Meet our D&I Leadership Team
You have a proven track record in the private real estate investment business and today act as Chairman of Private Real Estate at Partners Group. What does your typical workday look like?
In my role, I support the further development of Partners Group's private real estate business, which today counts over 70 professionals and USD 17 billion in total assets under management. The three areas I spend most of my time on are sourcing potential investment opportunities; conducting portfolio management activities for our real estate products and customized mandate solutions; and interacting with our global real estate client base.
Besides your role as Chairman of Private Real Estate, you Co-Chair Partners Group's Diversity & Inclusion Committee. What are the Committee's priorities right now?
Our mandate is focused primarily on three areas: hiring & onboarding, culture & retention, and progression & development. We have clearly defined goals and measures in each of these areas. For example, we are working towards achieving Partners Group's target of substantially increasing the number of its female Partners and Managing Directors to 25 by 2025 to tackle the under-representation of women in our industry. On the hiring side, some of the measures we have introduced include ensuring all long lists for senior positions have at least a certain percentage of female candidates, and that interview panels for these roles include at least one female interviewer. At the same time, we want to support and accelerate the development of our existing female talent and have established enhanced training and coaching programs for our mid-level professionals. Similarly, the same applies to other under-represented groups.
Another goal we are working towards is maintaining merit-based progression for all employees. While in the past we had focused on ensuring equal pay and progression rates across genders, today we are expanding our analysis to members of other under-represented groups to ensure all employees progress at the same rate, regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation or other characteristics.
Finally, we are focused on supporting our employee networks, which today comprise the Women's Network, the Black Network, the LGBT+ Network, and the Parents Network, by ensuring they have adequate governance and enough visibility within the firm. We are also in discussions about the constitution of a network that would benefit military veterans. All these initiatives require a lot of coordination across the firm, and we are proud of all our colleagues who take time out of their busy schedules to make Partners Group an even more inclusive place. In total, as of May 2021, we have more than 220 members across our existing employee networks.
"Inclusion to me means that the people around you focus on your skills and talent rather than who you are or what you look like. And, vice versa, whoever you are, you can be your true self and feel respected."
What does inclusion mean to you?
Inclusion to me means that the people around you focus on your skills and talent rather than who you are or what you look like. And, vice versa, whoever you are, you can be your true self and feel respected. In January 2000, I joined Partners Group as employee number 33. At the time, there was no way to hide and not disclose that I had a husband. When I did, the founders and all my colleagues were 100% supportive and, since then, the only thing that has counted has been my performance. In the meantime, my husband and I have been together for more than 27 years.
You are also the Sponsor of our LGBT+ Network. From your perspective, how can someone be an ally to their LGBT+ colleagues?
I believe part of being an ally is helping to demystify the LGBT+ community. Unfortunately, there are still a lot of 'silly' stereotypes about the LGBT+ community and an ally can play an active role in enabling people to overcome these stereotypes. Part of this is taking the time to educate yourself on what is happening with the LGBT+ community in the news and avoid making assumptions about your colleagues – for example, avoid asking a team member about their 'husband/wife' and instead ask about their 'partner.'
What is the most important thing you have learned during your 20+ years at Partners Group?
I have learned the value of combining creative abrasion with a culture of partnership. I think that combination is the very essence of Partners Group and makes our firm so strong and unique. No matter how heated a debate might get in any of the committees, no matter how challenging a discussion might be, I always knew that my colleagues were coming from the right place and that the ultimate goal was to collectively serve our clients in the best possible way. When you have that combination, you should always remind yourself that the people around you challenge you with good intentions; that is how the process of creative abrasion works at its best. Ultimately, it allows us to realize the full potential of private markets for the benefit of our clients, so that their more than 200 million beneficiaries can fulfill their dreams.