What led you to a career in the deal-making industry?
Transitioning from the Reagan White House and State Department, I served as Raytheon’s Director of European and Corporate Strategy, working on cross border, homeland security and C4ISR M&A deals. Moved to Wall Street, I realized my new “mission” was to help mid-market companies provision the warfighter – in my view, I was still supporting the military not in a Navy uniform, but by strengthening the defense industrial base.
How does diversity add value in the deal-making process?
Diversity of thought and representation generates “deal IQ and EQ,” because they stem from differing contextual experience, yet focused for a common purpose. The real goal is to encourage the best performance from each person, so being respected for individual views produces outlier transaction results.
The most memorable deal I worked on....
Most memorable deal is a current buyside mandate for a $3 billion international air/land/sea/space/weapons systems company, which after closing on an acquisition will change its strategic trajectory by accessing the U.S. $740 billion defense market. It has taken three years, 5,000+ acquisition target reviews and crisscrossing nearly every region in the States to achieve this success.
Tell us about your experience during Covid-19, any lessons?
Our defense, government and cyber security transactions continued as the National Production Act invoked in March 2020 buoyed investor interest. However, valuation multiples softened so some deals paused, while one of my cross-border deals in Paris closed at above price expectations. I re-learned what I always believed – to have inner strength, in order to balance purpose and priorities. One cannot let circumstances dictate what anchors you. As the Greek philosopher Heraclitus noted, “There is nothing permanent except change.”
Advice for achieving success in the industry....
The most important advice I could offer, especially for women, is “be an expert in your sector” whether defined by a functional or technical skill or deep industry knowledge. Exude professionalism, be crisp in your counsel, and confident in delivery.
Tess has 30 years of experience in aerospace and defense industry, government policy arena and financial services. Tess worked in the Reagan White House, U.S. Departments of State and Energy, and NATO Headquarters, complementing her combat operational experience as a Commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve.
Education: Kings College London, PhD in War Studies, Kennedy School of Government, Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy for M.A – Law & Diplomacy, and University of California, Los Angeles, B.A in International Relations.
Location: Capstone Partners, New York, New York.