Like so many of you, I was deeply saddened by the news of the passing of Suzanne Biegel. Suzanne was a long-time advisor to the Working Capital Fund on gender lens investing and was a member of our Limited Partner Advisory Committee for a number of years. But Suzanne was so much more – an inspiration, a trailblazer, and a true force of nature.
I met Suzanne over a decade ago while we were both waiting in the lobby of a New York investment bank. True to her outgoing nature she struck up a conversation with me and right away her creativity, generosity, and commitment to making a positive difference in the world were clear. Over the years I watched in admiration as Suzanne tirelessly advanced the cause of gender lens investing through her role as “catalyst at large”. A pioneer in the field, her single-minded dedication helped not only put the issue of gender lens investing on the map but also helped it begin to mainstream into the way that investors allocate capital. Her advocacy and evangelism were never for personal gain but always for advancing the cause and she was generous with her time and her connections. She was optimistic and ambitious and never one to accept obstacles or conventional wisdom.
There was a power and an elegant simplicity to her work advancing gender-smart investing. She identified a glaring problem that had largely been ignored and dedicated her life to addressing it. She taught our team the technicalities of how to incorporate gender into our investment decision-making in a holistic, nuanced, and complex manner. And she pushed us and challenged us about the gender implications of each investment we made. But it is not the technicalities that we will remember her for but rather the spirit, generosity, and inspiration she provided.
While it is always sad and tragic to lose someone like Suzanne at an early age, she accomplished so much in her lifetime. She made her mark and the world is a better place as a result of the tireless work and dedication of Suzanne.