Most Influential Women Q&A: Beatrice Mitchell, Sperry, Mitchell

How has a mentor helped your career?

My father, David Mitchell, also a banker, was a significant mentor to me. I am the oldest of four daughters. My father brought us up to be confident and independent, and to pursue whatever careers we wanted. So despite the banking industry being very male-oriented, he encouraged and supported me throughout my career. He also thought that starting my own firm was a great idea. He was an optimistic, positive person who believed in me.

What is your current role?

My main roles are to help manage the firm, interface with our clients, and support our team so they can perform at their highest level. I believe in hiring smart, motivated team players, and delegating to them as much responsibility as possible. This ties every employee closer to company achievement and engenders greater job satisfaction. I view my firm as an extension of my family.

Describe your influence on the middle market.

When I co-founded my firm over 30 years ago, I was one of a very few women in the deal business. In the early 1980’s, the M&A and private equity markets were still small and in their infancy. Everyone knew each other. We sold Calumet Coach to Bain Capital in 1986, their first leveraged buyout. I am incredibly proud to have played a part (albeit small) in the tremendous growth and expansion of the field.