POWER SISTERS PART III: SARAH SCHWARZSCHILD & ANNE DUGGAN
Sarah Schwarzschild, Co-Head of Metropolitan Real Estate and Partner at The Carlyle Group based in New York, believes in championing women. That includes her younger sister, Anne Duggan, Senior Principal at Partners Capital, a $30B global outsourced investment office for institutional and high net worth clients, based in Boston. As investors, parents, wives, aunts, and business leaders, this loving and intrepid duo are a force of nature that has rarely been seen before in the world of finance. Where did they come from and how has sisterhood played a role in their success? We sat down with them to find out more.
ON POWERHOUSE PARENTS
Anne: Our parents were both corporate lawyers with significant jobs. My mom started in law in the 1970s when there were not a lot of women in law firms. She was one of a few women in the industry, but our dad was very supportive. Having both of those pieces – two parents with significant jobs and a dad who supported our mom’s career – was unique.
Sarah: Our parents raised us to believe that girls can do absolutely anything. I don’t think there is any difference between the way that my parents raised Anne and me versus our brother. My dad always said, and I quoted him at the Kayo Conference, “Don’t let the turkeys get you down,” which I think can be roughly translated into “Don’t listen to the haters.” My mom would always say “You miss 100% of the shots that you don’t take, so you have to take every opportunity.” With those as part of the family mantra, it never really occurred to either of us that we wouldn’t go out there and try to do these things
ON KNOWING WHAT MATTERS
Anne: Sarah and I benefit by having our mom as a role model – we can look at our own mother and say, “yes, it is possible!” And our mom felt it was important to be that role model to us and others. She would bring Sarah and me to her office, Ropes & Gray, for “brown bag lunches” with more junior lawyers. Women in the firm would come and ask us questions about what it was like to have a mom who worked, because it wasn’t as common back then. And we said it was fantastic! And that we were so proud.
It made a difference – all these years later at the Kayo Private Equity Summit, I talked to two women who are currently lawyers at Ropes & Gray who remember going to those lunches. We try to reflect the same in our own lives through mentorship and sponsorship of each other and other professionals. We are both active with mentorship internally at our own firms and through outside organizations.
Sarah: My mom was really great at figuring out what was important. She was always there for what mattered to us. I remember one year in high school my lacrosse team was in the State Championships. My mom was working on a deal out of town, but she flew back for the game… and it was rained out! Three times. She flew back and forth three times during a deal to see my game. I never forget that.
When I became a mom, I asked her how she knew what was important and was wasn’t since she couldn’t go to everything. She said, “I just asked you what really mattered to you. And so, I was there for the things that were important to you.” It sounds very simple, but it shows how much she trusted us and how strong the relationship was between our mom and us as children. That relationship is as strong or stronger today.
ON SARAH’S CAREER: HEY, WE SHOULD START A BUSINESS
Anne: Sarah had an idea for a new business. At the age of 33, she pitched it to a group of Carlyle executives. That takes a lot of guts.
Sarah: I did it with a great partner who has been a critical part of our growth path. I was also pregnant, which is another amazing wrinkle in the story.
We were invited to discuss our idea with top executives at Carlyle. And so on a Saturday, we made a pitchbook in my living room, bound it at Kinkos, and pitched to Carlyle that they should start a real estate secondaries business and hire us to be the plug-and-play team. A month later, we were working there. That was a little over six years ago.
It has been an incredible journey. From the beginning there was a lot of support from Anne, from my family, and from my husband, all of whom said, “Go for it!”
ON ANNE’S CAREER: MAKE THE PATH YOU WANT
Anne: I was recently been promoted to Senior Principal at Partners Capital.
Sarah: I am so proud of Anne! She has held various positions in her career. She started in banking, moved into investing, and after business school was in strategy consulting. For her current job, she is in a position that draws on all of those different roles, and she can really leverage the depth of her past experience to the benefit of her firm and her clients.
Anne: I don’t believe that your career has to be linear. Make the path that you want. Go out and find it or make it. Don’t be passive in your own life. I made decisions that were right at the time, and it led me down this path. Sarah is right that it came together nicely with the role that I have now.
Sarah: The communication between us is constant; texting, calling, FaceTime, WhatsApp. It would be more efficient if we could just use osmosis. We see each other frequently because Boston and New York are not far apart. If we’re in the other’s city, we try to get together for a quick sister power lunch or an evening visit.
Anne: The constant communication is key. We talk about everything and help each other through different areas of our lives, including being women in finance and working mothers, and lighter topics such as the fashion at the most recent awards show. In addition, we are both family-oriented so we do trips with our whole family including our children, parents, and brother.
ON HOW THEY ARE DIFFERENT
Sarah: I am super organized. Perhaps hyper-organized is the best description. This is a trait that comes from our grandma and has gone to my aunt and my cousin and myself.
Anne: It’s hard to compete with Sarah on organization. The contest isn’t fair.
Sarah: Anne is really funny and finds joy in making others smile. She is constantly finding memes and silly things on Instagram and sending them to me to make my day better. Anne’s humor comes out a lot with our family and with our kids. It just lightens everything.
ON BEING AUNTS
Sarah: Being an aunt to Anne’s son is a natural extension for me. We see each other all the time with our kids, and our families know each other really well. There is a lot of parenting sharing going on – tips, notes, ideas, even the most trivial things like.…
Sarah: True. We just had an exchange about where to buy mittens for the season because our kids always lose them so often we have to buy several pairs.
Anne: Sarah just sent out photos of her kids, which she does regularly, and one of them was of her daughter Kate pretending to be a CEO. Kate had fake glasses that looked like Sarah’s and her toy computer, right next to Sarah’s.
Sarah: And her cell phone and her coffee. Don’t worry, it’s decaffeinated. Kate is a dynamo. She has two generations of strong women to look up to and her paternal grandmother is a great role model as well!
Future CEO: Sarah’s Daughter, Kate, age 5, Sarah and her daughter.
ON HAVING A ROCK
Sarah: Having a rock like Anne in my life allows me to take risk. There is always that comfort that there is somebody who is going to be there who can help me, comfort me, support me, drive me. It is that amazing stability in our relationship that I can always fall back on.
Anne: I brag about Sarah. “My sister was on Bloomberg.” She is just such an amazing woman. She often pushes me to do more. She encourages me. She is like a mentor in some ways because she helps me figure out what I should do, but she is also like an indirect sponsor because she guides me in what to do and coaches me, “You should do this. Go have that conversation.”
Sarah: Our relationship has been incredibly strong since the beginning. It has evolved in that it has gotten deeper and there are more ways that we connect. I can’t even imagine a life scenario without Anne in it. At all.
Co-Authored by Meg Miller and Lindsay Burton