Meet the Woman Driving IMB Partners’ Successful Business Development with Empathy and Resilience
An interview with Farrah Holder, Managing Director at IMB Partners, a lower-middle-market PE firm in Bethesda, Maryland.
If you’re looking for someone who knows how to drive success in business development and marketing, Farrah Holder is your woman. As a Managing Director at IMB Partners, a lower-middle-market private equity firm in Bethesda, Maryland, Holder has spearheaded the company’s marketing and business development initiatives for more than six years.
During that time, IMB Partners has invested in and helped grow several businesses in various industries, including utility services, food, IT services, and cyber security.
Holder’s background is just as diverse as the companies she works with. She was born in Guyana and moved to the United States when she was six. Her family was evacuated by the US military during a time of political turmoil in Grenada more than two decades ago.
Holder’s success can be attributed to her interest in understanding people and their motivations, as well as her innate ability to build relationships.
“I’m genuinely interested in people,” she told me in a recent Zoom interview. “And I think I’ve always been this way, my whole life.”
As the only child in her family, Holder learned how to navigate and connect with people of all backgrounds at an early age. This has served her well in her professional career, where she’s had to develop relationships with potential clients, partners, and employees.
“I had to show a lot of resilience,” she said.
“We were now an immigrant family here, and I went to seven schools by the time I was in sixth grade. I had to easily learn how to navigate different groups all the time, different people, and quickly learn ‘how am I going to make friends in this new situation?'” she added.
She explained that as a child, she learned, for example, that sports and activities were a common interest that could help her connect with others. From cheerleading, track, and basketball to lip sync contests, plays, and choir, Holder can draw a straight line between her extroversion and involvement in school to her market-facing role today. However, she doesn’t want to discount the impact her father, a tech entrepreneur, had on her path to private equity. Her father bought the business he worked for and, eventually, sold it to a strategic buyer.
“He and the CFO orchestrated a management buyout,” she said, referring to a US-based technology firm that belonged to a European conglomerate. She explained that she saw her father work hard to pivot the business to new markets, grow the service offerings, and build successful teams globally.
“When I am sitting across the table from the family-owned businesses that we talk to today, I always feel a connection to them. I’m not the entrepreneur, but I know the gravity of what a pending transaction could mean to their families and potentially what it means to them because I watched my father go through it,” she said.
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By Lou Sokolovskiy, Founder & CEO at Opus Connect