Earn Confidence and Play The Long Game – Meahgan O’Grady Martin
Telling her story on the Podcast today is one of McGuireWoods’ Women in Private Equity to Know, Meahgan O’Grady Martin. Meahgan is the Director of Business Development for Palladium Equity Partners and a chairwoman at the Association for Corporate Growth Women in Leadership committee. During our discussion, we unpack the process of enduring challenges to earn confidence, the power of building a network, and the perils of having a mindset of victimhood. Drawing on her own experience, Meaghan shares some powerful advice with listeners on how to grow from everything you experience and leverage your relationships to find success.
Key Points From This Episode:
- Meahgan’s unique path to private equity and the unique skill set that helped her succeed.
- The learned and innate skill sets behind Meahgan’s success.
- Distinguishing between confidence and arrogance.
- Meahgan’s thoughts on victimhood and understanding that you have to work for confidence.
- Combatting victimhood with resilience and grit.
- Why self-pity is a waste of time and what you should do instead.
- Her belief in the power of looking fear in the face.
- Thinking of your career as a marathon to avoid analysis paralysis.
- Why there is always a way forward.
- The value of a network and where to find time to prioritize it.
- Why it is important to see your network as more than transactional.
- How even though she doesn’t always have the answers, Meahgan knows she can figure them out.
- The reality that sometimes an opportunity is just more work in disguise.
- Leveraging the power of your network to solve problems.
- How time and maturity develop your perspective.
[0:00:04.5] ANNOUNCER: Welcome to Branch Out, a connection builder’s podcast. Helping middle market professionals connect, grow and excel in their careers. Through a series of conversations with leading professionals, we share stories and insights to take your career to the next level. A successful career begins with meaningful connections.
[0:00:22.5] AD: Hey everyone, welcome to the Branch Out Podcast. I’m your host, Alex Drost. Today, we welcome, Meahgan O’Grady Martin, Director of Business Development for Palladium Equity Partners, which is the oldest minority-owned, private equity buyout firm in the industry with over three billion in assets under managed. Meahgan also serves as a chairwoman of the Association for Corporate Growth Women in Leadership committee and was named one of McGuire Wood’s Women to Know in Private Equity.
Today, Meahgan shares why she believes confidence is earned through enduring challenges, how building your network is invaluable, and the reason you should avoid the victimhood mindset. I hope you all enjoy.
[0:01:05.4] ANNOUNCER: Connect and grow your network. We are on LinkedIn, search for, Connection Builders.
[0:01:12.9] AD: Meahgan, welcome to the Branch Out Podcast, looking forward to our conversation today.
[0:01:16.7] MOM: Thanks, happy to be here, thank you for having me.
[0:01:18.8] AD: So talk into our listeners for a moment here to tee up the conversation, Meahgan and I are here today to talk a little bit about confidence and where confidence can help you succeed as a professional, as an individual or as a business owner and you know, Meaghan and I did some, a prep call before this and just for bouncing around ideas and it really came out that that’s something that Meahgan’s really focused on her life and we had some really interesting dialog around that.
So I’m excited to talk and to share some thoughts around that and maybe, the right place for us to start Meahgan is just for you to share a little bit of yourself, your background and kind of how we even got to this topic to begin with and then we’ll take the conversation from there.
[0:01:54.7] MOM: Sure, happy to do so. Thank you. So, Meahgan O’Grady Martin, I am a director of originations and lead our originations efforts at Palladium Equity Partners based in New York. I’m actually personally located in the South Florida area, which is a fairly new occurrence post-COVID, I guess, during COVID but a little bit about my background, I have a very nontraditional path to private equity.
I started my career on the derivatives side, so I was part of the Derivatives Valuation Center at Ernst & Young, quickly moved to Goldman where I purely focused on credit and liquid credit valuations for the high yield investing gradient index flow trading desk and from there, you know, I kind of sat myself down and had a deep one-on-one conversation with myself and said, “You know this is great.” I had largely accomplished what I set out after undergrad to accomplish, which was to build strong skillset and quantitative analytics in particular.
However, what I began to realize is that wasn’t really bringing me joy. My every day job was not bringing me joy on a daily basis and so I was looking for other ways outside of my day-to-day job to achieve that joy capacity and you know, that was bred through a lot of external interactions and presentations, just talking about my business and the pieces of my business that I found really exciting and interesting to external stakeholders.
So as an example, I did a lot of work, initially when I joined Goldman around our Lehman trade claims holdings and that was a very sexy topic at the time and you know, internally and externally at the firm, a lot of people wanted to better understand what a Lehman trade in was, you know, how we were handling our holdings in the space and kind of our thought process going through that and so, I started giving presentations around that as well as other things as my career developed there.
And that is what really got me jazzed and excited, those conversations about my business and so it was that revelation that drove me to say, “I cannot stay in this career path but what career path do I want to take?” Clearly, it was something that was going to be a little bit more externally facing. I realized that sitting behind a computer screen, day in and day out, just tick-tick-ticking away on models was not going to bring me long-term joy.
But I didn’t quite know what was going to bring me long-term joy at that point except for the fact that I knew that I wasn’t where I was and it would likely be something that was more outward-facing, revenue-generating, et cetera and so that’s what led me to business school. I got my MBA at Duke and then prior to starting at Duke though, I saw that it was a risk with opportunity to try something new.
So I pitched my idea to a number of different people within my network and the way my Marian network really, at that time that I wanted to do a spring associateship internship at a private equity shop and someone took the bait.
[0:05:09.4] AD: Really?
[0:05:10.2] MOM: A wonderful firm called Long Point Capital Partners, lower/middle market private equity firm. They do a lot in the business services space and so, that’s how I got my foot in the private equity door. I interned as an investment associate, came back full-time, pitched my role there again to what I wanted to do full-time, which really was a hybrid in between investment.
So again, coming on as an investment associate as well as the business development side and so, I did everything, soups to nuts there, originations through to deal executions and post close portfolio operations.
[0:05:45.3] AD: And so I want to jump in here for a second. I want to highlight this because I think it’s just really unique. So you leaned into your network, you knew you wanted to go to B school but you leaned into your network and at that time primarily, your undergrad network but the network that you had and pitched yourself of saying, “Hey, I haven’t done this before but I would like to try doing an internship.”
I would like to, just tell me a little more about that. That unique approach to taking a leap and kind of jumping your career in a different direction that I think, I love just to learn just a little bit more about the thinking and what you learn from that.
[0:06:15.5] MOM: Yeah. So what my initial thought process was, “Hey, I have a great pedigree here.” You know, I’m coming from Goldman, although I haven’t done investment banking, my entire career has been in quantitative analytics. I understand how to put together models, I understand how to look through financials, break them down. I probably understand how to look through financials in the entire cap deck better than my peers on the investment banking side.
And, not to mention the fact that I’m able to distill a complicated topic into something that is palatable for a population that doesn’t understand that the nomenclature or the world in which I’m discussing and so that also becomes a very valuable and you know, the proof is in the pudding, throughout my career, I’ve realized now I’m private equity that that skillset is very valuable when you’re trying to talk about complicated things to various stake holders.
You can kind of ratchet it up or ratchet it down, the buzzwords in business chat, depending on when you’re talking to a CEO, family-owned business who doesn’t understand private equity, who doesn’t understand investing but they do understand widget manufacturing or if I’m talking to a very specific sector-focused banker, you know, I can talk that talk as well and so that’s kind of how I pitch myself.
I have the DPI analytical skills and knowledge base there but I’m also able to do kind of meld that knowledge based on who I’m talking to and kind of make those connections up and down the investment food chain if you will. So that was kind of my pitch oh, and also, I’ll work for you for free.
[0:08:02.2] AD: I’m sure that helps, makes the decision a little easier. So you put yourself out there, you pitch kind of this, “Here’s the skillsets I bring, here is the unique experience I have, I think I can drive value” What happens from there? From there to B school, walk us through the rest of the journey.
[0:08:14.1] MOM: Yeah, so from there, first off, I got a lot of no’s, believe it or not. You know, but all it takes is one yes and so it’s resiliency coming back from those no’s. “I don’t really understand why this person says no, this seems like a great opportunity for me, I would think they would hop on it. So it’s not me, it’s them, I’m going to keep trying and some genius is eventually going to say yes” and some genius did.
So it was a great internship experience, I really like the team there. I went to business school. In between business school, I intervened in the leverage finance group at Bank of America. Also a great experience, great opportunity, I was there for a couple of weeks and kind of wanted to hit myself in the head and say, “What are you doing?” maybe this is exactly what you didn’t want to do going into business school.
It was just kind of a logical, easy recruitment path to go down and so, you know from there, I reached back out to Long Point, pitched the role that I wanted to have post business school and we had had just a really great connection during my internship and they basically said, “Yeah, we’d love to have you come back.”
[0:09:22.7] AD: That’s cool. That’s really cool. So I guess, share with us just a little bit about what was it uniquely that you wanted to be doing. Like, you know, looking through all of this, where do you find yourself best positioned and then let’s go into what skillsets help you excel at what you’re doing today?
[0:09:38.3] MOM: Yeah, so at the time, I’m planning to become a Jill of all trades, that’s why I was in a hybrid role at Long Point, working through both on the investing side as well as on the origination side. More focused on originations than the investing side of things but still had my hand in both cookie jars and that was really able to scratch the quantitative edge today I’ve been so used to as well as the desire to grow into more of an outward facing, the face of the firm, revenue generating role.
And you know, I think, obviously one of the skillsets was learned, the quantitative analytics piece and the other skillset I think was a little bit more innate and I’m a chatty person. I’m a people person and I love to talk about my business and like I mentioned, I think that I’m able to attract, I guess, is the right word, multiple different people from multiple different walks of life. So you know, I don’t alienate or at least I try not to alienate any one type of person because no good can come from that to begin with but I like to think of myself as a woman of the people and I think that self perspective has definitely come in handy.
[0:10:56.1] AD: Well actually, I think is an excellent transition into this idea of confidence, right? When you and I talked about this before, there’s this idea of confidence and arrogance is a very thin line between the two and they can look very similar times. There is definitely a material difference there.
Where does confidence play in? How do you use confidence and how do you make sure it’s not arrogance, right? Because arrogance is what turns people off confidence is what attracts them, right? How do you balance that and how has that played into your own life.
[0:11:20.5] MOM: Yeah. So I think that the difference between confidence and arrogance can be distilled into that something very simple. Confidence is earned, arrogance is given and so saying that in another way, I think it’s very clear when someone has confidence versus arrogance. There’s also a bit of humility in there as well because you’ve earned your confidence so you know enough to know what you don’t know.
You also know enough to realize that an educational moment can come from anywhere, anyone, at any time and so I don’t think that I always have the right answer but I’m always looking for the right answer or at least the best answer and so I come at a situation or a scenario with a belief, cobbled together and educated stance but I also come at it with open eyes and ears, realizing that what I believe or the way that I’m or the way that I’m hearing a set of facts could also be perceived or skewed in different way.
Ultimately, I’m just trying to get to the best solution, whether that’s mine or not. I think that’s the difference, confidence is educating yourself as a leader in a certain situation but realizing that the conclusion that you came to might not be the best one and being okay with that.
[0:12:42.6] AD: It’s that open mindedness, that ability to learn to not think you have it figured out and I do think often times, as soon as we start thinking to ourselves, “I already know that” or “Of course.” You may know it but the second those thoughts start hitting your head, that’s when it’s really easy to start discounting as you said, the learning opportunities but what you also said there and this is, I think, a really interesting or the right way to look at confidence, it’s earned.
Meaning that the challenges we endure are what allow us to get there, right? I think, you know, you and I when we chatted before, there is this idea of like, you know, betting on yourself and the confidence that comes out of that and some of the unknowns and like, share some thoughts with me around that?
[0:13:16.9] MOM: Yeah, I know exactly. I think as long as you keep going, you’ll keep getting better and as you get better, you gain more confidence, so that alone is success. Like I mentioned, confidence is earned so inherently, it comes from discipline and training. You know, without that discipline and training, you wouldn’t know yourself well enough and your capabilities well enough to have that confidence and so it’s almost like the chicken or the egg, which one came first.
[0:13:44.5] ANNOUNCER: This is Branch Out, a connection builder’s podcast.
[0:13:52.3] AD: I want to jump in there for a minute. I think that’s actually really important to highlight. It is like that, right? And it’s so often, we don’t want to do something because we’re not confident, we’re not comfortable, we don’t want to lean into it because we haven’t done it but we’re never going to get comfortable and confident doing anything if we haven’t done it before, right? And so, inevitably, you have to step out and do something and start experience it and go through those challenges to ultimately build that confidence behind it.
[0:14:18.1] MOM: Right, 100%. So I love to think of this quote from Marie Currie. She said, “Life is not easy for any of us.” So I’ll stop there, it goes on but I’ll stop there just for a second because I love that piece because I think that victimhood is so pervasive through our society these days and it just drives me bonkers. Don’t be a victim, like, if you’re a victim, in many cases, you’re choosing to be a victim or you’re choosing to be a victim or you’re choosing to continue to be a victim.
So life is not easy for any of us and it goes on and she says, “We must have perseverance and above all, confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.” You know, so I think that is a really great summation of everything that we talk to up until this point. Discipline, training, you know, realizing that it’s not confidence just isn’t there at birth that you have to figure out why you should have confidence.
[0:15:22.4] AD: And back to, if you think you just naturally have confidence, you might actually have arrogance. That’s, when you have confidence, at least through my own experience, my own lived experiences that the confidence, the true confidence that I have not the times where I try to portray confidence that I don’t have but the actual, real authentic confidence are all because of some lived experience that was really hard at the time of going through it that it felt challenging but that you learn and you grow from and that’s where it is earned, right?
That’s the, you can look back and be like, “Yeah, I know what I’m doing because…” you don’t tell everyone what you did. You don’t have to necessarily brag about it or make it clear to everyone else what you’ve done. That’s confidence because generally, you carry it yourself, it’s your own knowing that, right? And you said that the victimhood side of things and I think, this is actually a really – I think it’s an interesting take in this that’s important.
You said, stop being the victim, playing the victim or continuing to play the victim. I think that’s a really important part, understanding that yeah sometimes life just throws people curveballs. Life is the furthest thing for affair for people and it is challenging no matter who you are. It looks different, it feels different, everyone has different lived experiences around it but ultimately, we’re going to get curveballs and we will be the “victim of things” from time to time and like, meaning that like, things won’t go your way and things will be challenging but continuing to live in that pattern, continuing to live in that mindset, continuing to hang your head on that isn’t going to get you anywhere.
Really where I want to drive all this to is entrepreneurship, right? You’re an investor investing in entrepreneurs and I think a lot of our listeners are either entrepreneurs themselves or they work with entrepreneur or they have entrepreneurial spirits and I look at – I was actually just having the same conversation with someone else yesterday around entrepreneurship. The true entrepreneur, that’s kind of, for lack of a better way of saying it, that’s where the stuff stops, right? The stuff rolls downhill and kind of lands on the plate of the entrepreneur.
You can’t be the victim, it’s no one else’s fault. It’s yours, you have to do it on everything, right? As the entrepreneur, if you’re truly the visionary, the leader of the organization, it’s your job to figure out all the problems, no matter what however they come to you, right? And so, taking that victim role, I think is what gets in the way of actually dealing with challenges with full confidence.
[0:17:30.5] MOM: Yeah, victimhood gets in the way of success. So you know, it’s that resilience and grit that every entrepreneur or intropreneur has in common. So “shit happens.” I don’t know if I can cuss on the podcast but I did.
[0:17:49.6] AD: I think you’re not supposed to but I think we’ll be okay.
[0:17:53.5] MOM: You know, it happens and it just how you deal with it. Sometimes, you are the victim of an unfortunate scenario and you can really lean into that victimhood and say, “Woe is me” you know, throw yourself a pity party and you know, I actually credit my mom for this. She says, “Listen, it is okay to throw yourself a pity party but you need to give yourself an end time and date for that pity party or else that’s just going to keep going on” and you say, “Oh this happened, let me feel sorry for myself in the next 30 minutes and then I am going to pull myself up on my bootstraps and move forward.”
Just move forward, you know you have to realize that the winners in life are the ones that move forward. It is not that anything has hasn’t happened to them. It’s not that things have always worked out for them but it is the way they have taken those situations and grown from them, learn from them instead of allowing those situations to defeat them.
[0:18:54.7] AD: Let’s talk about the mindsets behind that first second. So part one, I can have the mindset of, “Well, this just really isn’t fair to me” like I am the victim, you know, “I can’t believe this has happened. Life isn’t fair, I’ll never overcome this. How do I?” like all of that is just chewing up internal mental energy, right? Now, understanding that success is driven by what you do, the outcomes, the things you achieve and that has everything to do with like moving forward and accomplishing stuff and being on track.
If you are wasting energy, the most valuable resource I think you have, right? Time meaning that really, your energy to show up and engage and do the good work that you do, if you waste that mental energy on thinking about all the reasons why, well it was me for taking a little time to acknowledge and to accept that and give yourself space to feel that, I 100% believe that’s important but when you linger in it, all you’re doing is diminishing that energy.
Then the external side of that is, “Well, Meahgan is only there because Meahgan had this. I don’t know what Meahgan had.” So first off, how do I know that’s even a true statement? But as soon as I start comparing, as soon as I start myself against someone else, it is never apples to apples. It is never fair, everyone has had a different approach, different series of circumstances in our life and again, all I am doing is spending mental energy thinking about something that’s going to get me nowhere.
If I eliminate those energy wasters, that mental baggage and rather re-shift and refocus my energy on what I can control, the actions that will move me forward, again, my own life experience is you tend to get a lot farther than getting hung up and stuff.
[0:20:26.8] MOM: Yeah, I completely agree. It is taking the time to think through things, to think through scenarios and adjust course. “So this didn’t work, all right, that sucks. I really put a lot of time and effort, maybe money into it but I’m not going to give up” and so I am a firm believer that you gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience and when you really stop to look fear in the face.
Whether that ends up to your benefit or to your detriment in that one experience, you know, it is to be seen but it is the fact that you are able to do that that will make you a better person moving forward.
[0:21:05.8] AD: I think it is also worth noting that often times, those challenges that you say look fear in the face and sometimes it works out for you, sometimes it doesn’t, the times that it doesn’t often times is more short term in nature, right? You don’t always get the business opportunity or the job opportunity that you wanted and that you tried for, it just doesn’t always happen that way.
Great example, you go through 30 interviews, right? Every one of them you feel defeated and not one of them worked out for you because they all said no to you and short term yeah, that’s painful but I can tell you that you go through those, as long as you are showing up and you are engaging, you are not taking a victimhood mentality to it, you learn from every one of those and you get better and better and better and better every single time you do that.
That is going to lead you to the opportunity that does open the door that’s grander than what you could have ever imagined. That’s how I see it tend to play out and it is all recognizing that in the long run, a lot can change. A lot can happen in long term trajectory. If you get stuck in the short term thinking and worrying about the losses, the losses most of the time are very short term in nature versus the growth and the confidence that you build over a lifetime.
[0:22:08.9] MOM: Right, double click on a couple of those things that you just said. Lloyd Blankfein always said, “Be long-term gritty.” Your career is a marathon and don’t look at the next step that you take as the last step that you are going to take and so, you know, always be effective. Don’t think through it too much. You know, analysis paralysis is a real thing especially for people that are highly analytical or in highly analytical careers.
Even for people that aren’t, it’s the whole jelly aisle scenario, too many choices and you can’t make one. Don’t paralyze yourself and risk losing out on a great opportunity because you are spending too much time analyzing it and you are saying, “Well, this is going to be the determinant on how successful I am for the rest of my life.” No, it’s not. You know, it can be but statistically, probably it’s not.
So just think of it that way, be long term gritty and think of your next move as a stepping stone to the next move after that because realistically, that’s what it is.
[0:23:17.3] ANNOUNCER: This is Branch Out, bringing you candid conversations with leading middle-market professionals.
[0:23:25.0] AD: I want to jump in there for a quick second. What you are pointing at is in, we talked about this a little bit before I think, option value, right? Understanding how concrete is the decision you are making. I think it’s Amazon, uses the term close door, there’s one-way door decisions, right? Understanding that there are some decisions that you have to make that become relatively one way.
Now and there are some big concrete decisions and so be thoughtful on those but a vast majority of the decisions we actually make are very much things that can be – even getting a job for example, even getting a job and moving across the country. It is a pretty big deal, I don’t want to diminish what goes into that but at the end of the day, it’s you can always move somewhere else.
You can always find the knot, right? They’re not so permanent that you don’t want to get hung up making a decision as if it is written in stone never to be changed in the future when in reality it’s not.
[0:24:14.9] MOM: No, I completely agree and even bankruptcy. So let us talk about something that seems just really final. A lot of entrepreneurs go through doomsday scenarios like that and even something like bankruptcy is not the end of the world. It’s just how you approach a less than positive situation and how you can capitalize on that. I believe that there is always a silver lining. It is just how do you choose to approach that scenario to find the silver lining.
But there is always something to be learned and there is always some way to fix it. So I always talk to my husband about how I am a multi-scenario planner and so I have a plan A but behind my plan A, there’s always a plan B and a C likely a D as well because you know, I’m just always thinking about the what ifs.
I would love for it to go this way but often times, it doesn’t and we always have to think about the multiple scenarios that could occur and what our reactions to those will be to make sure that we’re, in many cases, protecting ourselves from the world that is out there and beyond that and I think that stems from, you know, way back in the day when I realize that hopefully I did this from the beginning, I don’t know everything but I am going to figure it out.
What I do know is that I will always figure it out. I will always find a way to figure it out and it doesn’t mean that I’m necessarily the right person for the job or wherever it might be but I will find the right person. I will find the right set of data. I will figure it out, whatever you need, I will figure it out and so you know, to that point I’ve never really said no to opportunities or “opportunities.”
Oftentimes, an opportunity is really just extra work disguised as an opportunity. I’ve never really said no to those things. I am starting to say no a lot more now but I feel like I am at the point of my career where I can say no and a lot of times what I am saying yes to are things that I just have, you know, I had no idea but I said, “You know what? What I am competent in is my ability” and a lot of that had to do with my network, “My ability to figure it out.”
You know, enlist my network to help me figure it out and so I think that figure out mentality, which again takes a little bit of grit and extra time, also is a great contributor to the confidence factor.
[0:26:50.1] AD: Let’s talk about where a network of relationships fall into the equation of helping you solve problems, helping you have confidence in yourself and your long term trajectory but also how do you make time for that. It is something we know a lot of content, a lot of people need. A lot of the work we do is teach and talk about the value of networking and so I think we know it is important but how does that play out.
[0:27:11.5] MOM: Your podcast is Branch Out.
[0:27:13.5] AD: It is. For that very reason, there is a lot of marketing that went into that.
[0:27:17.4] MOM: Yeah, so listen, I guess there are two things here. So the value of a network and then when did you find time for that. So two very easy answers and then I’ll elaborate the value of a network invaluable. It is completely invaluable and then where do you make time for. You make time for it on your off time, you know? So you have to one, realize the multiples or the multiplier effect that a relevant network can provide to you not just in your everyday work environment.
But then also in your career prospects long term and really view it as a relationship building exercise and don’t view it as functional. I think too many people view their networks as purely transactional and functional and that’s not going to get you anywhere or get you about as far as the next transaction and then it is going to die. You know, I view it as a marathon. I play the long game with my network and it might not be and always thinking about the different ways that I can give back to my network because I don’t want to always be the taker.
I want to be the giver as well and it doesn’t necessarily initially mean in a monetary way. It could always never mean, you know, some sort of monetary gain for the people in my network but it could mean a new connection. It could mean, you know, passing a deal along to them. It could just mean advice but there are a lot of ways to create symbiotic relationships and symbiotic interconnectivity.
So that’s one thing that I always focus on and I build my network at night, in the mornings and during my lunch hour and I think most people do that and that also means you have longer days but you know, I think that this –
[0:29:12.5] AD: Investment. It’s an investment.
[0:29:13.7] MOM: It’s an investment. It is an investment in yourself and so many people want this kind of magic arrow and there’s not one. You know The 4-Hour Work Week is a fallacy and you just really have to put in your time to be successful and you have to realize that if you want to develop an impactful network, you need to build those relationships and think long term.
[0:29:40.1] AD: I think a really important point to highlight here is it takes investment and the time, it takes putting in effort above and beyond but back to kind of the whole theme of all of this around confidence and knowing that you are confident in yourself and your ability to take control of your career, to drive your destiny, to have more agency in your life but also do just on a simple level, solve problems or maybe generate opportunities for your organization.
If you really look at the function network is helping with all of that, that’s a huge element of your future and of your success riding on that. So it is going to take an investment and it is worth making that investment and finding and creating and prioritizing that time to put into it but under all of that and this is the transactional element, it is not just about generating revenue opportunity today.
It’s not just about generating some kind of income for someone today for yourself or for someone else but so much in my experience end up working, so much of it is knowledge share. It’s insights, it’s knowing and back to this confidence, this problem solving, this how do you get something done, you lean into your network. I can’t tell you the number of times that, “Okay, well, I don’t know how to do this but I am sure there is three or four people I can call and just bounce a few ideas around.”
Through a couple of conversations, all of a sudden I’ve done six days’ worth of Google diving and I’m far smarter than I ever would have been just trying to go into Wikipedia rabbit hole by having a few conversations with people, right? That’s value added and that’s something you can’t do if you don’t have those relationships and so you have to invest that time into it.
[0:31:08.7] MOM: Yeah and I think that that perspective really just comes from maturity and time. There are so many people that are focused on that shorter timeframe, transactional timeframe, what can you give me now and it might get you somewhere at some point but I think realistically, it’s not going to get you very far or you are going to have to put in a lot more work every single time you need something than you would if you just played the long game.
[0:31:34.1] AD: At the time of this recording and it will be a few weeks passed by the time this comes out but next week I am going to a fairly large conference, the ACG Great Lakes Capital Connection. Some of our listeners, I am sure you’ll be aware of it but anyway, it is about a thousand person conference and I know this going in that there are a number of folks that I will interact with that will be very much the exchange the business card, “What do you do, can you help me? Yes or no? No, okay, see you.”
That happens, it’s a large conference. Part of it is you have to find the right folks and I get some element of that but I also understand that a lot of folks are there with the mentality of, “How can I find a direct business opportunity?” not realizing that it’s more about who are you bumping into, who are you making a random connection with that you can talk to and find something that you have common ground over.
A reason to follow up and a reason to start building a relationship or touching base with the relationship you already have. It is a different way of looking at it but you know, I talk to people that go and I myself go to a lot of these larger conferences and there is a big difference in how successful you are based on which of those mentalities you bring in and how much value you feel like you’re driving from it.
[0:32:43.9] MOM: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, looking in so I started my career in the lower middle market space, Palladium is solid core middle market space however, I kept on saying recently, it really wasn’t that recent anymore. We’re about a year in where we launched a new strategy going back to our roots in the lower middle market and I feel very lucky that my career and probably that could be started there because the lower middle market is very different than the core middle market and it is very much focused on those relationships and that long game.
So the deals that come to the lower middle market, a lot of them, the best ones are what we call off-market deal. Those opportunities come from lawyers, they come from the insurance brokers, private wealth managers and those relationships are built over months and years not days and those opportunities come out through conversations that are had over coffee after 30, 45 minutes not five minutes, just going through your deal pipeline.
So that’s really how value is generated for our LPs and so either that, like I said, I feel very lucky that my private equity career started in the space that really had a huge emphasis on the long game and relationships, long term relationships.
[0:34:04.1] AD: I think under all of this, you know, the theme today was really around building confidence and going through those and investing time and creating that accountability for yourself to do the things that are hard that ultimately help you create that compass, become better at what you are doing and ultimately add more value. You know Meahgan, I appreciate you coming on here. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts around this.
You know, maybe I’ll ask one kind of final parting question, if you could go back and tell someone who is just embarking on the beginning of their career, what would you tell them? What’s the one piece of advice you would give them today?
[0:34:37.0] MOM: Gosh, one, one is hard. Start building your network early and work on it often I guess would be the first one both within your firm and outside of your firm more importantly and then I am going to go with two. Sorry, I can’t choose just one. Success doesn’t happen overnight. You really do need to put in like it is so cliché but you really do need to put in your time and work hard.
Anything that is worth having doesn’t come easy, just remember that. One more, won’t be a victim and that’s it.
[0:35:12.5] AD: I love that. I am going to take your first and second one in many ways tied in together, when it comes to developing your network, developing your relationships. At the end of the day, it takes time. There is no shortcut, there is no quick way, start early, start now, put in the time and understand and it is going to take time to get there and I think that applies for every element of your life and the second the victimhood gets in the way, it’s going to prevent all of that.
So we’ll consider that one well-wrapped piece of advice there. So I really appreciate you coming on here and sharing your thoughts with us today. For our listeners, how can they get in touch with you?
[0:35:40.6] MOM: Feel free to reach out to me over email, [email protected] I am also pretty active on LinkedIn, so you can slide into my DMs and I think those are the two best ways.
[0:35:51.7] AD: Love it. Well, we’ll make sure those are both linked in the show notes below and if you are listening, make sure to reach out to Meahgan here. So awesome again, thank you for coming on here. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts and I’m sure we’ll talk again soon.
[0:36:01.8] MOM: Yeah, thanks. Thanks so much.
[0:36:02.9] AD: That was good, thank you. I appreciate that.
[END OF INTERVIEW]
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