Placeholder canvas

Empowering Women in M&A: A Journey of Challenges, Changes, and Opportunities

In the dynamic world of mergers and acquisitions (M&A), the journey of women professionals embodies both profound challenges and unparalleled opportunities. A recent conversation between Lou Sokolovskiy, CEO and Founder of Opus Connect and Carrie DiLauro, Director, Operations at Hamilton Robinson Capital Partners, sheds light on the evolving landscape for women in this sector. Their dialogue, rich with insights, encouragement, and practical advice, maps a path for women navigating the complex terrain of M&A.

The Landscape of Progress and Persistence

The narrative of women in M&A is one of gradual but impactful progress. Carrie DiLauro observes a significant shift in the Opus Connect community’s composition over the years, noting, “We’d go through the speed rounds, and maybe there would be one other diverse candidate…now we can have a women’s roundtable, where we can get 35 women to join on a Friday afternoon.” Carrie DiLauro’s reflection on the changing composition of the Opus Connect community not only illustrates a broader shift within the industry but also their growing influence and connectivity within the sector. Yet, Carrie notes that the independent sponsor community, where diversity is still scant, serves as a reminder that the journey towards equality is ongoing.

The Advantage of Being Different

Lou Sokolovskiy and Carrie DiLauro discuss the perception of diversity in M&A events, with DiLauro advising women to view their unique presence as an asset: “If you’re one of two who are a little different in the audience…you get a little more attention. You are definitely more memorable.” DiLauro’s advice to women in M&A—to view their unique presence as an advantage—challenges the traditional narrative around diversity. By suggesting that being “the shiny nickel” in a room can enhance effectiveness and influence, DiLauro encourages women to embrace and leverage their distinctiveness. This positive spin on diversity not only fosters confidence but also prompts women to seize the unique opportunities their differences afford. This perspective urges women to embrace their distinctiveness, not as a hurdle but as a lever for visibility and impact. It’s an invitation to flip the script on diversity, seeing it as a conduit for distinction and memorable engagement in a crowded professional space.

Proactive Participation: Women’s Role in Shaping M&A:

Addressing the hesitation some women might feel about being in the minority at M&A events, DiLauro encourages taking proactive steps: “You should take advantage of them. Don’t let being different stunt your ability to be out there in the M&A community.” This advice is pivotal, pushing against the inertia that might prevent women from engaging fully in networking and professional development opportunities. It’s a call to action for women in M&A to step forward, engage, and enrich the M&A community with their perspectives and capabilities.

Learning from Failure: A Stepping Stone for Women in M&A:

Both Sokolovskiy and DiLauro touch on an essential aspect of professional growth: embracing failure. DiLauro states, “Failure is not such a bad thing…it’s an opportunity to hone your skills and learn…Oh, I should have tweaked it a little bit. I’m going to do that next time.” This mindset is crucial in a field as dynamic and competitive as M&A, where not every venture yields immediate success. It cultivates resilience, a critical attribute for navigating the uncertainties of the M&A world.

The Imperative of Business Development and Perseverance

Business development in M&A requires persistence, as DiLauro eloquently puts it, “Business development is just an exercise in perseverance.” She emphasizes the importance of knowing one’s strengths, effectively communicating with the market, and utilizing data to inform strategic outreach. This approach underlines the blend of persistence, strategic thinking, and adaptability needed to navigate the complex M&A environment successfully.

The Future of M&A: Innovation, AI, and Women’s Impact:

Finally, DiLauro’s forward-looking stance on the role of innovation, particularly AI, in transforming business practices, reflects a broader industry trend towards embracing technological advancements. “We’re all going to be diving into the AI world, and that’s going to be our next big horizon,” she notes, pointing to the potential of technology to transform business practices and outcomes. Her anticipation of AI as a tool for enhancing efficiency and enabling professionals to focus on higher-value tasks is a testament to the evolving nature of M&A work. It calls for a mindset of continuous learning and adaptability, qualities that are indispensable for success in the modern business landscape.


This conversation between Sokolovskiy and DiLauro offers a nuanced view of the challenges and opportunities for women in M&A. It paints a picture of a sector where progress is palpable, yet the journey is far from complete. Through shared insights, they underscore the importance of embracing diversity, leveraging unique perspectives, persisting through challenges, and continually adapting to the changing business environment. For women in M&A, the path is laden with both hurdles and opportunities, but with persistence, adaptability, and a proactive stance, it’s a journey rich with potential for impact and fulfillment.

Tell us what you think on LinkedIn or Instagram! @opusconnect.

By Lou Sokolovskiy, Opus Connect
March 2024

Share this post: