The 10 women selected in this category of the inaugural Women of Influence in Private Markets list work across more than one asset class. Whether they are growing real assets platforms, leading on sustainability initiatives, championing diversity, equity and inclusion, or guiding their firms through the upheaval caused by the pandemic, they stood out for their career achievements and their wider impact on the private markets industry.
Sweta Chattopadhyay has made a significant contribution to investment platform Moonfare’s growth since joining as investment director in November 2020. With responsibility for investment sourcing and due diligence across private markets, Chattopadhyay has led the development of Moonfare’s private credit and co-investment product offering, supporting its goal of becoming a multi-asset manager. She has also played a key role in developing Moonfare’s responsible investment policy, and in its wider diversity and inclusion and corporate social responsibility efforts.
Sarah Corr joined CalPERS in 2001 and was named managing investment director, real assets at the US institutional investment giant last year. Considered to be one of the most seasoned investment professionals in private markets, Corr is described by peers as showing “poise” in managing one of the largest commercial real asset portfolios in the world, leading the team that oversees a $45 billion real estate, infrastructure and timberland portfolio. Noted also for her “patience” and “consensus based decision-making style”, Corr is seen as instrumental in both adding value and reducing risk for CalPERS stakeholders.
Isabel Dische is an asset management partner and institutional investors team co-leader at law firm Ropes & Gray, where she represents sponsors and investors across asset classes and geographies. She is also skilled in secondaries, regularly representing nine of the top 15 secondaries buyers, and in 2020, under her leadership, the firm advised on more than 225 transactions with a combined value of over $72 billion. On top of that, Dische has been central to the firm’s partnerships with the UN Principles for Responsible Investment. She is also part of the firm’s Women’s Forum and involved in various mentoring schemes.
Teresa Farmaki, co-founder and managing partner of Astarte Capital Partners, which focuses on specialist real asset strategies, has been busy of late. Not only did she secure a minority investment in Astarte from Pacific Current Group earlier this year, she also recently led on the launch of a Latin-America focused sustainable forestry fund and a UK-focused real estate fund. Farmaki is also committed to improving gender diversity – she participates in women’s mentoring schemes and Astarte recently became a member of the 30% Club, which campaigns to increase women’s representation at senior management and board level.
In 2019, Raphaelle Koetschet was included in Private Equity International’s 40 under 40: Future Leaders of Private Equity list, and today she continues to impress. Koetschet is responsible for an annual investment allocation of approximately €1 billion at Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations in her role as head of unlisted funds investments. Her team invests in some 20 funds a year following an integrated ESG approach. Koetschet’s recent achievements include the launch of a co-investment programme to build on the organisation’s partnerships with GPs and strengthen its exposure to certain sectors.
As head of responsible investment for Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets, Mary Nicholson was instrumental in Macquarie Asset Management’s 2040 net zero emissions commitment, which was announced in December 2020. She is now guiding the business through the practical steps to achieve this ambition. Nicholson’s commitment to climate action extends outside work: in January 2020 she trekked to the South Pole to raise awareness of climate change. She is also chair of a charity which seeks to improve social mobility by addressing educational inequality in the UK.
Dimple Sahni has been committed to impact investing for over 15 years. As managing director of impact funds portfolios at family office Anthos Fund & Asset Management, which takes a multi-asset approach to impact investing, Sahni has made significant investments across asset classes and has continued to do so through the pandemic. Recent examples include an investment in Adjuvant Capital’s $300 million Global Health Technology Fund. Sahni also advocates for DE&I, both through her investments and in her personal time, including mentoring women as a member of the Cartier Women’s Initiative.
As global head of AXA IM Alts and CEO of AXA IM – Real Assets, Isabelle Scemama has driven the firm’s continued business success over the past year amid the backdrop of the pandemic, growing AUM by 14 percent, raising €14.6 billion and undertaking €10 billion of real estate equity transactions. She has also driven the firm’s ambition to effect positive change in society, recently inspiring a partnership with Parisian affordable residential specialist in’li. Scemama also spearheads the business’s responsible investment approach, targeting carbon neutrality by 2030 and focusing on building resilience to climate change.
In 2014, Chelsea Stoner became the first female general partner at venture capital and private equity firm Battery Ventures. She has played a key role in guiding the firm through the pandemic, working on its office reopening plans and cultural initiatives to keep staff engaged while working from home. At the same time Stoner has been busy on the deal front, recently leading Battery’s investments in financial management software platform HoneyBook and subscription management software businesses SaaSOptics and Chargify. Stoner also co-leads the firm’s diversity and inclusion committee.
Anne Valentine Andrews, who was promoted to global head of BlackRock Real Assets earlier this year, exemplifies “success-driven leadership as a business builder”. Under her leadership, BlackRock Real Assets has become the fastest-growing business within BlackRock Alternative Investors and she has helped grow the infrastructure business to be one of the market leaders in renewables. Valentine Andrews is also an advocate for DE&I initiatives. As a member of BlackRock’s Human Capital Committee, the managing director helps the firm address critical issues related to talent and culture.