No Diversity, No Deal – Frances Cope, Senior Manager at PwC

Whilst evidence suggests that gender diversity in the UK Private Equity industry is increasing, it is clear that there is still a long way to go, as discussed in our Private Equity – DE&I in Focus report.

Sophie Randles, Livingston James Director catches up with Frances Cope, Senior Manager at PwC in the next instalment of our ‘No Diversity, No Deal’ interview series, addressing diversity in the Scottish PE and VC sector.

 

What first attracted you to work in the Private Equity (PE)/Deals community?

Meeting business owners, investors and other clients and working within a dedicated team. I love the variety that my role offers and the mix of people I get to work with. I am constantly challenged and continue to learn something new on every project.

 

How long have you been in your current role and what was your career path to get there?

I have been a Senior Manager in the PwC Financial Due Diligence team based in Edinburgh for the last year and my career path to my current role has been interesting!

I am from Edinburgh originally but joined the PwC London Audit practice after graduating from a Business and Marketing degree as I wanted to understand how businesses ‘really worked’ from the inside out, and I thought it would be a great way to gain my Chartered Accountancy qualification. I moved to PwC deals shortly after and loved the work that we do.

After gaining experience in London, I went on a 2-year secondment to Los Angeles, California. Once my contract was over, I decided I wanted to be closer to family and was lucky enough to be welcomed into the PwC Scotland team.

 

How does your organisation promote diversity, particularly relating to women in the PE/Deals industry?

We have a blossoming Women in Deals network here at PwC Scotland. We regularly meet and host events with the intention of creating a community where we can share experiences, and support and learn from each other. We host sessions with senior female role models throughout the PwC network where we get the chance to hear about the individual’s leadership journey in an intimate session. I’ve found this to be career-defining and personally take so much from the community we have built.

We are in the middle of planning similar events externally, which will give us the opportunity to connect with peers and clients in the local market which we are really excited about. Watch this space! All of this is in addition to mentorship and allyship programmes, and other PwC wide gender balance initiatives.

 

Discussing diversity, what has worked in your organisation and how can it be developed?

At PwC, we are committed to building a culture of inclusion to ensure we proactively establish a working environment in which differences are valued. We put this at the heart of our purpose and have a wide range of diversity initiatives from transparent pay reporting to social mobility programmes, faith networks, gender balance and more. Having an open dialogue with senior level accountability has helped drive home the importance of fairness and inclusion in everything we do.

We feel it is imperative that diversity policies range through from initial recruitment to equal promotion opportunities. Society is diverse and we need to reflect this in our business practice if we are to be successful.

 

What value can be created from having a diverse workforce?

A diverse workforce can only be an advantage in today’s business environment; it brings with it a wealth of experience which can be invaluable to decision making. Inclusivity of this kind leads to great job satisfaction and feelings of personal wellbeing. There is no greater spur to productivity than feeling valued and this will be reflected in the quality of work.

 

What advice would you give to other women interested in a career in Private Equity / Deals?

Talk to people, don’t underestimate the power of building a network. Send that email and ask for what you want. Go for it!

 

To find out more about our No Diversity, No Deal series; or for a confidential discussion about your PE and VC executive search requirements, contact [email protected].

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