WSN CEO Offsite | September 2023
The Women's Search Network hosted the first annual offsite for female CEOs of search-acquired companies, with over 15 women in attendance! It was an awesome evening and half-day of connection, reflection, and shared experience that left our group feeling grounded, recharged, and ready to lead!
WSN Summer Networking Event | June 2023
WSN Winter Networking Event | February 2023
Webinar: Building Alignment During Fundraising | November 2022
WSN Fall Networking Event | October 2022
Webinar: Strengthening Your Negotiation Skills: The Challenges and Surprising Opportunities When Women Negotiate| October 2022
The WSN was thrilled to host Maggie Neale, Stanford GSB Professor of Management and author of Getting What You Want, a comprehensive guide to negotiating tactics and strategies that help you get more out of every day interactions. Maggie relies on extensive cross-disciplinary research in the fields of psychology, organizational behavior, and economics, among others, to provide practical frameworks for approaching daily personal and business negotiations with confidence to get the most out of what we want.
Webinar: Acquiring a Healthcare Business| October 2022
This virtual panel discussion on acquiring health care-based businesses was moderated by Tiffany Augustyn (Partner, Endurance Search Partners), with Brittany Collins (CEO, Pacific Fertility Center), Laura Franklin (CEO, Shandy Clinic), and Jenna Whigham (President, Abound Health) as our panelists. Recognizing the number of female searchers who are interested in health care and the growing number of searchers finding businesses in the health care provider space (some 20-30% of deals closed in the past two years), the panel discussion highlighted the unique dynamics of this sector so searchers go in “eyes wide open” as to the opportunities and challenges of acquiring a health care business.
Recording: Acquiring a Healthcare Business
Webinar: 5 Key Traits for CEOs | April 2022
This webinar featured special guest David Dodson, a search fund operator and longtime investor in the space. He, along with panelists Sarah Rowell and Laura Franklin, talked about the five critical traits of successful CEOs. Sarah and Laura shared specific experiences about the five traits from their time running companies and offered tactical advice to the webinar guests on how to more quickly and efficiently address each of the five traits.
Recording: 5 Key Traits for CEOs
WSN Winter Networking Event | March 2022
WSN Fall Networking Event | November 2021
Webinar: Family Planning in Search | October 2021
Our family planning webinar centered around a candid conversation with three female search fund entrepreneurs (Jackie Kopcho, Brittany Collins and Trista Engel) about how they handled family planning either while searching or running a company. We covered a range of topics including informing investors about pregnancy, communicating with sellers, forming a Parental Leave policy at acquired companies and how to plan ahead for balancing child birth and time off with a busy workload.
Recording: Family Planning in Search
Webinar: Board of Directors Best Practices with Jim Sharpe (WSN Members only) | June 2021
We are delighted to host a webinar with Jim Sharpe, Visiting Executive and longtime Lecturer on Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition at Harvard Business School, during which he will lead a discussion on best practices for building and engaging Boards of Directors for search fund acquired businesses. Upon exiting their business, many CEOs point to their board of directors as the primary guide through the years from transitioning to new ownership, making significant decisions about growth opportunities and acquisitions, and finally, guiding the process through the exit.
This panel discussion will present a variety of viewpoints about the care and feeding of your board of directors once you start operating the business you acquire. CEO Trista Engel at Paragon Legal and her partner have a board of directors comprised of experienced and knowledgeable traditional investors. Lia Majid at Acorn Legal Solutions is part of the Search Fund Accelerator and has two "internal" board members, but has found value in an additional outsider she recruited to serve on the board. And finally, Rina Vernovskaya took the self-funded route and pulled together a board from her investor group.
Webinar: Fireside Chat with Irv Grousbeck (WSN Members only) | April 2021
We are delighted to host a fireside chat with Irv Grousbeck, adjunct professor of management at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and the brains behind the search fund model. Irv's reputation precedes him but a few highlights from his vast personal and professional accomplishments include: co-founding Continental Cablevision in 1964 which he helped build into a multimillion-dollar company over 20 years; creating and teaching two of the most popular classes at the Stanford GSB and co-founding Stanford's Center for Entrepreneurial Studies; co-owner of the Boston Celtics; sage whose wisdom and advice serves to help others be their best. We are honored to host Irv as he shares his insights about leadership, building organizations, growing into the role of CEO, and more.
WSN Networking | March 2021
We heard from Nikita Sunilkumar, CEO of Crown Health, a mobile healthcare provider for assisted living facilities in the state of Washington. Nikita will share her experience of searching for a company to buy, navigating the uncertainties of COVID, and ramping up the learning curve in her new role as CEO. After hearing from Nikita, we will have an open Q&A session where you can ask Nikita and two current searchers, Jackie Kopcho and Courtney Dunn, about why they chose search as a career path and learn more about their experience so far.
Recording: WSN March 2021 Networking
Webinar: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Part 3: Stories from the Field and Lessons Learned from Search Fund CEOs | January 2021
Our DEI series concluded with a conversation with CEOs (Peter Flick, Laura Franklin, and Keith Burns) from the search fund community who shared their perspectives on the challenges and opportunities inherent in building a diverse and inclusive company. We used their stories as a jumping-off point to field the audience's questions and with Chaka Booker, author and managing director of the Broad Center, facilitated a conversation about how to take the lessons we’ve learned during this series back to the companies you currently or will one day lead.
WSN Networking | November 2020
Our first networking event to meet other female prospective searchers, current searchers, and investors. We heard Laura Franklin, CEO of Shandy Clinic, who is in her first 100 days as CEO after a two-year search with her partner, William. Laura shared her experience of searching for a company to buy, navigating the purchase process through COVID, and ramping up the learning curve in her new role as CEO. After hearing from Laura, we had an open Q&A session where WSN members asked Laura and 2 current searchers, Jessica Palfrey and Elise Polezel, about why they chose search as a career path and their experience so far.
Recording: WSN Fall Networking
Webinar: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Part 2: Inclusive Hiring | November 2020
In Part 2 of our series, we explored the topic of Inclusive Hiring presented by Paradigm Consulting. In this session, Paradigm discussed the barriers that undermine inclusive hiring and share evidence-based strategies to help us navigate these barriers to create a more open and productive experience for our current and prospective employees. This highly tactical session shared tools for creating job descriptions and interview questions, conducting post-interview debriefs, and managing the hiring process as a whole, to make sure the most diverse pool of high-quality candidates is being tapped into.
Handout: Inclusive Hiring
Webinar: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Part 1: Best Practices from High-Performing Teams | October 2020
In Part 1 of our series, we heard from Anthony Abraham, Global Director of People Services at Google, John Powenski, Senior Vice President of Human Resources at Asurion, and Yanika Smith-Bartley, Chief Diversity & Talent Strategy Officer at Asurion, who shared their perspectives on the evolution of diversity, equity, and inclusion from a “poster on the wall” concept to a key competitive advantage and core value. Through real-life stories of success and failure over their decades in people operations, Anthony, Yanika, and John provided an aspirational and inspiring look at how a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workforce is essential to achieving a high-performance organization.
Webinar: The Legal Side of Search | August 2020
Goodwin Proctor's Partner Stephen Goodwin, current searcher Carla Larin, and current CEO Nikita Sunikumar provided an overview of the key terms searchers and investors work through when forming a fund and when closing on an acquisition. Stephen lead us through key terms searchers need to understand as they manage closing docs with investors and some important nuances around approach and tone. Carla shared her experience discussing terms with investors as she closed her search fund, and Nikita touched on the process she went through with investors on her recent acquisition.
Webinar: The Power of Mentorship for Female Leaders | May 2020
Anna Robinson, CEO and Founder of Ceresa, shared why mentorship is so transformative for individuals, why current options are falling short particularly for women, and what we can do about. In this highly informative webinar, Anna described detailed strategies for both serving as a strong mentor with impact and getting the most out of mentorship.
Recording: Mentoring Matters