Kea Clusters: Creating a Community

Kea Consultants started out in 2009 with the mission to be the “source of future success”  for investment funds seeking to hire industry-leading talent. As we progressed, it became evident that women were significantly underrepresented in these funds, not least at the senior level where women account for less than 15% of Partners in top-tier European funds.

Diving deeper, the power of networks for their male counterparts was playing a huge factor in making the senior ranks even more inaccessible for women. Networks drive mentorship, sponsorship, deal origination and, ultimately, progression. In a world where people naturally network with those who are like themselves, we recognized the negative impact that the absence of female networks on the buy-side could have, particularly as we looked to create an industry that had investment teams were are as representative as the markets and businesses into which they invested. As a female-founded firm that has benefitted from the leadership of outstanding women, we made it our business to address this; not from a place of vanity, but with a clear desire to create a forum that would leave a lasting impact. For us, having an impact meant creating the safest and most relevant space to discuss topics of significance, both personal and professional. So, Kea Clusters is intentionally specialized – a forum, unlike others, that brings together women from the same industries and specific investment strategies. This ensures that each Cluster member is best-positioned to help one another due to their directly relevant experiences and career journeys.

Having worked quietly on creating and scaling Kea Clusters for the past seven years, it’s evident that our discretion has limited the collective awareness of what we have built.

So, what is Kea Clusters?

  • Kea Clusters is a networking initiative for female investors across all levels and strategies.
  • A cluster is a group of 8-12 investors that work in a similar industry (e.g. Private Equity, Venture Capital, or Credit) who meet on a quarterly basis to network and discuss issues that are present for them during their respective careers.
  • The cluster gives each member access to peers and role models within the same industry.
  • Each cluster is facilitated by a mid to senior-level investor from the same industry, who acts as a conduit between their group and Kea, advising us on ways in which we can improve the format and cadence of meetings as well as taking our counsel on discussion topics to help frame the conversations.
  • We rotate the clusters every 12 months to give exposure to other women in the industry.

Our Clusters facilitators come from a diverse spread of backgrounds and institutions, including KKR, CD&R, TCV, Summit, Montagu, HgCapital, and Warburg Pincus. We remain hugely indebted to their time, effort, and focus in driving the collective engagement behind the initiative. Today, Kea Clusters has grown to a network of c.300 investors in Private Equity, Venture Capital, Growth Equity, Credit, and Public Markets funds, across London, Paris, Madrid, and Berlin.

Kea Clusters Event: Creating a Community

Asia House – 7th March 2024

On Thursday 7th March 2024, we were delighted to bring our Kea Clusters members together for a panel discussion on one of the foundational aims of the initiative: creating a community. We were grateful to be joined on our panel by Cassie Chen (Searchlight Capital Partners), Débora Heiderich-Köppen (Apax Partners), Elena Utrera (ex-Towerbrook Capital Partners & Keensight Capital, now founder of Elena Utrera Executive Coaching), and Madalena Godinho Ramos (The Blackstone Group). Our panelists gave valuable, personal, and thoughtful perspectives on the value of investing in a community and the ways in which building a community has served them.

This event was also an opportunity for us to celebrate how far we have come with Clusters but, more importantly, to reiterate our commitment to continuing to grow this network and deepening its impact. As investment funds strive to become more gender-balanced, we believe in the importance of retaining a forum where women can continue to discuss how their shared experiences are evolving in-step with how the composition of investment teams is changing. Kea Clusters must continue as we believe in the long-term benefit of holding a space for women to continue supporting one another through the inevitable challenges of working in an industry that still has some way to go on attracting and, more importantly, retaining women.

Having started a community, our mission to continue scaling Kea Clusters is in full flow, with further ambition to expand our groups, host more events, and open-up dialogue across clusters being part of the plan. The future success of this initiative is dependent on the continued engagement of women who are pursuing careers in investing. We want Kea Clusters to serve the most expansive and representative group of women on the buy-side so we encourage all women in investing to reach out to us if you’d like to be a part of what we’re building.

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