Women’s History Month Q&A: Episode Three
Women’s History Month Q&A: Episode Three
Read the latest episode of our Women’s History Month video series featuring María González de Apodaca (Alantra’s COO), Ana Segurado (Managing Partner of Alantra’s VC practice), Rena Sandhu (Director at Alantra Investment Banking), and Ana Montes (Head of M&A and Corporate Advisory Legal Affairs).
Our colleagues share what interested them about the financial sector and the advice they would give to others keen to follow the same path.
Q: What inspired you to pursue a career in Finance?
María González de Apodaca: When I was studying, the Finance sector had an image of being one for successful, brilliant people capable of creating new businesses, managing them, and making them grow. Hence, I wanted to work with those brilliant people and learn more about the industry.
Ana Segurado: I studied a double degree in Law and Finance. Although my initial idea was to become a lawyer, I started to get more and more excited about finance subjects. I liked the way numbers help you understand businesses and different situations and, ultimately, help you make the best decisions. So, when I finished my degree, I decided to build a career in Finance.
Rena Sandhu: I’m the daughter of Indian immigrants and getting an education was very important in my upbringing. Accounting (& Finance) was one of the top five preferred careers in the Asian community at the time, and I was very much steered towards a career in Finance by my parents.
Ana Montes: As an M&A lawyer I have always been in contact with finance advisors. Now I want to help them grow their business.
Q: What key challenge is your team working on?
María González de Apodaca: Our biggest challenge comes from the recent organizational changes in our team. It is a great opportunity for all of us, but it also represents a challenge as everyone will take on new responsibilities.
Ana Segurado: In our case, we are working in the venture capital space. Current valuation volatility in quoted markets for tech assets and lack of visibility around future performance is what is generating the main challenge for us, as it is bringing significant complexity in the transactions we are running.
Rena Sandhu: Continuing to build out the Alantra brand /offering in the UK and lead the M&A mid-market.
Ana Montes: Providing legal support in a more efficient manner. To do so, amongst other initiatives, we are working on the digitalization of the Legal department.
Q: Who has influenced you most in your career?
María González de Apodaca: On the one hand, my family, which has always supported me while emphasizing the need for a good balance between my professional and personal success. On the other hand, the people with whom I have worked closely all these years at Alantra: intelligent, hardworking, and truly good people that are a source of inspiration and one of the most relevant factors to continue in this exciting project.
Ana Segurado: In my case, I would say probably the CEO of the Private Equity Fund I worked at as a Junior Analyst at the beginning of my career. I learned a lot of things from him, but I would especially point out the soft skills I learned.
Rena Sandhu: There is no one single person that’s inspired me. I draw a lot of inspiration from the people in my current team who work incredibly hard, are team players, great deal doers and who also ensure they have a balanced home life.
Ana Montes: I’ve always been surrounded by great professionals, so it is difficult to choose but if I had to pick, I would say Xavier Pujol, who gave me the opportunity to join Alantra, and Sebastian Albella, former President of the CNMV.
Q: What advice would you give to women looking to pursue a career in Finance?
María González de Apodaca: First, to recognize the value that skills such as empathy and strategic thinking can bring (especially to our industry). Second, to believe in themselves and be prepared, while leaving room for imperfection. Third, to learn how to project themselves.
Ana Segurado: To believe in themselves and work hard. I think there is no other advice than that.
Rena Sandhu: A great piece of advice I was given early in my career was to ‘build my network’. I’ve realized how important that is as you reach senior positions as its crucial to growing and sustaining your business.
Ana Montes: To be proud of their work. I think women must make strategic choices in their careers and it is important to be satisfied with them.
Q: What would you like to see happen for women in 2024?
María González de Apodaca: I believe there is room for improvement across all industries and geographies, yet perhaps the biggest challenge comes from societies where gender disparity is much more accentuated.
Ana Segurado: More presence of women in finance across all business levels. We must support one another to make this happen. Senior roles have a responsibility to help junior women to achieve their goals.
Rena Sandhu: I would like to see women continue to take on leadership roles in our profession and those in senior positions to attract and nurture all talent to create a truly diverse industry.
Ana Montes: I would like to see more women as top executives of major corporations. Significant progress has been made in the last few years, but there is still a lot to do to make those positions more accessible to women.