The United States is collectively navigating important conversations surrounding the inclusion of women and marginalized communities, in particular, within industries such as engineering, business, and technology where they have been historically underrepresented.
Vista Equity Partners is one of many companies investing in the education of members of marginalized communities early on in their lives, a strategy that not only opens doors for young people but also creates a stable pipeline of qualified candidates entering the investing and business industries. Vista has also established recruiting efforts aimed at increasing access and exposure to STEM, finance and business fields for members of minority communities to empower them to pursue entrepreneurial endeavors in addition to high-profile positions within these fields. According to the 2018 American Business Survey (ABS), women-owned businesses within the scientific and technical services was 16.4%. Additionally, African Americans accounted for ownership of 124,004 firms in the U.S., while 5.6% of all U.S businesses were Hispanic owned.
Vista hopes to continue to grow these numbers through expanded opportunities for underrepresented individuals. Women and minorities are still poorly represented, both at the entry-level as well as across higher, management-level positions in many STEM fields. This creates a pattern of siloed thinking from a historically white and male perspective. Currently, only 85 women are promoted for every 100 men. For Black women, it was 58 for every 100, while only 71 Latinx women were promoted for every 100 men. Women and minorities are continuing to be underrepresented despite being qualified for their industry.
Vista Frontier Fellows Program Creates Careers in Private Equity
Created with diversity and inclusion in mind, the Vista Frontier Fellows program was introduced by Vista in order to establish a pipeline of highly qualified women and diverse candidates for full-time employment. The Fellows program is designed to provide opportunities for those who have been traditionally underrepresented within the industry. Vista targets women, African Americans, Native Americans and Latinx candidates for the opportunity, primarily those who are rising juniors at a college or university. Those selected additionally receive a $25,000 scholarship.
The company partners with colleges and universities across the country in addition to other organizations, similar to Vista, which are committed to progressing opportunities for women and minorities within the finance field. This will help the Frontier Fellows program build a pipeline of highly qualified candidates from an expansive collection of geographical, cultural and professional experiences.
Robert F. Smith, who is the Founder, Chairman and CEO of Vista, is no stranger to utilizing his social platforms to engage in thoughtful conversations about inclusion. Smith spoke to the intentions behind the fellowship program, saying, “We know there are extraordinary candidates out there, including and especially women and minority candidates, who are too often overlooked in our sector. It is our job and our commitment to provide pathways to success for those candidates.”
Those who participate in the internship program are able to work closely with members of the Vista team to gain hands-on transaction experience within an analyst role. The position focuses on investments in data, software and technology companies and fosters a greater understanding of portfolio company management. At the end of the internship, select fellows will be provided the opportunity for full-time employment with Vistas to continue their careers in the private equity industry, along with partial tuition reimbursement.
Continuing to Progress the Careers of Underrepresented Individuals
Vista has supported several programs beyond the fellowship program that aim to open doors within the tech and business fields for underrepresented candidates. Vista has worked with Sponsors for Educational Opportunity, which strives to provide educational and professional development to first and second-year investment banking analysts of color. Continuing in the same vein of career development, Vista is also a supporter of O4U Business, which serves as the leading conference for LGBTQ+ undergraduates seeking opportunities within the financial and consulting space.
To further intervene so as to nurture potential candidates for the competitive market, Vista has partnered with JumpStart Advisory Group to provide exposure to recruiting, as well as private equity.
Vista’s framework centers on people and culture, access and participation, communities and potential and developing delivery models that scale. The company is dedicated to leveraging technology and transforming opportunities in order to establish a greater sense of economic inclusion.