How did you come to join the investment team at Kartesia?
After graduating in Finance, I had a wide range of opportunities lying ahead of me. I knew that I loved to be challenged, that I needed variety and I wanted to be part of a dynamic team that works closely together and could offer me a lot of exposure.
For this reason, I looked at the fast-paced sectors that best suited my interest in finance and the entrepreneurial world in the broader sense and started my career in Investment Banking. Later on, when presented with the opportunity to join Kartesia’s Deal Team as an analyst, I immediately realised it would, above all, also allow me to build relationships with the various portfolio companies and their management and actively think along with them. I currently work as part of the Benelux team led by Matthieu Delamaire in Brussels and am very much enjoying it so far.
Did you hear about the Kartesia for Women Initiative before joining the firm? What does this entail?
Yes, I did. As part of my selection process, I was given the opportunity to meet senior leaders in the Brussels office, including Coralie De Maesschalck, the head of CSR & ESG and Kartesia’s most senior female employee. Coralie told me about the Kartesia for Women Initiative that had recently launched and the objective of inspiring more women to join Kartesia and the broader private debt and equity industry. As part of this initiative, we not only encourage women within the firm to speak up about their past and current professional experiences but also to take extra time to provide additional insight for women interested in the private debt or finance sector as a whole.
Are there other Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) initiatives at Kartesia?
Within Kartesia, we are working towards a new initiative called ‘Diversity, Inclusion and Development,’ which will form an umbrella over the Kartesia for Women initiative together with the Kartesia New Generation initiative and many more initiatives that come with a growing business. My interpretation of diversity is making sure we have diverse thoughts, ideas, and opinions generated through people of different ages, nationalities, genders but also different characters and personalities across all business functions. In order to effectively translate this diversity, already well represented at Kartesia, into inclusion, we have spent five days with the whole firm in Greece as teambuilding to get to know everybody in the business and work on our development through extensive MBTI sessions. To better develop diversity of thought, we undertook various teambuilding activities where junior employees were given the opportunity to lead teams consisting of various senior leaders to make their voices heard in a different way and in a relaxed atmosphere.
What advice would you have for other women joining a private debt investment team?
Every company comes with its own culture and its own diversity and inclusion embedded into its foundation, so if you like the job content and the responsibilities that come with it, definitely give it a try, and not just once but as many times as you need to find yourself comfortable within your team and environment. I think in general we need to have more women in the sector, and in the deal teams in particular, in order to bring more female perspectives into a very crucial industry.
Is Kartesia also working on D&I at the portfolio level?
The growing focus on, and awareness of, diversity and inclusion is not only found among my colleagues but also in our pan-European portfolio as part of its wider ESG score. For example, as part of the legal negotiations for the Benelux team’s most recent deals, we included a clause that an ESG questionnaire must be filled out on an annual basis by the companies we invest in. In this way we try to highlight the importance of this aspect within our portfolio companies. The portfolio team in their turn keeps track of an ESG score for each investment made and on the basis of these questionnaires, providing them with a detailed ESG overview per company and per fund as a whole. We also try to negotiate board seats at our portfolio companies, by which we hope to bring D&I higher up their agendas.