As Women’s History Month draws to a close, an accomplished deal maker weighss in
Women in M&A have come a long way over the last 30-plus years, making continual inroads into what has traditionally been a male-dominated field. While this movement is still evolving, women are often founders, heading up or holding senior posts at investment banks, business brokerages, private equity, and other advisory firms.
Jackie Ossin Hirsch, Founder, Crowne Atlantic Business Brokers, LLC
In 2004 Orlando-based Jackie Ossin Hirsch founded her own business brokerage, Crowne Atlantic Business Brokers, LLC. This year, she has closed two deals with three transactions pending, and has $16 million under contract, representing sellers of companies that have a value of $20 million or less. She entered the business because she loved what companies did and how they operated. Her business started small but now is booming, almost all due to referrals. As a woman broker, she said, “sometimes I feel like I’m that plant that grows in the crevice of the cliff — and I think that my customers as entrepreneurs relate to that, and think of themselves that way, too.”
What Do Women Bring to the Deal Making Table?
Accomplished women such as Hirsch have skills that make them successful. But in general, women enhance the deal-making process and possess qualities that collectively give them an edge in this field.
“Women negotiate differently,” said Hirsch, who has worked on more than 400 transactions in a variety of industries. “I see a deal as a whole team and so if it’s not working for one person, it’s not going to work for anyone.” Selling a company is simply not just a sale, she noted; it’s creating a match by bringing two parties together.
Hirsch spends time getting to know entrepreneurs and “trying to really understand the goal of the sellers beyond just the deals”, she said. “I feel everybody is my friend. Why not?” She also helps sellers with plans of actions — sometimes without pay — to help grow their companies, and she suggests business books for sellers to read, particularly if they are having difficulties letting go during the sale process.
One of her most memorable deals was a recent sale of a film equipment company owned by a former U.S. Marine, who was organized and regimented and hesitant about selling. The deal closed February 10 this year. “He said I did a good job,” Hirsch recalled. “I took that comment very seriously because I knew he meant it.”
Women tend to think of team building and people in more communal ways, so bringing this perspective can be helpful when buying companies and building a private equity firm.
Women in History – Who Inspires You?
Hirsch is wowed by her daughter, Malena. “She knows who she is and what she wants, and what is best for herself,” Hirsch said. “Malena inspires me to always learn, grow, do, and … when to take a step back and rest. Her old soul is full of wisdom, kindness, compassion, and love. It is truly an honor and a gift to be her mom.”
“Women’s History Month is a time for society to recognize the achievements that women provide to the world,” Holder continued. “For me, it’s a time to pause and reflect on the journey we have been on toward equality, and to being seen, heard, and recognized.”