“Equity” Event Focuses On Gender Diversity

By Neal St. Anthony
Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Women who work in the world of finance gathered to watch a private screening of the new movie “Equity.” Equity features the fictitious story of investment banker Naomi Bishop on her journey in the world of Wall Street.

Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

Marcia Page, executive chairwoman and a founder in 1993 of Minneapolis-based Värde Partners, sponsored a private premiere of the Wall Street movie “Equity” this week as well as a panel discussion with 155 investment professionals afterward.

“Equity,” the first Wall Street movie that stars and is produced and directed by women, opens this weekend in theaters across America.

In 2014, actresses Alysia Reiner (“Orange Is The New Black”) and Sarah Megan Thomas (“Backwards”) launched a production company to feature strong female roles. “Equity” is the first offering.

The plot follows investment banker, Naomi Bishop, played by “Breaking Bad” star Anna Gunn. Bishop works to take a promising fledgling company public through an initial public offering of stock. She discovers wrongdoing that could scuttle the IPO and battles powerful guys more focused on fees than ethics.

“This was an opportunity, as we as a firm and industry ratchet up our gender diversity,” Page said of the panel discussion.

“Because in my [30] years in the industry, we really have not moved the needle in terms of diversity among investment professionals. On the other hand, it was serendipity to use the movie to have an innovative conversation about this. It’s a Wall Street thriller from a female point of view. And we had a full house.”

In addition to Page, the panel included Jody Gunderson, executive managing director at Carval Investors; Jennifer Ponce de Leon, senior portfolio manager at Columbia Threadneedle Investments, and Kirsten Voss, senior managing director at Värde.

“Equity” was written by Amy Fox, sister of Jon Fox, a Värde guy.

There is a case to be made: Women are as sharp, more collaborative and less greedy than the boys. Need them on board, whether on Wall Street, in the boardroom, or the church offices. Diversity, including ethnic and cultural, is good.
Värde, with 235 employees in Minneapolis, Singapore and London, manages $11 billion in client money invested in several industries.

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