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Wednesday, June 19, 2024
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Changing the Dynamic on Diversity in Alternative Investments | Sasha Jensen

Sasha Jensen

CEO & Founder

Sasha Jensen is the founder and CEO of Jensen Partners, a leading global executive search firm, and Jensen DiversityMetrics™, the enterprise software solution for workforce diversity, equity, and inclusion. As the woman at the helm of both organizations, Sasha is a leading expert on talent markets for capital raising and investment professionals across the alternative investment industry. Jensen Partners’ team of recruitment specialists and data scientists produce the industry’s most comprehensive human capital data and leverage that data to recruit candidates, track workforce trends and accelerate DEI progress industrywide.

Sasha founded Jensen Partners, the mission-driven, certified women-owned executive search firm in 2012 on the principle that data enables better hiring decisions and, thus, better client results. This commitment and focus on data has allowed Jensen Partners to rapidly grow its business as it redefines how its clients source talent and become more diverse, equitable, and inclusive.

Sasha’s data-driven approach took root while working as an investigative journalist in South Africa. In her role as Head of Investigations at the Sunday Independent and Sunday Star newspapers, she refined her quantitative approach, often using data to contextualize the scale of issues and provide her readers with a concrete measurement of where things stood and where they were heading.

After a decade in journalism, Sasha entered the world of recruiting, and was one of the only female members of a male-dominated industry at the time. Undeterred, Sasha identified an opportunity to focus on recruiting marketing and distribution professionals in the alternative asset management industry and set out to build her own firm.

Over the next decade, Sasha’s focus on recruiting marketing and distribution professionals put Jensen Partners at the forefront of a period of unprecedented growth across the alternative investment industry. When Jensen Partners was founded in 2012, the alternative asset industry managed $5.6 trillion in assets globally, and by 2022, the number had more than doubled to $13 trillion. (source) The industry’s growth was predicated on the hiring spree of marketing, fundraising, and distribution professionals Sasha had centered her business around. Jensen Partners quickly became a leader in recruitment for these types of distribution professionals and has continued to grow as the industry has matured and institutionalized.

However, the murder of George Floyd in May of 2020 and its ensuing societal reverberations forced the industry to think differently about talent and workforce composition. At that moment, Sasha saw an opportunity to apply her passion for data to realize new levels of transparency and accountability for workforce diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).

Jensen Partners immediately sprang into action. As calls for social justice ensued, Sasha set out to empirically demonstrate the underrepresentation of women and people of color across the industry. Based on the human capital data Jensen Partners had collected for years, it quickly became clear that, despite good intentions, the industry was simply not doing enough to make meaningful progress on workforce DEI.

Yet, calling out the problem was not enough. Sasha wanted to leverage Jensen Partners’ human capital data to enable firms to solve the problem. To achieve that goal, Sasha launched Jensen DiversityMetrics™ in the summer of 2021. Jensen DiversityMetrics™ is the first enterprise software platform that empowers firms to analyze hiring and retention practices, benchmark against competitors, identify biases in workplace cultures and develop always-on diverse talent pipelines.

In fact, Sasha and her team found that across the entire pool of distribution professionals, females accounted for just 39.6%. In comparison, ethnic and racial minorities accounted for only 22.5% of professionals employed in alternative asset management.

DiversityMetrics™ changed the way that Jensen and her team were able to look at the reality of the workforce. Instead of baseless claims, the software grounded searches in the numbers and created concrete goals backed by actionable solutions. On the heels of the success of the software platform, Jensen Partners announced an industry first: a diverse recruitment pledge that guaranteed that all future searches conducted by Jensen Partners would begin with a candidate pool comprised of at least 51% of candidates that come from underrepresented backgrounds.

For Sasha, all of this, from the early days of gathering human capital data to a now complex, multi-faceted enterprise software platform, was about leveraging data to improve workforces across the industry. Jensen Partners’ staff, led by Sasha and her 80% female leadership team, have made data-driven decision-making a reality across every facet of human capital for the first time.

This commitment to creating change and an accountability system opens the door for women trying to get a seat at the table like Sasha did when founding a firm in a sector dominated by men. What has become clear is that people want the type of data that Jensen and her team can provide. The alternative investment industry, while traditionally exempt from reporting diversity, equity and inclusion data, is now being asked to share workforce diversity statistics with investors who want to know that the firms they are investing in are representative of those whom they invest on behalf of.

Diversity, equity and inclusion are likely to stay at the forefront of CEOs, COOs, and CHROs as they attempt to build a more representative workplace along all identity lines and recruit and retain the best. Sasha’s work has opened the door for those in the industry she serves and those who hope to work in the industry she dominates. While her field will be ever-changing, the data she can provide will likely be the driver of that very change.

" Sasha’s work has opened the door for those in the industry she serves and those who hope to work in the industry she dominates "

Sasha Jensen

CEO & Founder

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