Actis' Inclusion and Diversity working group
Actis’ Inclusion & Diversity working group includes representation across geographies, functions, nationalities and practice areas, with support from an Actis senior advisor with expertise in organisational change. The working group is responsible for creating and nurturing an inclusive culture within the firm and also focuses on Actis' portfolio companies. It is supported by the Executive Committee and driven at Partner level with Lucy Heintz as Chair.
Initiatives include the Actis Female Network, which is open to all colleagues, and has included hosting breakfasts and dinners to share experiences, as well as countless other private interactions that take place bilaterally day to day. The network also features internal and external speakers. Topics of discussion range from female leadership, working fathers, tackling discrimination and ‘storytelling’ from senior women. The firm also set up an open-door initiative whereby every female partner and director has pledged to an ‘open door policy’ to provide female peer support – this has included hosting breakfasts and dinners to share experiences. Unconscious bias training is being rolled out across the firm, and has been delivered to a C-suite of portfolio companies within the Energy business. The firm is broadening recruitment channels and creating a platform for minority role models, to showcase women and diverse leaders from Actis and it's portfolio companies, enabling these individuals to be more visible as role models and to celebrate their successes.
In 2019, Actis launched a pilot mentoring programme for African portfolio companies – mentees are all women or from minority backgrounds. More broadly, Actis is reviewing diligence and investment decision making processes to incorporate a stronger gender lens throughout.
Actis considers itself to be on a journey with regard to fostering diversity and inclusion, and whilst important strides have been made, there is a clear recognition that there is more work to be done.