“PE is challenging, but it rewards performance. If you are a high-performer comfortable with a fast pace, it is actually equalizing.”

-Anna O’Nan

Executive: Anna O’Nan, Chief Financial Officer at Baker Hill

Challenge: Overcoming gender bias breaking into PE-backed, C-suite level finance roles across multiple industries

Solution: Tenaciously applying for positions, deliberation throughout the process, deep understanding of PE, supportive work schedules at firms

Given that women make up only 17.9% of all PE-backed positions worldwide, it’s apparent that the world of private equity continues to struggle with achieving gender equality. However, Anna O’Nan, CFO at Baker Hill, has been able to break through these historical barriers in her career. Experienced in life sciences, technology, and fintech sectors, Anna’s current position at PE-backed Baker Hill Solutions is in the fintech industry.

Anna recognizes that self-selection bias not taking a job where women are underrepresented keeps qualified women like herself out of high-powered positions. Despite PE’s reputation as a challenging field, Anna was willing to leverage her background in finance to secure positions in industries often lacking female presence.

“Private equity has a reputation for being very fast-paced and high-volume, and that’s absolutely true,” Anna said. “So I think some high-performing and talented women self-select out and don’t even apply,” she said. “I would caution them not to do that because even though the reputation is true, private equity is very supportive of high performers. It rewards performance and has more flexibility than you may think, especially in...