The Top Women Leaders in Growth Investing of 2023

Exceptional women leaders have played a key role in the evolution and success of the growth investing space over the past decades. It is a distinct honor for us at GrowthCap to be able to recognize these remarkable individuals who, through their investment acumen, operational capabilities, and work ethic, have had a profound impact on their firms, portfolio companies, limited partners, and others.

To determine this year’s awardees, GrowthCap ran a thorough nomination process and reviewed feedback received from each nominee’s colleagues, portfolio company executives and/or others in the industry. Each candidate was evaluated based on her demonstrated success in her specific roles, breadth of experience, longevity in the field, and consistency in performance, among other factors. We received hundreds of nominations and while we are not able to recognize all those who were nominated, we want to acknowledge their notable contributions to the growth investing field.

The individuals selected for The Top Women Leaders in Growth Investing of 2023 have demonstrated deep expertise in private company investing, portfolio management, firm operations as well as business expansion strategy and execution.

Please join us in congratulating this year’s awardees.



Sonya Brown

Firm: Norwest
Title: General Partner, Co-Head of Growth Equity


Sonya joined Norwest in 2011 and brings more than 20 years of investment experience to her role as General Partner and co-Head of the firm’s Growth Equity team. Based in Norwest’s Palo Alto office, Sonya is focused on growth equity and buyouts investing across a wide range of sectors with particular interest in consumer products and services, internet/e-commerce, retail, and business services. 

Her current investments include Babylist, Face Reality, Forum Brands, Jolyn, Junk King, Kendra Scott (recapitalized by Berkshire Partners), MAËLYS, MTN OPS, Poolwerx, SENREVE, and SmartSign. Sonya is responsible for Norwest’s investments in PCA Skin (acquired by Colgate-Palmolive) Bailey 44 (acquired by Digital Brands Group), Junk King (acquired by Neighborly) and The Learning Experience (acquired by Golden Gate Capital). She is a board observer at Madison Reed. Before Norwest, Sonya was at Summit Partners, a private equity firm managing $20 billion for almost a decade.

Prior to Summit, she was a founder and General Partner of iXL Ventures in 1999, where she oversaw the funding and growth of various technology and internet companies. Sonya holds a bachelor of science degree from Northwestern University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

“At Norwest, we have the privilege of working side-by-side with the world’s most successful entrepreneurs. We are dedicated to providing expert guidance and personalized resources on every step of their journey. I am honored to be recognized by GrowthCap alongside some of the brightest investors in the industry.”—Sonya Brown



Rachel Arnold

Firm: Vista Equity Partners
Title: Senior Managing Director, Co-Head Endeavor Fund


Rachel Arnold is Co-Head of Vista’s Endeavor Fund, one of the world’s largest tech buyout funds led exclusively by women. Under Rachel and Co-Head René Stewart, Endeavor focuses on high-growth companies in the $10 to $30 million ARR range. Rachel is also a member of Vista’s Executive Committee and Private Equity Management Committee. Rachel joined Vista in 2012, following nearly two decades in the Vista ecosystem, and served as an executive at four different portfolio companies.

In 2023, Rachel and the Endeavor team have been highly active announcing new platform investments in Benchmark Gensuite, Innovapptive and Resilinc. Despite a challenging exit environment faced by the growth investment industry, Endeavor has announced three monetization events with the partial sales of Fusion Risk Management, Tripleseat and Zapproved.

At Tripleseat, Endeavor partnered with Founder and CEO Jonathan Morse to help scale the leading private event and sales management software company serving the hospitality industry. Vista merged Tripleseat with another investment, Gather Technologies, just weeks before COVID-19 hit. Like several companies across the portfolio, Vista’s focus on value creation and supporting management teams helped Tripleseat and its customers not only endure unprecedented market disruption—but emerge stronger on the other side of the pandemic. With the Endeavor team, Tripleseat expanded product offerings and strengthened business operations while supporting customers with payment relief and rolling out new features to help restaurants facilitate delivery and takeout services.

Beyond investing, Rachel is a key culture carrier for Vista, investing heavily in building up the next generation of investors and leaders and promoting diversity and inclusion, including acting as executive sponsor for Vista’s annual Women of Vista program and as an executive sponsor for the Women’s ERG program.

“Founders and management teams recognize Vista’s value creation strategy and infrastructure as a competitive advantage in scaling market-leading software businesses. Our ability to create realization opportunities in challenging market conditions is a testament to our investment discipline and the strength of our businesses, which translate to real value for our investors.” – Rachel Arnold 



René Stewart

Firm: Vista Equity Partners
Title: Senior Managing Director, Co-Head Endeavor Fund


René Stewart is Co-Head of Vista’s Endeavor Fund, one of the world’s largest tech buyout funds led exclusively by women. René joined Vista in 2007 and helped launch Endeavor in 2017. Today, she leads in partnership with Co-Head Rachel Arnold seeking to capture the opportunity among high-growth enterprise software companies in the lower-middle market with $10 to $30 million ARR. Since launch, Endeavor has successfully raised two funds and now manages over $2.1 billion.

René participates in Endeavor’s investment process, advises portfolio executives and manages portfolio operations strategies. She currently sits on the boards of Dispatch, iN2L, OfficeSpace and WorkTango. She’s also a member of Vista’s Private Equity Management Committee, the Firm’s governing and decision-making body for the overall management of Vista’s private equity platform.

René partners with executives to build out roadmaps that focus on growth, market strategy, talent and customer success–helping build enduring businesses designed to scale. She and the Endeavor team place emphasis on helping companies establish inclusive workforces, unlocking their employees’ potential and accelerating their marketing leadership to drive business outcomes.

In 2023, the Endeavor team has been highly active announcing new platform investments in Benchmark Gensuite, Innovapptive, and Resilinc. Despite a challenging exit environment faced by the growth investment industry, Endeavor has announced three monetization events with the partial sales of Fusion Risk Management, Tripleseat and Zapproved.

“Every day I have the privilege to partner with founders and executives whose vision, tenacity and deep institutional knowledge are transforming industries through software. Together, we are able to create value for their customers, build talented teams and develop their capabilities as they scale and grow.”—René Stewart



Laura Veroneau

Firm: Optum Ventures
Title: Managing Partner


Laura Veroneau is a Managing Partner and founding team member of Optum Ventures, the independent venture fund of UnitedHealth Group that invests stage agnostically across the healthcare ecosystem. Under Laura’s guidance and leadership, Optum Ventures—now with 60+ portfolio companies and over $1 billion in AUM–is gaining recognition as a leading platform in healthcare investing.

Laura has played an instrumental role in the fund’s activity and success, leading notable investments such as AbleTo, Dispatch Health, Equip, Garner, and Unite Us, among others. Prior to Optum Ventures, Laura’s experience ranges from a healthcare startup to UnitedHealth Group, CVS Health, and Transformation Capital—enabling Laura to develop a deep understanding of the healthcare system, with an eye on how innovation can integrate into and transform the overall industry. Today, Laura also sits on the Board of Overseers for Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Laura received her undergraduate degree in economics and legal studies from Williams College and received an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management.

“Optum Ventures was created to develop a comprehensive and strategic presence in the startup landscape in anticipation of increased healthcare innovation at this stage. In this role, we are fortunate to work with passionate innovators across the healthcare ecosystem—from large market players to early-stage startups—all working towards making the healthcare system more affordable, accessible, efficient, and equitable for all. Cross-industry partnerships have the power to move innovation forward and through this lens, I am incredibly proud of OV’s progress to date and even more excited for what the next ten years will bring.”—Laura Veroneau 



Daphne Dufresne

Firm: GenNx360
Title: Managing Partner


Daphne Dufresne is a Managing Partner of GenNx360, a middle market private equity firm with $1.8BN under management. She brings over 25 years of investment experience and plays a crucial role in all aspects of the firm’s investment activities and portfolio management, is a voting member of the Investment Committee and leads as Chair of the Exit Committee. Daphne led the firm’s investments in and chairs the boards of PAG, Genserve, AeroRepair and Whitson’s.

Previously, Daphne was a founding partner and Managing Director at RLJ Equity Partners (RLJ), where she oversaw investment sourcing, execution, and monitoring. Additionally, she managed the firm’s day-to-day operations, including fundraising, and served on the Investment Committee.

Prior to RLJ, Daphne served as a Partner at Parish Capital Advisors, where she spearheaded and led their direct investment program and was a Principal at Weston Presidio. She began her investment career as an Associate Director in the Structured Finance Group of the Bank of Scotland and as an Associate at Accenture’s Strategic Services Group.

Daphne is a champion for the advancement of women and people of color in finance. Daphne holds a BS in engineering from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from Harvard Graduate School of Business. Her extensive background and accomplishments make her a respected figure in the finance industry.

“Being a woman in Private Equity is an empowering journey that demands leading with authenticity and courage. It is a profound honor to stand shoulder-to-shoulder among a league of phenomenal female leaders who are fearlessly shaping the dynamic landscape of investment and growth. A particular source of pride comes from our shared passion at GenNx360 for working with management teams to grow their businesses. As partners in success, we collaborate closely, leveraging our expertise and insights to unlock hidden potential and drive sustainable growth. Witnessing the positive transformation of these companies we invest in is why we love what we do. In this pursuit of excellence, I am committed to fostering an inclusive environment that nurtures talent and champions diversity, encourages collaboration, and propels us towards even greater heights. Together, we can create lasting impact and inspire future generations.”—Daphne Dufresne



Michele Colucci

Firm: DigitalDx Ventures
Title: Founder & Managing Partner


Michele Colucci, Founder & Managing Partner, is a lawyer, investor, serial entrepreneur, and philanthropist. She has authored six patents in the technology space and founded companies in the legal, technology, retail, and entertainment spaces. Michele’s extensive experience operating in highly regulated verticals has focused on issues from management to legal (employment, corporate, international, litigation, torts, negotiations, business strategy, and marketing). Her most recent company focused on the application of big data and artificial intelligence in legal technology. She has worked at law firms including Hughes Hubbard & Reed, run her own media production company, owned and operated a chain of retail stores in the political space, run a political fundraising venue, and founded a legal technology company.

Currently, Michele serves on the boards of directors of Nephrosant, Optina Diagnostics, Prime Genomics, and Delphi Diagnostics and previously the Global Indemnity Group. She is also an Advisor to eHealth Analytics (a digital health startup) and Quantellia (a platform powering decision-based analytics through artificial intelligence). She has blogged for the Huffington Post on female entrepreneurship and is an award-winning expert on E-Local. She served as a guest lecturer and mentor at Stanford University’s School of Engineering focused on global marketing and entrepreneurship, and has lectured at USF in marketing and at USC’s Gould School of Law.

“Growth investing has been a critical strategic effort for DigitalDx as our investments grow and scale. We are grateful to have been chosen by our peers and company CEOs and awarded as a Top Women Leader in Growth Investing this year!”—Michele Colucci



Katie Storer

Firm: Blackstone
Title: Managing Director


Katie Storer is a Managing Director at Blackstone Growth (BXG) focusing on investments in the consumer sector. She joined the firm in 2020 and has been instrumental in several critical deals for BXG, most notably Spanx and Supergoop!. 

Katie was a leader in the all-female investment team for Spanx, the revolutionary womenswear brand founded by Sara Blakely. The acquisition was the culmination of an unprecedented journey for SPANX and Blakely, who started the company in 2000 with $5,000 in savings. Blackstone’s investments in SPANX and Supergoop!—the first protective skincare brand that puts SPF at the forefront, which Blackstone acquired in 2021—are prime examples of the innovative female-founded companies that Blackstone is proud to back. 

Outside of her core role, Katie has also been a leader in BXG’S Talent & Development committee, which focuses on the growth of employees and cultivating that pool of talent.

Before joining Blackstone, Katie worked at The Carlyle Group focused on consumer & retail investments as part of the U.S. Buyout Fund. Previously, she also held roles at Wellspring Capital Management and Deutsche Bank. She received her MBA from Harvard Business School and her BS in business administration from Washington & Lee University.

“It’s an honor to be recognized by GrowthCap this year alongside so many incredible female leaders. At Blackstone Growth, we are committed to finding the best companies and teams. Having more diversity on our team and within our portfolio allows us to see opportunities through a different lens and widen the aperture for more great female entrepreneurs.”—Katie Storer



Rebecca Liu-Doyle

Firm: Insight Partners
Title: Managing Director


Rebecca Liu-Doyle is a Managing Director at Insight Partners, where she focuses on investments in high-growth application software, fintech and consumer internet. She joined the firm in 2016 and counts notable investments such as Divvy (exited to, Prose, Quantum Metric, UserTesting (IPO in November 2021) and Linktree among her portfolio companies.

Previously, Rebecca spent time on Insight’s Onsite team, where she worked closely with portfolio executives on growth strategy. Rebecca started her career as a Management Consultant in McKinsey & Company’s New York office, advising clients in the technology, financial services, and consumer goods industries. Her work at McKinsey spanned a number of topics, including M&A, product development, and frontline transformation.

Rebecca graduated summa cum laude from Yale University with a BA in ethics, politics, and economics. She mentors at 1776, is a member of the Acumen Junior Council, and helped launch the Parity Professional Program.

“It’s been the privilege of my career to work alongside visionaries creating the products that will change the way we live, work and play. I’m grateful to Insight Partners for not only giving me the opportunity to empower the next generation of founders, but also for the opportunity to empower the next generation of investors—especially young women—who are just beginning their own careers. It’s a humbling experience to be able to contribute to their growth and success.”—Rebecca Liu-Doyle



Dionne Chingkoe

Firm: Insight Partners
Title: Managing Director


Dionne Chingkoe joined Insight Partners in 2018, where she serves as Managing Director on the Onsite Diligence, Growth & Strategy (DGS) team. In her role, Dionne operates at the nexus of growth and technology to help founders and CEOs scale world-class software companies efficiently and effectively. She counts SonarSource, Checkmarx, CentralReach, Commercetools and AMCS among the companies, boards, and leadership teams she has partnered with to create tremendous growth, navigate challenges, and create exit value. In addition to her deal and portfolio work, Dionne is a founding partner of 20/20 Vision Capital—Insight’s fund of funds investing in emerging underrepresented managers—and takes part in events and gatherings where she meets and shares diverse perspectives with GPs of all backgrounds.

Prior to joining Insight, Dionne began her career at the Boston Consulting Group where she advised Fortune 500 clients in technology, retail and financial services on growth strategy and operations. Following BCG, Dionne joined Oyster Books—a digital content startup later acquired by Google—to scale and sell the business alongside the founders. More recently, Dionne led strategy and operations at Google Play to drive revenue growth across the app store and to launch new products, channels, and partnerships in emerging markets.

“Since joining Insight Partners, I’ve had the privilege of working with so many innovative founders and entrepreneurs who are building the next generation of software. I’ve also had the opportunity to pursue one of my passions—empowering women and underrepresented leaders in our industry, which has historically lacked diversity. I’m grateful that Insight has given me the platform to do both and am honored to be recognized among this group of leaders.”—Dionne Chingkoe



Marni Payne

Firm: Berkshire Partners
Title: Managing Director


Marni started her career at Berkshire Partners as an Associate and today is a Managing Director and a member of the Consumer investment team. Marni’s current directorships and primary portfolio company involvements include: Aritzia, CrossFit, Fast Growing Trees, Kendra Scott, and Mielle. 

Throughout her tenure at Berkshire, Marni has worked with management teams and companies to provide support as a thought partner, helping them grow into enduring leaders in their markets. Marni has a long track record of partnering with women leaders and founders to grow and thrive. Some examples of this approach include her work with female-led or female-founded companies including Aritzia, Mielle, and Kendra Scott. Most recently, Marni was a lead on the Mielle deal, which commenced in March of 2021 and eventually led to a sale to Procter & Gamble in 2023.

Marni originally joined Berkshire Partners in 2000 as an Associate and returned in 2004 after graduating from business school. Prior to joining Berkshire, Marni was an Associate at McKinsey & Co. Marni received an AB from Dartmouth College and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

She is active in various charitable activities including the National Multiple Sclerosis Society where she serves as a board member.

“It’s a privilege to work alongside the talented team at Berkshire Partners. Our firm has been around for almost 40 years with a long history of strong female leadership across the firm. Berkshire has three core values that have been part of our DNA since day-one—the importance of meaningful relationships, an emphasis on deep collaboration, and acting with integrity—all of which continue to motivate and guide my career today.”—Marni Payne



Beth Hoffman

Firm: Berkshire Partners
Title: Managing Director


Beth Hoffman is a Managing Director and a leader of the Communications and Digital Infrastructure investment team at Berkshire Partners. She has been a resource and collaborative partner to the management teams of more than 12 portfolio companies helping them grow into enduring leaders in their markets. Beth focuses on leveraging the deep capabilities of Berkshire Partners and her expert insights to invest globally across the digital infrastructure and communications ecosystem, including wireless access, network, data center and cloud infrastructure.

Beth’s portfolio company involvement includes: MedOne, Point Broadband, and Vapor IO. Her prior portfolio company involvement includes: Asurion, Crown Castle, Masergy, Protelindo, Telx, Torres Unidas, and Tower Development Corporation (TDC).

Prior to joining Berkshire in 2003, Beth worked for 6 years in venture capital and began her career as a Financial Analyst in the M&A Group at Morgan Stanley. 

Beth is a Member of the Boston Children’s Hospital Trust and a Member of the Boston Children’s Hospital Trust Nominating Committee. She is also a member of the Kellogg School of Management Private Equity Advisory Council. Beth has a BA from Macalester College, and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.



Kristin Johnson

Firm: Altamont Capital Partners
Title: Managing Director


Kristin Johnson is a Managing Director of Altamont Capital Partners (ACP), where she leads the firm’s Capital Markets and Business Development efforts. Prior to ACP, Kristin was a Principal in the fundraising group at TPG Capital, where she helped raise capital for the firm and manage investor relations. Previously, Kristin was a Managing Director in Morgan Stanley’s corporate finance department, focused on working with private equity clients, for 10 years. Kristin began her career as a Consultant at Booz Allen & Hamilton, focused on marketing-intensive clients. Kristin received an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business and a BA in math and economics from Pomona College.

“I’m incredibly proud of the work we’ve accomplished at Altamont Capital Partners and am honored to be recognized by GrowthCap this year alongside my talented colleague, Jennifer Mello. Our commitment to partnership not only within our firm but also across our entire portfolio, communities, and the private equity industry as a whole is integral to our approach.”—Kristin Johnson



Maggie Schmitt

Firm: JMI Equity
Title: Chief Financial Officer


Maggie Schmitt serves as JMI Equity’s Chief Financial Officer, overseeing the firm’s financial activities. She joined the firm as a senior accountant in 2009 from the audit and enterprise risk services practice of Deloitte and has worked her way up the ranks at JMI, last serving as a Principal, Finance. Maggie has played a key leadership role spanning fundraising, portfolio company management, limited partner reporting, and firm operations. She received a Bachelor of Science in accounting and information systems from the Pamplin College of Business at Virginia Tech and is a certified public accountant (inactive).

“It’s an honor to be recognized by GrowthCap this year alongside so many extraordinary women leaders. For the past 14 years, I have had the privilege of working alongside many exceptional colleagues, investors, and management teams within the JMI Equity ecosystem. I am proud to be part of the JMI team and look forward to continuing to support our mission of building long lasting value.”—Maggie Schmitt



Jennifer Mello

Firm: Altamont Capital Partners
Title: General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer


Jennifer Mello is the General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer of Altamont Capital Partners (ACP). Prior to joining ACP, Jennifer was a Managing Director in TPG’s legal team based in San Francisco, where she provided legal support for TPG’s transactions, fundraising, and business development activities. She previously served as the General Counsel of TPG’s dedicated credit and special situations platform. Jennifer began her career as an attorney at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP in New York. Jennifer received her JD from Northwestern University School of Law and her BS from the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University.

“I’m very honored to be recognized by GrowthCap alongside so many influential women in our industry. Altamont’s collaborative nature and dedication to supporting our portfolio’s long-term growth are truly represented in everything we do. I’m especially proud to be recognized alongside my colleague, Kristin Johnson, as we continue to work together to support not only our partner companies but also the industry as a whole.”—Jennifer Mello



Sophia Popova

Firm: Summit Partners
Title: Partner


Sophia Popova is a Partner on Summit Partners’ Technology team. Over the course of her tenure, Sophia has worked with innovative companies across the technology landscape and distinguished herself as a thoughtful partner. She has played an active role in eight Summit investments, representing more than $1.3 billion in invested capital. Her current board and investment experience includes Invicti Security, Klaviyo, Markforged (completed IPO in 2021, NYSE: MKFG), Mavrck, Vensure Employer Services (formerly PrismHR), Sifted, StackAdapt and Ylopo.

Sophia’s investment acumen is strengthened by her extensive technical knowledge acquired through product management and business development positions at multiple startups, including Contactive (acquired by Fuze in 2015) and Recombine (acquired by CooperSurgical in 2016). While at Harvard Business School, Sophia was an investment partner at the Dorm Room Fund, where she advised numerous student-founder-led startups. 

Sophia holds a BA in economics and mathematics from Yale University and an MBA, with distinction, from Harvard Business School. 

“As a growth investor, it is a privilege to collaborate with innovative executives—leaders who are working to reshape industries. Whether it’s through trailblazing technological advancements, innovative market strategies, or fostering engaged communities, witnessing their transformative ideas come to life and being a part of their growth journey is truly inspiring.”—Sophia Popova



Susan Bihler

Firm: Lead Edge Capital
Title: Partner


Susan Bihler is a Partner supporting growth equity and minority investments at Lead Edge Capital (LEC), a growth-stage investment fund with nearly $5B of capital raised since inception. Investing in software, internet, consumer, and tech-enabled service businesses globally, the firm has backed companies like Toast, Alibaba Group, Delivery Hero, Duo Security, Grafana, Spotify, Benchling, and Wise.

Susan joined LEC in late 2022 and focuses on investing in high-growth B2B SaaS and tech-enabled services businesses with a focus on compliance, learning and development, future of work, and cloud infrastructure.

Prior to Lead Edge, Susan worked at Catalyst Investors, where she primarily focused on investing in B2B software businesses. She’s been in growth equity since 2009, where she’s worked on 13 deals and served on the boards of LinkSquares (as a board observer), Envoy Global, Datavail, eSUB, Ascentis, MINDBODY (as a board observer), and WeddingWire (as a board observer). Susan graduated from Georgetown University, cum laude, with a BS in business administration.

“It’s an honor to be recognized as one of GrowthCap’s leading growth investors. Working with so many talented entrepreneurs over the last 14 years has been an absolute privilege, and I’m looking forward to continuing investing in high-growth B2B companies alongside the Lead Edge Capital team.”—Susan Bihler



Joanne Yuan

Firm: Turn/River
Title: Partner


Joanne believes the best way of knowing is doing. Growing up, she spent most weekends selling parts at computer trade shows, helping her dad run his one-man shop. That’s how she experienced firsthand the challenges bootstrapped companies face and the resiliency of their leaders. She’s always liked figuring out how things work. Her perspective on software growth has been shaped by experiences with businesses of all kinds, at all stages (even a brewery). Joanne has invested in software from pre-launch to post-IPO, and worked everywhere from seed-stage venture to Google. 

As a VC, Joanne met many impressive founders and even helped a few grow their ideas into multibillion-dollar businesses. But she also saw how the venture industry can sideline healthy companies or set them onto cash-burn treadmills.

Turn/River’s novel approach to software investing addresses a space between venture capital and private equity. They adapt Silicon Valley’s best modern software growth tactics to companies everywhere, carving a path for capital-efficient growth without compromises. That’s why Joanne joined Turn/River to lead investments, build an industry leader, and grow a community where each member—investor, founder or operator—makes everyone else better.

“It means a lot to me that the comment I most frequently hear from CEOs is “Turn/River is different.”—Joanne Yuan



Stephanie Schneider

Firm: Five Elms Capital
Title: Partner


Stephanie Schneider is a Partner at Five Elms Capital, a leading growth equity firm that invests in fast-growing B2B software businesses. Stephanie has been with Five Elms for eight years, during which time she’s been involved in over 20 deals. As a member of the investment committee, Stephanie brings her prior experience in advising corporations and financial sponsors to help Five Elms partner with growing, founder-owned SaaS businesses, and provide them with capital and resources to accelerate growth and further cement their role as industry leaders. She currently serves on the boards of 10 Thousand Coffees, Claravine, Continu, Covideo, POWWR, Reachdesk, ShippyPro & Skynamo.

Prior to joining Five Elms, Stephanie worked as an Investment Banker in Citigroup’s Technology Group where she advised both corporations and financial sponsors on mergers, acquisitions, and general corporate finance. Before working at Citigroup, she was an Investment Banker for Sterne Agee in its Financial Services Group. Stephanie holds a BA in journalism and advertising from Southern Methodist University.

“Building strong partnerships with management teams and companies is at the core of our success in growth investing at Five Elms. I’m privileged to work alongside talented individuals who share our vision, and this award reinforces our collective commitment to driving transformative growth together.”—Stephanie Schneider



Hilary Fleischer

Firm: Strattam Capital
Title: Partner


Hilary Fleischer is a Partner at Strattam Capital. Since joining Strattam in 2014, Hilary has originated, structured, and executed numerous platform and add-on transactions, and she leads the firm’s Office of the CFO theme. Her accomplishments include leading the successful buyout of Blacksmith Applications, which increased revenue more than 4x over five years, as well as the acquisition of Netstock, a supply chain software business, which has more than tripled revenue since closing. 

In addition to winning M&A Advisor’s 11th Annual Emerging Leader Award for professionals under 40, Hilary’s investment in Netstock won the 2021 Cross-Border Deal of the Year, and her investment in Blacksmith Applications won the 2016 Private Equity Deal of the Year from M&A Advisor. She was also featured in McGuireWoods’s “Women in PE to Know” series and Kayo’s Top 21 in ’21 Women in Tech Investing.

Hilary is a graduate of the Stanford Graduate School of Business and is actively involved with the Jerome Fisher Program in Management & Technology at her undergraduate alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania. She also leads Strattam’s efforts to enhance female representation on portfolio companies’ boards of directors. 

“I’m excited to work with Strattam in building an innovative investment process amidst an ever-changing economic backdrop. And I’m particularly proud to contribute to a culture that not only delivers private equity investment excellence, but also strives to elevate the accomplishments of women.”—Hilary Fleischer



Kirsten Porter

Firm: Rubicon Technology Partners
Title: Partner


Kirsten Porter joined Rubicon Technology Partners (“Rubicon”) in 2017 as one of the first investment professionals with a deep middle market software operating background. Rubicon is a Boulder, Colorado-based private equity firm with more than $3.8B of assets under management that invests exclusively in enterprise software companies with $15 million to $75 million revenue. Kirsten has spent much of the past 6 years co-driving the evolution of Rubicon’s proprietary operational framework for scaling market leading software companies—RTP Change Management—which has resulted in 7 exits to both strategics and sponsors over the last 5 years. 

In addition to her focus on operational transformation post close, Kirsten has also been an integral member of Rubicon’s deal teams at Aline, AppNeta (exited), AudienceView, Cin7, Gimmal, Personify (exited), QSR International (exited) and Uptempo. Today she sits on the board at Cin7, Gimmal and Uptempo. Kirsten’s investment acumen combined with her first-hand operational experience as a software company executive mean she provides a unique perspective to prioritize value creation and operational maturity initiatives as Rubicon’s portfolio companies scale and is regularly sought out by both Rubicon team members and portfolio company executives for her advice.

Prior to joining Rubicon, Kirsten held a number of operating roles within Vista Equity Partners’ portfolio and at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. She started her career as a management consultant at Bain & Company in Australia. Kirsten holds a bachelor of laws (JD equivalent) and a bachelor of economics, both with First Class Honors, from the University of Sydney, Australia, as well as an MBA from the Harvard Business School.

“Over the past 6 years Rubicon’s differentiated focus on culture has seen us grow from 10% of investment professionals being female (in line with the PE industry average), to 24% female representation in our investment team today. Our unique, highly collaborative approach to partnering with founders to grow market leading businesses differentiates us not only with founders looking to scale their businesses but also with talented investors looking to grow their careers.”—Kirsten Porter



Jennifer Krusius

Firm: ABS Capital
Title: Partner


Jennifer Krusius joined ABS Capital in 2021 as a Venture Partner and was promoted to Partner in 2022.  Jennifer pursues growth equity investments in software and tech enabled services, and her areas of expertise include digital infrastructure, autonomous vehicles, edtech, and human capital management. She has led and supported ABS investments in Beep, ClearObject, ExecOnline, HSP Group, and Transfr.

Jennifer is a member of ABS Capital’s ESG committee, where she promotes and integrates ESG and DEI initiatives and policies within ABS and its portfolio companies.

Previously, Jennifer was a Venture Partner at Columbia Capital where she co-founded Vivacity Infrastructure Group, a connected infrastructure company.  Before Columbia Capital, she was the General Manager of Uber Technologies’ business in Pennsylvania. At Uber, she led business operations, scaling the business to 100% of the state, and oversaw product launches, marketing, business development, and the passing of statewide legislation.

 Prior to working at Uber, Jennifer was a private equity investor at IFC Asset Management Company and Emerging Capital Partners, where she worked with growth companies in international markets.  She began her career in media and telecom investment banking at Credit Suisse Group in New York. Jennifer holds a BS in applied economics and management from Cornell University, and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

“Working at ABS Capital and supporting the companies we invest in is a privilege. We partner with great people, and working with talented management teams to help them problem solve, unlock growth, and reach new milestones is so rewarding.”—Jennifer Krusius



Katie Stitch

Firm: W Capital Partners
Title: Partner


Katie Stitch is a Partner with W Capital Partners, where she focuses on sourcing and evaluating new direct secondary and GP-led secondary transaction opportunities and managing the firm’s existing investments. Katie currently serves on the boards of the New York Private Equity Network (NYPEN), the Brick Presbyterian Church and the University of Pennsylvania CAS Professional Women’s Alliance. Katie’s past board service includes Fresh Direct (sold to Ahold Delhaize), Moosejaw (sold to Walmart) and World Kitchen (nka Corelle Brands).

Prior to joining W Capital in 2005, Katie was an Analyst in Banc of America Securities’ investment bank. Katie also has experience in sales and trading with JPMorganChase, and public relations with Ogilvy and Mather. In 2017, Katie was named as one of Private Equity International’s Secondaries Investor’s ‘Young Guns of Secondaries’ and GrowthCap’s ‘Top 40 Under 40 Growth Investors’.

Katie is a graduate of The Huntsman Program at the University of Pennsylvania, where she earned a BS from The Wharton School and a BA from the College of Arts and Sciences. While at Penn, Katie served as the Co-Chair of the Wharton Dean’s Undergraduate Advisory Board and was a member of the Women’s Varsity Squash team.

“I started in secondary investing in growth-stage companies over 17 years ago. It’s hard not to smile when you see where the market is today: When a growth-stage CEO started highlighting the logic for an employee tender to us, it felt like the unlock we’d been waiting for!”—Katie Stitch



Kelly Ford

Firm: Edison Partners
Title: General Partner & COO


Kelly manages growth equity investments in enterprise SaaS and fintech, serves on Edison’s investment committee, and is the pioneer of the Edison Edge value creation platform. Since joining in 2014, Kelly has personally worked with more than 55 portfolio companies, been involved in 15 financings, and served as director for over a dozen companies. Kelly also leads firm operations, including investment development, value creation, portfolio management, finance and marketing.

A technology optimist, Kelly built the first 20 years of her career operating in high-growth emerging and established B2B and B2B2C tech companies. She has a successful track record creating new categories, and accelerating and scaling growth for disruptive SaaS companies, such as Sundaysky, Operative (acquired by SintecMedia), LivePerson (NASDAQ: LPSN), and Groove Networks (acquired by Microsoft).

“It’s an honor to be recognized by GrowthCap alongside this incredible group of investors and industry leaders. While I am proud to have worn many hats that have contributed to Edison’s growth over the last decade, it’s the ‘whatever it takes’ mindset and diversity of our team that drives our performance and makes us the partner of choice for capital-efficient growth companies located outside Silicon Valley. It’s a true privilege to do what we do every day, making entrepreneurs dreams come true and proving our limited partners right.”—Kelly Ford



Erica Blob

Firm: Brighton Park Capital
Title: Partner, Head of Investor Relations


Erica Blob is a Partner and Head of Investor Relations at Brighton Park Capital, and also serves as a member of both the firm’s Investment Committee and Portfolio Committee where she plays an important role in the decision-making process over new investments and oversees the performance and operations of all of the firm’s portfolio companies. Since joining Brighton Park in 2019, Erica and her team have completed two funds, which successfully raised $2.8 billion in capital commitments.

Erica currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Breast Cancer Alliance and is also an inaugural member of the Leadership Council of the Sesame Workshop, the global non-profit behind Sesame Street. 

Prior to joining Brighton Park Capital, Erica was a Director on the Business Development team at New Mountain Capital where she oversaw the firm’s public equities and private real estate fundraising programs. Previously, Erica was a member of the Investor Relations team at SAC Capital, Morgan Stanley’s Capital Introduction team, and was a business manager with P&L responsibilities at She began her career at Merrill Lynch in Equity Capital Markets.

Erica received her MBA from the Harvard Business School and is a graduate of Duke University, where she received her AB in economics, summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa.

“I am honored to be recognized by GrowthCap this year alongside many other incredible and inspiring women. Our representation as leaders in private equity is a testament to the remarkable progress our industry is making to embrace diversity and empower women. At Brighton Park, we believe that by fostering an inclusive environment, we create a platform for innovative ideas and fresh perspectives to flourish, and I am grateful for the opportunities to be able to collaborate with outstanding teams and partners who challenge and inspire me every day.”—Erica Blob



Emily Azevedo

Firm: Mainsail Partners
Title: Partner, Head of Talent


Emily Azevedo is a Partner and the Head of Talent at Mainsail Partners. Since joining Mainsail in 2016, Emily and her team support Mainsail’s portfolio companies by partnering with founders and CEOs with the goal of recruiting, developing and retaining strong executive leadership teams and board directors. In addition to executive recruiting, her team is also responsible for cross-portfolio leadership training and assessment for both senior executives and new managers. Emily currently serves on the board of Extensiv.

Prior to Mainsail, Emily spent 8 years in executive search, most recently at Heidrick & Struggles as an Engagement Manager in the Global Technology & Services Practice focused on executive level placements for Venture Capital and Private Equity backed portfolio companies. Emily began her career in management consulting, where she engaged on several US-based cross-continental projects in India, China, Hong Kong and Brazil. Emily holds a BA in sociology from the University of Michigan, and an MBA from Ibmec São Paulo in Brazil.

“At Mainsail, we deeply understand the challenges that founders, CEOs, and management teams of bootstrapped software companies encounter. Our dedicated operations team collaborates closely with these leaders, providing them with the tools and support to help accelerate their growth. Over the past 7 years, I have been fortunate to work with an incredible team that partners with our portfolio leaders with the goal to recruit, develop and retain strong, diverse executive and board talent. It’s an honor to be recognized by GrowthCap, along with the many other accomplished women leaders within the growth equity industry.”—Emily Azevedo



Danielle Waldman

Firm: Silversmith Capital Partners
Title: Principal


Danielle is a Principal at Silversmith Capital Partners, a Boston-based growth equity firm with $3.3 billion under management. Danielle joined Silversmith in September 2020 and was promoted to Principal in early 2023. Her investments at the firm focus on the SaaS & information services sectors, with a particular interest in developer & IT tools, security, and vertical applications. Investments she has helped lead and currently serves in a board role at, include Gearset, GiveCampus, Proven Optics and Worldly. Prior to Silversmith, Danielle was a private equity investor at Vector Capital and an Investment Banking Analyst at Morgan Stanley.

Outside of investing, Danielle is passionate about working with organizations focused on fostering career growth for women in business and helping to positively impact her broader community. She currently serves on the advisory board of Brown Women in Business and as a mentor with the Synergist Network. She also served as the Harvard Business School Women in Investing Alumni Relations Chair and on the San Francisco chapter of Girls on the Run to provide programming for elementary and middle school girls to build confidence through sports.

Danielle graduated from Brown University with a degree in history and received an MBA with second year honors from Harvard Business School.

“At Silversmith, we are passionate about partnering with entrepreneurs who have lived their customers’ pain points and are compelled to solve them through technology-driven solutions. The best part of my role as an investor is having the opportunity to partner with talented and tenacious founders who are building software products that their customers truly love. It is a privilege to support them as they accelerate their growth.”—Danielle Waldman



Chelsea Jurman

Firm: Summit Partners
Title: Principal


Chelsea Jurman is a Principal at Summit Partners where she focuses primarily on investing in companies across the consumer, tech-enabled business services and financial services sectors. Over the course of her tenure at Summit, Chelsea has distinguished herself with her deep sector knowledge, thoughtful investment approach and strong work ethic. She has played an active role in six Summit investments, representing more than $1.3 billion in invested capital, including more than $860 million in the last two years alone. Her current investment and board experience includes Adviser Investments, Brooklinen, and ShipMonk. 

Outside of her work at Summit, Chelsea is actively involved in several organizations and initiatives that aim to empower and uplift women investors. She currently serves as a mentor for the Boston chapter of Synergist Network, an organization that seeks to connect and support women in the first decade of their investing careers. Additionally, she is an active alumni member of “Women in Investing” at Harvard Business School, where she participates in panels and events focused on addressing challenges related to the recruitment and retention of women in the industry. 

Chelsea holds a BA in political science, magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, from Yale University, and an MBA from Harvard Business School, where she was a Baker Scholar.

“One of the most exciting parts of my job as a growth investor is having the opportunity to work alongside incredibly dedicated entrepreneurs who are transforming their respective industries. It is a privilege to represent Summit and provide support for the vision and tenacity of these individuals and the companies they lead.”—Chelsea Jurman



Amara Suebsaeng

Firm: TA Associates
Title: Director


Amara Suebsaeng is a Director in TA’s Boston office, where she focuses on investments in business, technology-enabled, information and other services companies in North America. As an active investor, Amara builds trusting relationships with management teams to drive value, including leveraging her deep sector expertise to source and execute strategic acquisitions. She currently serves on the boards of directors for LeadsOnline, OMNIA Partners, PurposeBuilt Brands, Stackline and TouchTunes, and formerly served on the board of Backstage, which was acquired by Cast & Crew.

Prior to joining TA as an Associate in 2010, Amara worked as an Analyst in the Investment Banking Division, Global Power & Utilities Group at Morgan Stanley. She also worked in the Product Management & Business Development Group at Logi Analytics. Amara holds an MBA, with Distinction, from Harvard Business School, and received a BA in economics, Phi Beta Kappa, magna cum laude, from Princeton University.

“Our mission at TA is to accelerate growth and create enduring value for our portfolio companies. Throughout my career, it has been extremely rewarding to partner with so many passionate founders, management teams and leaders and play a strategic role in their growth journeys.”—Amara Suebsaeng



Christine Kang

Firm: Thoma Bravo
Title: Principal


Christine Kang is a Principal on the Growth team at Thoma Bravo, one of the largest software investors in the world. Since joining the firm in 2021, Christine has been an invaluable member of Thoma Bravo, playing a key role supporting the firm’s minority investments in transformational software and technology companies. 

Recently, Christine’s deep sector and operational expertise played an instrumental role in spearheading Thoma Bravo’s investments in TRM Labs and Vivian Health. She is currently a board director at Vivian Health and a board observer for TRM Labs and is actively involved with Alma, Aisera, and FalconX.

Christine has more than 10 years of investment experience. Prior to joining Thoma Bravo, she served as a Vice President at General Atlantic where she led growth equity investments across the technology sector and was closely involved in the firm’s investments in Pendo, SPINS, JumpCloud, Evisort, Seismic Software, Automation Anywhere, among others. Previously, Christine served as an Associate at Thomas H. Lee Partners in Boston and began her career as an Analyst in the Investment Banking Division at J.P. Morgan in New York.

Christine received her MBA from Harvard University and her BA with Honors and Distinction in economics from Stanford University, where she also earned the J.E. Wallace Sterling Award for Scholastic Achievement (top 1% of graduating seniors). 

“Thoma Bravo has a long history and proven track record of partnering with impressive and innovative software and technologies companies, applying the firm’s extensive sector and operational expertise to accelerate growth and optimize performance. Working alongside and guiding these incredible companies as they further shape their industries and provide for their customers is a deeply rewarding and exhilarating challenge. It is an exciting time to be an investor in the software and technology space, and I am looking forward to continuing to support and expand our portfolio by helping these great companies accelerate their success.”—Christine Kang



Julie Cheng

Firm: Warburg Pincus
Title: Principal


Julie Cheng based in New York, joined Warburg Pincus in 2014, and focuses on technology and technology-enabled services buyouts as part of the Strategic Investments group (“SIG”). She previously worked in the firm’s Industrial and Business Services group. Notable current and past portfolio companies include Allied Universal, Defi Solutions, Duravant, Service Logic, Sotera, Sundyne, and Visma. Julie is on the steering committee for the Women@Warburg employee network, the firm’s female professional network of more than 220 female professionals globally and on the recruiting committee of the firm’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council. She also co-leads the firm’s analyst recruiting program. She received a BS summa cum laude in economics from the University of Pennsylvania.

“I feel very lucky to have started my career and grown up at Warburg Pincus. I look forward to many more milestones at the firm and appreciate the recognition from GrowthCap.”—Julie Cheng



Caitlin Vorlicek

Firm: Sageview Capital
Title: Principal


Caitlin Vorlicek is a Principal at Sageview Capital, a growth equity firm that backs industry-defining innovators to build enduring software and tech-enabled businesses. In her role, Caitlin is responsible for helping lead the firm’s investment ideation, sourcing efforts, transaction activity, and post-investment value creation. Since she joined Sageview in 2021, Caitlin has been instrumental in enhancing the firm’s sourcing efforts. Caitlin has been actively involved in the firm’s investments in Carewell, Elemental Machines, Specright, and User Interviews. Before joining Sageview, Caitlin led the Partnership and Corporate Development efforts at Sifted (fka VeriShip), a logistics software company in Kansas City, MO. Before joining Sifted, Caitlin spent three years at Summit Partners, sourcing and executing investments, including Klaviyo, A Cloud Guru, and Sifted. Caitlin began her career in technology investment banking at Harris Williams & Co. Caitlin graduated cum laude from Colby College, receiving a BA in economics with Distinction.

“Investing in growth-stage technology companies is an incredible privilege and is so meaningful to me. The entrepreneurs I meet never cease to amaze me, and I love nothing more than going down the rabbit hole with them to help build big, category-defining companies that ultimately transform peoples’ lives for the better.”—Caitlin Vorlicek



Jessica Gilligan

Firm: TA Associates
Title: Principal


Jessica Gilligan is a Principal in TA’s Boston office, where she focuses on investments in consumer products and services companies across North America. Jessica has more than 10 years of experience in consumer private equity, focused on partnering with emerging and market-leading brands and companies to drive growth and create lasting shareholder value. Throughout her time at TA, Jessica has been actively involved in eight firm investments and has cosponsored TA’s investments in Advantice Health, Death Wish Coffee, Mid America Pet Food, Petcurean, Stonewall Kitchen and Thermacell.

Jessica currently serves on the board of directors of Death Wish Coffee, Mid America Pet Food and Stonewall Kitchen. Prior to joining TA as an Associate in 2012, she worked in the M&A Group at Sagent Advisors Inc. Jessica received a BS degree, magna cum laude, in finance, economics and international business from Washington University in St. Louis, Olin Business School and an MBA at Harvard Business School.

“At TA, we leverage our deep industry expertise, strategic resources and extensive global network to help high-quality companies navigate their growth journeys and meet their full potential. It is a true privilege to collaborate with talented founders and management teams as we work together to build market-leading companies and brands.”—Jessica Gilligan



Roumi Zlateva

Firm: Lovell Minnick Partners
Title: Principal


Roumi Zlateva is a Principal on the investment team at Lovell Minnick Partners (LMP), which she joined in 2017. As a senior investment professional, Roumi is responsible for sourcing and executing investments in the financial services and fintech sectors. She brings over 12 years of experience in private markets and in her six years at LMP has been involved in four new investments and 14 add-on acquisitions. 

Roumi works closely with portfolio company management teams to develop and execute organic and inorganic growth strategies. Currently, she serves as a member of the board of directors for four of LMP’s portfolio companies. She also co-leads LMP’s UK and European coverage efforts seeking to extend the firm’s active investment campaign activities across the broader financial services landscape.

Prior to joining LMP, Roumi served as Director in the Financial Institutions Group at UBS Securities, providing strategic advice and transaction support to clients in the financial services sector. She started her career as Analyst in the Financial Institutions Group at Morgan Stanley.

Roumi earned her Bachelor of Arts with High Honors in mathematical economics and minor in computer science from Colgate University.

“It is an honor to be recognized by GrowthCap as a leader in growth investing. At LMP, we strive to partner with founders and management teams to make strategic investments in growing businesses, cultivate and execute initiatives that drive value for clients, partners, and employees, and develop collaborative and lasting relationships that provide the solid foundation for our investments from inception through to exit. I feel fortunate to work in an industry and at a firm where every day my contributions positively impact the growth and success of our portfolio companies while delivering value to our investors.”—Roumi Zlateva



Sabrina Chiasson McLaughry

Firm: Polaris Growth Fund (PGF)
Title: Principal


Sabrina joined Polaris in 2018 as a Vice President and founding member of the inaugural Polaris Growth Fund (PGF), which targets investments in founder-owned, vertically-focused software and tech-enabled services businesses. Sabrina has been a driving force in the firm’s growth, helping to lead six platform investments and working closely with their respective management teams to guide them through ten add-on acquisitions and two successful exits. Within PGF, Sabrina is instrumental as a leader in recruiting and developing the team as well as refining the firm’s investment strategy and processes.

Sabrina represents PGF on the boards of Avolve, B2Gnow, LCvista, TransACT, and has also served on the boards of Emergency Reporting (ESO/Vista Equity Partners) and Iridium Technology (BigHand/LLCP).

“I’m honored to be included in this group of impressive investors. As we have built PGF and thought extensively about how we create an enduring and scalable business, I’ve developed an even deeper appreciation for the challenging and rewarding path that our founder and management team partners travel in building their companies. It’s been a privilege to support and work alongside these teams to help them maximize their opportunities and to see their efforts pay off as they achieve great outcomes.”—Sabrina Chiasson McLaughry



Heather Gartin

Firm: FFL Partners
Title: Director


Heather Gartin is a Director at FFL Partners, a leading middle-market private equity firm that focuses on targeted areas within healthcare and tech-enabled services. Heather joined FFL in 2017 and currently leads the firm’s efforts in behavioral health and value-based care. In addition to her healthcare services investment focus, Heather also plays a key role in training and development for FFL’s junior team. She serves as a member of the Board of Directors of Autism Learning Partners, Community Medical Services, and Perlman Clinic.

Prior to FFL, Heather worked as an Associate at L Catterton focusing on the consumer space and as an Analyst in the mergers and acquisitions group at Morgan Stanley in New York. Heather graduated magna cum laude from Georgetown University with a BS in finance & accounting and earned an MBA from The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

“I feel very lucky to have the opportunity to work with great people. I am consistently learning from and motivated by both my colleagues at FFL as well as the talented teams within our portfolio. FFL’s culture is rooted in shared wins, and I’m grateful for the mentorship and support that allows me to continue to grow as an investor and a leader.”—Heather Gartin



Sarah Mascioli Ensslen

Firm: Yellow Wood Partners
Title: Principal


Sarah is a Principal at Yellow Wood Partners, a Boston-based private equity firm that invests exclusively in the consumer industry in the middle market. Sarah joined Yellow Wood as a Vice President in 2019 and was promoted to Principal in 2021. She plays a leading role in the firm’s beauty & personal care investments. Sarah’s board and investment experience at Yellow Wood includes The Suave Brands Company, a high-quality and accessibly-priced personal care brand, and PPI Beauty, a multi-brand beauty platform across skincare and cosmetic accessories. 

Before joining Yellow Wood Partners, Sarah was an Investment Professional at Permira, where she was part of the consumer retail investing team. Prior to this, she served as an Associate at Spectrum Equity. Sarah began her career as an Analyst in the Investment Banking Division at Goldman Sachs. Sarah holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and received her BA in history from Princeton University. 

“Yellow Wood’s specialized strategy of investing exclusively in branded consumer products—leveraging decades of deep functional operating expertise and a concentrated portfolio approach—has proven unique and highly effective across a variety of economic environments. I’m thrilled to partner with our portfolio company management teams to build enduring consumer brands that deliver exceptional experiences to consumers.”—Sarah Ensslen



Lauren Wedell

Firm: Battery Ventures
Title: Vice President


Lauren Wedell is a Vice President at Battery Ventures, where she focuses on late-stage and buyout investments. In her four years at Battery, a global investment firm that has raised more than $13 billion since its inception nearly forty years ago, Lauren has developed a distinctive emphasis on infrastructure software, information services, and fintech, and has deployed more than $400M in capital (both equity and debt financing). Recognized as a skilled deal originator and a trusted advisor to CEOs, Lauren independently sourced two current Battery investments, cybersecurity firm DomainTools and raw-materials data platform ResourceWise (formerly Forest2Market), as well as eight add-on investments for existing Battery technology platforms. 

The DomainTools and ResourceWise deals resulted from thematic research that Lauren led; she reached out to hundreds of companies in search of the right investment in the commodity data-pricing market, for example, and brought two companies together to form ResourceWise without any outside advisers. Lauren, just 28, also worked closely with recent Battery exits Enviance (acquired by Cority) and Concurrent Real-Time (acquired by Spectris).

For three years, Lauren served on the Boston chapter board of the nonprofit Synergist Network, promoting career development for female and underrepresented minority investors. Lauren sat on the inaugural committee that designed the first Synergist Finance Fellowship, a mentoring program for college freshmen and sophomores.

Before joining Battery, Lauren was an Investment Banking Analyst within the technology group at William Blair. Lauren earned her BBA, summa cum laude, from Boston College’s Carroll School of Management. While at Boston College, Lauren was a member of the Division I Varsity Women’s Ice Hockey team and the recipient of the highest undergraduate honor, the Finnegan Award.

“I’m honored to be recognized by GrowthCap alongside accomplished investors across the growth equity landscape. At Battery, we’ve been partnering with founders and talented teams at all stages of growth for over 40 years. Innovative software companies look for investors to bring more than just capital to the table —they’re seeking partners that bring thoughtful perspectives, helpful connections and nuanced guidance. Investing is a team sport, with inclusivity critical for success.”—Lauren Wedell



Jacqueline Berris

Firm: Kayne Partners
Title: Vice President


Jacqueline Berris is a Vice President for Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors’ growth capital strategies, where she is responsible for identifying and analyzing investment opportunities across the technology sector, deal execution, and assisting with value creation and the monitoring of portfolio companies. She joined the Kayne Partners team in January 2022 as a Senior Associate, and within a year was quickly promoted to the role of Vice President. As Vice President, Jacqueline has been able to successfully manage multiple deal teams, and she currently serves as a board observer to Panzura, Proficio, CreatorIQ, Bark Technologies, and TicketManager. 

In 2022, she played an active role in Kayne Partners’ $50M growth equity investment in Panzura, an enterprise cloud infrastructure platform, and a separate Kayne Partners’ $10M growth equity investment in a vertically focused POS and payment platform. In addition to these new capital deployments, Jacqueline completed several follow-on investments in existing portfolio companies and supported Kayne Partners senior leadership team on the launch of the dedicated growth credit strategy last fall.

In addition to supporting the team with her breadth of investment and operational experience, Jacqueline continues to serve as a mentor to the junior team and has helped spearhead much of the training efforts. 

“At Kayne, we believe in a disciplined investment approach and the importance of partnering with exceptional management teams who share our philosophy of capital efficient growth and transparency to achieve great outcomes for all stakeholders. I am proud to work alongside the management teams in our portfolio who are building exciting products and to work with an incredible group of resourceful and thoughtful investors at Kayne, who firmly believe in being partners to portfolio companies. I am honored to be included alongside this exceptional group of women leaders in growth investing.”—Jacqueline Berris



Caroline Gray

Firm: Bain Capital Tech Opportunities
Title: Vice President


Caroline Gray is a Vice President at Bain Capital in London, and she has specialized in B2B software investing since joining the firm in 2016. Most recently, she has been leading the European expansion of Bain Capital Tech Opportunities, which she joined in its early stages in 2018 as its second team member. Caroline has played a number of roles within Tech Opportunities, from refining its investment strategy and vertical focus to leading diligence, building relationships with management teams and investors, and recruiting and training the BCTO team. 

Having joined the Tech Opps fund in Boston, Caroline played an active role in Bain Capital’s investment in Hudl in 2020. Since moving to London she has led diligence on dozens of companies in Europe, elevating the firm’s presence in the region. Caroline holds a BA in economics from Dartmouth College, where she graduated summa cum laude, and she was an Arjay Miller Scholar at Stanford Graduate School of Business.

“It’s been an honor to be part of scaling Bain Capital Tech Opportunities to Europe, where we continue to leverage our integrated global platform to support world class management teams through every step of their growth journeys. I am grateful to work with colleagues who consistently challenge conventional thinking with their tenacity, creativity, and integrity.”—Caroline Gray



Priya Diwakar

Firm: Turn/River
Title: Vice President


At Turn/River, Priya helps lead deal execution, sourcing, and portfolio management, collaborating closely with the firm’s team of experts to drive accelerated growth for their companies. In college, Priya majored in international relations, focusing on cybersecurity and international trade, which led her to further explore her passion for technology through her career. 

Turn/River partners with product-focused software companies in mission-critical industries. Their team of career software experts develop operating playbooks that are designed to build growth for portfolio companies. Their approach and innovative playbooks help T/R stand out from other private equity firms. 

“T/R partners with product-focused software companies in mission-critical industries.”—Priya Diwakar



Kate Nimmo

Firm: PSG
Title: Senior Vice President


Kate is a Senior Vice President at PSG, where she focuses on partnering with growth-stage software businesses across a range of sectors. Kate has also emerged as a key mentor at PSG, working to identify and guide the next generation of talent.

Since joining PSG full time in June 2020, Kate has made invaluable contributions to PSG’s deal activity, having worked on five platform investments and 20 add-on acquisitions. Kate also currently sits on the boards of five portfolio companies and works with management teams on projects such as acquisition integration and strategic growth initiatives.

Kate’s ability to connect with others has led her to take on additional managerial and people-oriented roles at PSG. As a former PSG MBA intern, Kate plays a key role in the development of the firm’s talent pipeline by overseeing the firm’s MBA internship program. She is also a mentor to junior deal team members and sits on PSG’s Philanthropy Committee. 

Kate received her bachelor’s degree in English literature at Dartmouth College and her MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

“It is an honor to be recognized by GrowthCap this year alongside so many incredible women leaders and investors. I am fortunate to partner with such passionate entrepreneurs and get to play a role in their journey to achieve transformational growth.”—Kate Nimmo



Veda Eswarappa

Firm: Great Hill Partners
Title: Vice President


Veda Eswarappa is a Vice President at Great Hill Partners, where she specializes in the healthcare and software sectors. Her responsibilities include idea generation, deal execution and portfolio development. She is passionate about identifying, investing in, and scaling innovative healthcare companies that can improve outcomes and experiences while also reducing unnecessary costs. At Great Hill, she has shown a keen ability to identify companies with the potential to disrupt the industry. She played a key role in successfully positioning the firm to invest in and subsequently recap ParetoHealth, a leading employee benefits group captive manager that helps small and medium enterprises self-insure with greater savings and lower volatility. Veda also played a significant role in Great Hill’s recapitalization of Quantum Health, a leading provider of care coordination and healthcare navigation solutions.

Veda launched Great Hill’s CEO Lunch & Learn program, is deeply involved with new hire recruiting and training, and actively mentors women and other underrepresented populations in investing, including through Synergist, a national network of women in investing that seeks to connect women early in their careers, and the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, which supports exceptionally promising students who have financial need.

Before joining Great Hill in 2018, Veda was a Case Team Leader at Parthenon-EY. She earned a bachelor’s degree in biomedical sciences and engineering with honors from Harvard College and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

“At Great Hill, I get to spend my time thinking about the most interesting themes to invest behind and building relationships with the most brilliant, innovative, and scrappy people in those sectors. It is a privilege to be able to partner with such incredible teams to help them maximize their impact via significant yet sustainable growth.”—Veda Eswarappa



Emily Calkins

Firm: Spectrum Equity
Title: Vice President


Emily Calkins is a Vice President at Spectrum Equity. She joined Spectrum in 2021 and focuses on investing in bootstrapped, growth-stage software and data services companies. Within her first year at Spectrum, she helped originate and catalyze Spectrum’s investment in SponsorUnited, the leading global sports and entertainment intelligence platform. In addition to her work with SponsorUnited, Emily is a board director of Litmus and is deeply involved with Presence. Emily leads with a distinct emphasis on genuine relationships—focusing on cultivating true partnership in every aspect of her role: with portfolio company CEOs, entrepreneurs more broadly, and every member of Spectrum’s internal team. 

Emily’s experience with growth-stage companies spans beyond her time at Spectrum; prior to joining the firm, she originated and executed several investments for Mainsail Partners as both an Associate and Senior Associate, and held roles in the Investment Banking Department at Credit Suisse. Emily also worked at AllTrails, a Spectrum portfolio company, during business school.

She holds an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business, where she was Co-President, Commencement Speaker, and recipient of the Arbuckle Award, and a BA with Honors Distinction from Williams College.

“At its core, our work at Spectrum is about identifying, supporting, and elevating the work of great entrepreneurs: it’s about people. It’s a privilege and joy to work with those people day in and day out, and to contribute to companies I admire and operators I respect.”—Emily Calkins 



Claude de Jocas

Firm: Volition Capital
Title: Vice President


Claude is a Vice President of Volition Capital’s internet and consumer investment team. She joined Volition in 2019 and focuses on investments in e-commerce and tech-enabled services, with sector interests in digital health, telco, and consumer subscription services. Claude is a board member for Super73, and a board observer for US Mobile, Sensible Care, Burst Oral Care, and Duffl. In addition, she has investment experience with Dragonfly. Prior to Volition, she interned during her MBA summer at Bullish, a seed fund that’s backed direct-to-consumer disruptors including Peloton, Harry’s, Warby Parker, and Casper. Claude holds a BA from Yale University in economics and environmental studies, and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

“I am grateful to be acknowledged for a second year in a row alongside some of the most accomplished women in venture capital and growth equity. Technology is evolving at lightening speed, and at Volition Capital, we’re fortunate to have a front row seat to some of the most innovative businesses that are changing the fundamental relationship between companies and consumers. Being named to the Top Women Leaders in Growth Investing list again is a testament to the measured and human approach we take to partnering with founders that are driving disruptive change across so many industries.”—Claude de Jocas



Molly Youngblood

Firm: K1 Investment Management
Title: Senior Vice President


Molly Youngblood is a Senior Vice President at K1 Investment Management, a leading investment firm focusing on high-growth enterprise software companies. She is responsible for leading the firm’s Investor Relations team and is an active board member of K1’s portfolio companies.

Molly is passionate about helping women advance in their careers and has been a supporter of the Forte Foundation, a non-profit committed to showing women how to build the credibility, skills, network and confidence to thrive as leaders and change the status quo. She led the creation of the K1 Women’s Leadership Summit, an annual conference for women leaders at K1 and its portfolio companies, which focuses on professional development and advancement within the finance and technology sectors.

Molly graduated from Michigan State University, where she received a BA in marketing and international business.

“It’s been rewarding, both personally and professionally, to be a part of K1’s growth & success over the past nine years. I’m proud to represent women in finance and hope to help other women pursue their passions in the industry. Thank you to GrowthCap for the recognition alongside many incredible women leaders in investing.”—Molly Youngblood



To view additional information on leading growth investors and firms, please see the links below.

Best Growth Investors

Best Growth Investment Firms



Copyright:  The Top Women Leaders in Growth Investing of 2023 publication is copyrighted material, produced and published by GrowthCap, LLC. For information pertaining to content permissions, please refer to GrowthCap’s award usage regulations.

DisclaimerThe data provided in this publication is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as investment advice, endorsement, nor recommendation. GrowthCap believes the information in this publication to be accurate but does not verify its accuracy independently and does not warrant or guarantee that it is accurate or complete. GrowthCap has no obligation to provide any updates or changes to the information. No investment decisions should be made using this information.

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