Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » *** UPDATED x1 - Kennedy responds *** Pritzker hit again on the lack of women in his companies
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*** UPDATED x1 - Kennedy responds *** Pritzker hit again on the lack of women in his companies

Friday, Feb 23, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* A Politico story about the lack of women at JB Pritzker’s companies from August of last year

Pritzker Group Private Capital’s web site lists nine individuals with the titles “managing partner”, “investment partner” or “venture partner.” All are male. The investment team lists 22 people in total. Just one, a paralegal, is female. And of 15 senior advisers listed, just one is a woman.

Pritzker Group Venture Capital’s web site lists eight individuals with the titles “founder,” “managing partner”, “partner” or “venture partner.” Again, all are male. There is one woman listed as vice president and another as senior associate.

Asked about the dearth of women in top jobs at Pritzker firms, a spokeswoman referenced an industry-wide problem.

A study of women in venture capital reported in Techcrunch indicates that women make up just 7 percent of partners in the top 100 firms. That’s a low percentage, but Pritzker’s record of having no female partners still manages to fall below it.

But Pritzker’s camp also points to how the venture capital group decides to invest its money. A recent Crain’s article notes that Pritzker Group Venture Capital led the country in investing in women-run ventures. “The firm, started by J.B. Pritzker and his brother, Tony, has backed companies such as Chicago-based Eved, GiveForward, Built In and Sittercity, as well as Jessica Alba’s Honest Co. in Santa Monica, Calif.” Crain’s reported in June.

* A Tribune story about the lack of women at JB Pritzker’s companies from today

In fact, Pritzker’s investment businesses have underperformed even according to the low diversity standards of the financial services industry, a Tribune review found. He has employed few women in senior positions at the Pritzker Group, a Chicago-based venture capital, private equity and asset management firm he co-founded with his brother.

Excluding the Pritzker brothers, of the 55 employees currently listed on the firm’s online employee rosters, just eight are women. And of the 26 employees with a senior title of vice president or above, three are women.

Pritzker said the lack of women in leadership positions is an industrywide problem for firms like his. […]

The Pritzker Group venture capital website lists 18 people among investment personnel, excluding the Pritzker brothers. Men account for 14, with four women. Among the men, eight hold titles of senior positions, and another two are listed as senior advisers. Among the women, just one holds a senior title, and none is a senior adviser.

In the asset management group, the site lists three employees: two men and a woman, and all hold senior titles.

In the private equity group, 24 team members are listed. Of the 20 men, 13 hold senior titles, while one woman holds a senior title.

Yep. It’s a problem. So far, none of the other campaigns have sent me anything about this piece, so we’ll see if anyone wants to blow this up some more.

Also, not mentioned is that the woman with a senior title at the asset management group is actually the group’s Chief Investment Officer, Terra Fuller, who has quite the resume.

* I’m sure this is merely a coincidence, but the union for a female dominated profession announced its endorsement of Pritzker today…

Today, the Illinois Nurses Association endorsed JB Pritzker for governor. At an announcement event in Chicago, JB discussed his plans to expand healthcare for working families, advocate for better working conditions for nurses, and protect collective bargaining rights for workers. The Illinois Nurses Association joins U.S. Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth, the Illinois AFL-CIO, the Illinois Federation of Teachers, and the Illinois Education Association in their endorsement of JB for governor.

“Today, I am so incredibly proud to accept the endorsement of the Illinois Nurses Association in this campaign for governor,” said JB Pritzker. “Bruce Rauner came to Springfield and launched attack after attack on hardworking families. He is so determined to take us backwards, he is partnering with Donald Trump and trying to dismantle our labor movement at the Supreme Court. We can’t let them win. We face some enormous challenges in this state and we have a fight ahead of us, but I know we’re ready. We’re going to stand with working families, we’re going to come together as Illinoisans, and we’re going to get our state back on track.”

“INA proudly endorses JB Pritzker for governor. Society can depend on him to support maintaining healthcare when he is elected governor,” said Lorraine Wade, Director of the Illinois Nurses Association.

“JB understands that the people of Illinois need safe healthcare and he understands that means having enough nurses to provide safe care,” said Doris Carroll, Vice President of the Illinois Nurses Association.

…Adding… The Pritzker campaign sent this earlier today and I forgot about it…

Today, the JB Pritzker campaign released a digital ad “Support,” highlighting JB’s work to lift up diverse Illinois entrepreneurs.

For decades, JB has made it a priority to mentor diverse entrepreneurs and invest in women-owned businesses, identifying and taking concrete steps to address the lack of diversity across the investment and technology industries. In 2012, JB founded 1871, a nonprofit small business incubator, recognized as leading the way to help women entrepreneurs. And JB was proud that Pritzker Group was recently recognized as being the top firm in the nation for investing in women-owned businesses.

“JB is proud of his record of promoting, mentoring, and investing in women in the technology and investment industries,” said Pritzker communications director Galia Slayen. “In fact, JB’s firm was recently recognized as the top firm in the country for investing in women-owned businesses and 1871 continues to lead the way in creating more diversity in tech. In the technology world, in his business, and in the many organizations he’s involved in throughout Illinois, JB’s record of creating spaces and opportunities for diverse entrepreneurs to thrive is clear.”

“When you’re getting a business off the ground, there are always people behind the scenes. Some people are mentors and some people are sponsors,” said Suzanne Muchin, Co-founder and Principal of Mind + Matter Studio. “Mentors offer their opinions and advice, but sponsors back you, bring you into the right rooms, and make sure you have a seat at the right table. JB is a sponsor of women. He’s been a champion of mine, and for women around the country, for years. He plays this role without being asked, without any agenda other than simply wanting good people to have opportunities to succeed.”

“He has influenced my life a lot and in significant ways, but I would say JB’s influenced far more than just myself,” said Neal Sales-Griffin, CEO, CodeNow. “You can go around and talk to any entrepreneur, any aspiring entrepreneur, and they’ll know his name and they’ll know how important his contributions have been to this community, and how important they will be in years to come. JB knows there’s work to do and he’s been a big part of supporting me and others in this business.”

“I’m the CEO of a tech company in which the Pritzker Group has not invested, yet JB and his team have been there for us for years,” said Amanda Lannert, CEO of Jellyvision. “Several of his partners have provided mentorship, without any chance of any potential return. I truly think they are trying to just be helpful, and to create more wins for our community. Suffice it to say I’m a fan.”

The video is here.

*** UPDATE *** Chris Kennedy campaign…

We have a governor who thinks drinking chocolate milk proves that he’s committed to diversity and we have a candidate for governor who has proven that he doesn’t have a record of standing with women in the workplace.

JB Pritzker’s false claim that he supports women has been delivered through more than $20 million in scripted TV ads. He points to women who have endorsed him as superficial evidence to back his claims that he supports women. But the reality is, JB Pritzker has done very little to promote and empower women in leadership roles at his company, according to today’s story in the Chicago Tribune.

This reality is in line with the weak response we’ve seen from Pritzker about the allegations of sexual harassment in Speaker Mike Madigan’s political operation. JB Pritzker will put the political establishment in Springfield first, no matter what.

His scripted talking points tell us he’ll fight, but when it comes time to fight for women, JB has proven that he’d rather step to the side. We don’t need more of the same failed politics in Springfield. We need radical change and Chris Kennedy is the only one who can bring that to Illinois. He continues to show voters that he’s the only candidate in this race with integrity and courage to lead our state.


  1. - Soapbox Derby - Friday, Feb 23, 18 @ 11:49 am:

    “JB” Just Boys work here.

  2. - Anonish - Friday, Feb 23, 18 @ 11:53 am:

    On the flip side the Pritzker Group was the best VC when it came to investing in women owned businesses based on data from 2009-2013.
    Should they have more women on staff and in leadership? Absolutely.
    Do they put their money into supporting women business owners? Absolutely.

  3. - Not It - Friday, Feb 23, 18 @ 12:11 pm:

    The Politico article says the industry average is an abysmal 7%.

    By my math all of the male to female ratios in the Trib article exceed 7% by a fair margin.

    Wouldn’t this indicate that JB’s firm is doing pretty well compared to the average ratio in top 100 firms?

  4. - wordslinger - Friday, Feb 23, 18 @ 12:11 pm:

    Nursing is the most noble profession. The earnest sincerity and decency of those who choose that life always moves and inspires me.

  5. - Henry Francis - Friday, Feb 23, 18 @ 12:11 pm:

    Well if we are comparin bidnisses,

    Although I do seem to recall a woman that Rauner hired to run one of his portfolio companies.

  6. - Amalia - Friday, Feb 23, 18 @ 12:16 pm:

    maybe some diversity spokesperson has a drink for this one.

  7. - Anonymous - Friday, Feb 23, 18 @ 12:20 pm:

    The 7% is for female managing partners, the Pritzker Group has 0 female managing partners.

  8. - allknowingmasterofracoondom - Friday, Feb 23, 18 @ 12:20 pm:

    Did anyone check on other diversity in his company? Is there racial diversity?

    You know, any “least offensive” executives in there that may help with his “African American thing”?

  9. - City Zen - Friday, Feb 23, 18 @ 12:24 pm:

    INA is one of the few unions where its leaders continue to work in the field. Although INA’s president and CFO are both male, their leadership is infinitely more diverse then IUOE Local 150.

  10. - SSL - Friday, Feb 23, 18 @ 12:25 pm:

    Plenty of talented female candidates out there, but you have to make it a priority to include them in the search process for open positions. Looks like JB hasn’t made it a priority.

  11. - Anonymous - Friday, Feb 23, 18 @ 12:25 pm:

    The are 0 African Americans in the Pritzker Group.

  12. - Not It - Friday, Feb 23, 18 @ 12:26 pm:

    The confusion comes in the phrasing. The 7% stat referenced by Politico only says “partners” and the tribune article only talks about “senior titles”.

  13. - TKMH - Friday, Feb 23, 18 @ 12:27 pm:

    Betsy Ziegler could not be reached for comment?

  14. - My thoughts - Friday, Feb 23, 18 @ 12:29 pm:

    Pritzker Group Venture Capital’s web site lists eight individuals with the titles “founder,” “managing partner”, “partner” or “venture partner”, none of which are female.

  15. - City Zen - Friday, Feb 23, 18 @ 12:43 pm:

    @My thoughts - Even big, bad Ken Griffin managed to hire a female Chief Risk Officer, probably the 3rd most important position at such a firm.

  16. - Anon324 - Friday, Feb 23, 18 @ 12:51 pm:

    Someone get Mitt Romney’s binders full of women to JB.

  17. - Anon312 - Friday, Feb 23, 18 @ 12:52 pm:

    JB stashes all his great female and minority hires offshore.

  18. - A Jack - Friday, Feb 23, 18 @ 1:04 pm:

    Ok, but at least he hasn’t threatened to bury any of them, unlike Bruce Rauner.

  19. - My thoughts - Friday, Feb 23, 18 @ 1:08 pm:

    @Anon312 - JB via Pritzker Group Venture Capital does own and operate various manufacturing plants in Mexico and China.

  20. - Rutro - Friday, Feb 23, 18 @ 1:46 pm:

    Maybe JB should drink a “cosmo” to show his hypocrisy/diversity!

  21. - lake county democrat - Friday, Feb 23, 18 @ 1:52 pm:

    Anon324 - Heh. JB’s ambivalence between Obama and Romney making more sense now!

  22. - Amalia - Friday, Feb 23, 18 @ 2:12 pm:

    JB getting nervous? my house received a piece with a cover that has a quote from the Tribune displayed in yellow, with the Tribune banner. 1) makes one think he’s endorsed 2) on the inside there are 3 columns for JB, Biss and Kennedy on several issues showing their differences. interesting.

  23. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Feb 23, 18 @ 3:21 pm:

    Wonder what the makeup of Pritzker’s senior campaign Crew… like his manager or others involved at that level…

  24. - Stark - Friday, Feb 23, 18 @ 3:55 pm:

    Vulture capital.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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