IVCA Hosts First ‘Trailblazer Tales'

IVCA Hosts First ‘Trailblazer Tales'

May 20, 2009

CHICAGO - “ On April 30, the IVCA Committee on Women in Venture and Private Equity hosted the inaugural Trail Blazer Tales fireside chat.  This series is designed to allow women with a long tenure in Venture Capital/Private Equity to share stories and insights from their journey.   

The inaugural honored guest was Patricia ("Pat")Cloherty, one of the pioneering women in venture capital. Ms. Cloherty began her years in venture capital working with Alan Patricof and retired from Apax as Chairman and CEO.  Pat "failed at retirement" and is now living and investing in Russia as Chairman and CEO of Delta Private Equity Group.   

Pat's intellect and sharp wit were apparent as she told stories about the early - “ and current days - “ including her strict regimen of due diligence, which once  included evaluating an investment in a bull semen company.  The group also heard about one of her early investments in Russia when wire transfers were not possible; a couriered suitcase containing $800,000 disappeared in transit.  
The interview was moderated by Bethany McLean.  Bethany, too, is a Trailblazer having shifted from a career as an investment analyst to one as a journalist where she uncovered issues at Enron with her article for Fortune entitled "Is Enron Overpriced?"  Bethany went on to co-author  Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room and is now contributing editor to Vanity Fair magazine.  Bethany is a frequent guest on The Daily Show and has appeared on many current event shows including The Colbert Report.  She is working on a book about the current economic crisis and preparing for the birth of her first child.
Judy Meyer, co-chair of the IVCA Committee on Women and a founder and managing director of DFJ Portage Venture Partners, was pleased with the turnout for the event.  "Pat Cloherty is a national treasure. She was already an established deal principal when I started at CIVC in the early 80's.  Pat certainly influenced my conviction that women could succeed in this industry."
"Pat Cloherty has been unsuccessful at only one thing," said Ellen Carnahan, in-coming IVCA Chairman. "Retirement.  Pat has served several US Presidents working on many diverse initiatives, including the SBIC program, and she never gives up."
Laura Albrecht, vice president American Capital, co-chair of the IVCA Committee of Women observed: "We were encouraged by Pat's energy and her candid assessments about what it takes to succeed in our industry.  The turnout at this event makes it obvious that women in our industry are looking for opportunities to network and become informed about the paths other women have taken to success."
Maura O'Hara, Executive Director at IVCA commented: "This event was a wonderful way to kick-off the Committee's efforts to increase the number of deal professional women in VC and PE.  We designed a sterling silver Trail Blazer horseshoe pin and presented it to Pat Cloherty as our first recipient.  We plan to hold more of these events and are finalizing our topics and schedules." 

Pat will be featured in a soon-to-be released book written by IVCA's past Chairman Robert Finkel (with David Greising) entitled Masters of Private Equity and Venture Capital.
The event was sponsored by Deloitte and the national group, WAVE (Women's Association of Venture and Equity)