HarbourVest has always prized diversity of thought as one of our core tenets. It is inconceivable to us that we could successfully perform our work without it. Throughout our history, and as we have continued to grow, we have consistently focused on building diverse teams that reflect the business opportunities and clients with whom we engage around the world. We provide a broad range of career and development opportunities for all and take pride in being a leading voice and advocate for increasing diversity and inclusion across our industry.
And yet, speaking for our firm only, but hopefully for our industry as well – if the events of 2020 taught us anything, we have to concede that we are merely scratching the surface. We have so much more to work to do, so much more to learn, and we need to do it at a more urgent pace. HarbourVest is up to the challenge.
DIVERSITY & INCLUSION COUNCIL
We formed our Diversity & Inclusion Council in 2019 to formalize our longstanding practices and to ensure that we continue to build upon the proud heritage of diversity and inclusion at the firm. The Council develops our strategy for building and sustaining an inclusive and diverse workplace. In doing so, it focuses on implementing solutions across the following four key areas: talent acquisition, talent development, internal programs, and external programs. Council members and their respective focus areas include:
Gonçalo Faria Ferreira Investments
McComma (Mac) Grayson Investments
Mark Reale Human Resources
Sally Shan Investments
John Toomey Executive Management
Amy Unckless Human Resources
Rich Campbell Enterprise Continuous Improvement
Craig Fowler Investments
Aliza Firestone Goren Legal & Regulatory
Valérie Handal Investments
Katherine McCord Client Service
Amanda Outerbridge Investments
Alicia Sweeney Marketing & Communications
Natasha Buckley ESG
Abigail Rayner Investments
Danielle Remis-Hackel Marketing & Communications
Raj Senapati Investments
Sanjiv Shah Investments
RESPONDING TO THE EVENTS OF 2020
All of us at HarbourVest were profoundly shaken by the tragic events that led to the Black Lives Matter protests last summer. Like so many other businesses, it has caused us to reflect on our responsibility to better understand systemic racism, and to commit ourselves to doing what we can to uproot it in a more focused way. We took the opportunity to engage in discussions with our teams across the second half of 2020, and from that collective feedback took the following four initial action steps:
- We signed the NAIC’s Diverse Alternative Investment Industry Statement in June 2020, committing us to help create permanent, structural, and perennial investments into neglected communities and to finding new investment pathways for Black and Latinx-led companies to access institutional capital.
- We established June 19, known as Juneteenth, as an annual company day of reflection. The date represents the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the US. We give all staff the day off and encourage them to reflect and educate themselves on systemic racism and the meaning of Juneteenth.
- The firm signed on to the UK-based initiative #10000BlackInterns, through which we and other firms will offer internships to Black students and recent graduates to help kick-start their careers in investment management.
- And last, we announced plans to launch our own summer internship program as we seek to expand access to career paths in private equity for minority students.
The Council made significant progress in 2020 on our four key focus areas of talent acquisition, talent development, internal programs, and external programs.
Drove Internal Awareness and Education By instituting key policies and delivering education, the Council helped our firm focus on creating more of a shared understanding, appreciation, and commitment to diversity and inclusion. Specifically, the Council coordinated and provided Conscious Inclusion training for all staff and interview training for hiring managers; developed and rolled out a new Global Respectful Workplace Policy; and expanded the firm’s global parental leave policy during the pandemic.
Expanded External Partner Network We increased the number of diversity and inclusion-focused organizations we work with, including a new partnership with OUT Investors (OI). OI is a global organization founded with the mission of making the direct investing industry more welcoming for LGBT+ individuals through networking events and mentorship programs.
Became Founding Signatory to ILPA’s Diversity in Action Initiative HarbourVest is proud to be a founding signatory to ILPA’s Diversity in Action Initiative, which brings together LPs and GPs with shared commitments to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion. This is an important initiative for private equity because it is not just aspirational, it requires evidence of action in order to sign. See ILPA’s first report on progress for the initiative, which focuses on how signatories are approaching DEI metrics and data capture.
ACTION PLAN: WHAT WE’RE DOING TO IMPROVE OUR OWN DIVERSITY
HarbourVest has always prioritized diversity among its staff, and as a result we continue to compare favorably to our industry peers on diversity.
PERCENTAGE OF FEMALE AND/OR ETHNICALLY DIVERSE STAFF
As of December 31, 2020. Gender diversity data is accounted for globally. Ethnic diversity data includes US employees only.
However, we also realize that we – like many others in our industry – have much more work to do in this area before we can claim to truly be a diverse organization. As we move forward into 2021, our key focus areas will include:
Adopting an intentional approach to diversity We are heightening senior leadership accountability through our annual goal-setting process, and will continue to provide talent acquisition and interview training for leaders, and conscious inclusion training for all employees, to create a greater awareness of the importance of diversity across the firm.
Launching our first-ever summer internship program We are partnering with Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO) to introduce a new summer internship program in June 2021 that will help us tap into talent among Black, Latinx and female college students.
SEO SUMMER INTERNSHIP PROGRAM
Carl Payne Internship Program Manager HarbourVest
We are excited to partner with Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO) on our new internship program, which launches in the summer of 2021. Internship Program Manager Carl Payne, a long-standing team member, talks about the program’s goals and objectives.