audra Paterna, Director of Human Resources, Silver Lake
  • JoAnn H. Price, Co-Founder/Managing Partner, Fairview Capital
  • Sarah Roth, Partner, The Riverside Company
  • Patricia Winton, Principal, Strategy and Human Capital, Arclight
  • Alisa A. Wood, Partner, KKR

Industry Partners

For more infomration, contact info@naicpe.com.

2017 Launch Event

To address the lack of women in alternative investing, the National Association of Investment Companies (NAIC) and the American Investment Council (AIC) jointly presented the Women in Private Equity Initiative Forum and hosted by KPMG LLP in New York City. Held on February 1st, approximately 100 investment professionals attended to discuss how hiring practices, trade associations and industry professionals can bring about solutions to reduce this disparity.

Lynne Doughtie, Chair and CEO of KPMG LLP, delivered opening remarks and discussed KPMG’s commitment to the advancement, development and empowerment of women in the marketplace. KPMG recently released the fifth “Women in Alternative Investments Report” that uncovered, among other things, 10 percent of investor respondents now have specific mandates for women-owned/-managed funds, a significant improvement since its 2013 survey in which only 2 percent of investor respondents had women-owned/-managed mandates.

Afterwards, Kelly Williams, Chair and CEO of the Private Equity Women Investor Network (PEWIN), moderated a discussion between Mike Sommers, President & CEO of the AIC, and Robert Greene, President & CEO of the NAIC, regarding the Private Equity Women's Initiative Best Practices and Guidelines issued in 2016. Sue Townsen, National Managing Partner, Diversity and Inclusion, KPMG LLP, stressed the importance of diversity and spoke of solutions to implement throughout the hiring processes at all levels as well as the unconscious bias that exists in the marketplace.

Alisa Wood, Partner, KKR and Steering Committee Member for PEWIN moderated a solutions-oriented conversation that highlighted resources for women in the industry. Each of those organizations align with the mission and purpose of the initiative. Among those resources are: PEWIN, http://pewin.org/; Girls Who Invest, http://www.girlswhoinvest.org/; and the Thirty Percent Coalition, https://www.30percentcoalition.org/.