Interview with Kayo

[Republished from Kayo]

Jessie Gabriel is the founder of All Places, a business and legal strategy firm that supports women asset managers and entrepreneurs. Jessie is a champion for women, and a prominent voice on the role of capital ownership and control in achieving gender equity. Raised by a single working mother in Southern California, Jessie’s success came with a deep appreciation of how gender norms and unequal access to capital contribute to a systemic lack of opportunities for women-identifying entrepreneurs and executives. Her personal vision and passionate advocacy are fueled by the desire to create true change — All Places is the culmination of her expertise and ethos, a space for women to formulate businesses of all kinds, receive trusted legal and strategic guidance, and ultimately cultivate long-term financial success.

We recently sat down with Jessie to learn more about her career journey and how she developed All Places.

Can you share about your role and background in private equity?

I’m an attorney by training, so my first connection to private equity came when I took a case defending a family office that had been involved in a deal gone wrong. The industry was a good fit for me–I had been a math geek since childhood and had aspirations of becoming an economist before I decided to go to law school. But my passion for the space didn’t really take off until I met a woman who was launching a private equity fund (shout out to Maggie Arvedlund!). Eventually that led to my own realization that what I wanted to do with my legal skills was use them to support women like Maggie, who were changing this industry that is so critically important to the broader equality conversation.

What sparked you to take a leap and start All Places? 

Like so many women in law and finance, as I continued to rise up the ranks in my corporate organization it became increasingly clear to me that I did not belong there. Dead in the middle of that struggle I hosted a dinner for women who ran their own funds. That night a number of the women around the table told me the best way I could support them (and myself) was to start my own firm. These same women helped me understand how traditional law firms were failing them and continued (in sometimes gentle, and sometimes less gentle, ways) to persuade me that I really was an entrepreneur just like them.

What has been your greatest challenge as an entrepreneur? 

Aside from the limited hours in the day, for me it’s self-doubt. Women regularly receive the message that we need to stay in our own lane, be patient, and not get too big for our britches. This was certainly true when I was working at a large firm. I assume this reaction comes from feeling threatened, but regardless, it sucks. Each time I tried to press forward it was as if there were a rope tied around my waist. You have the illusion of potential, but when it’s time for it to be realized, you’re yanked back. As an entrepreneur, you necessarily have to do things you’ve never done before. That’s when the self-doubt kicks in and you start replaying all the limiting things people have told you over the years. Fortunately I am surrounded by women (and my husband) who are constantly telling me to cut it out.

What maxim guides you?

There is no gender equality without capital equality. We are never going to be treated as equal human beings until we have the same financial power as men. It would be lovely if that were not the case, if money were not so determinative of how human beings are treated, but that is our current reality. I want women to make more money, manage more money, and have access to more money. We are taught that just talking about money, or wanting money, is unfeminine. No way. Money is power and women need a whole lot more of it.

What’s the best compliment a client has given you?

Honestly, each time a client hires All Places it is the hugest compliment. These are insanely accomplished and credentialed women running successful funds. They could hire any firm. The fact that they want to bring their business to us, a woman-owned, unabashedly feminine, startup firm with a strange name rocks me every time.

What’s one piece of advice you have for other women?

Engage in more delusions of grandeur. We don’t need to make ourselves smaller or less sparkly or quieter. We can believe that we are the best at what we do, because chances are pretty good it’s not a delusion at all–it’s a fact.