What is your current role and industry?
I am a Managing Director, member of the Management Committee and the Investment Committee and General Counsel of J.C. Flowers & Co. LLC, a private equity firm focused on investments in the financial services sector. I am involved in many aspects of the business both on the investment and operations sides of the firm, including structuring of investments and dispositions, portfolio company oversight, and fundraising.
How did you get into this field?
I joined J.C. Flowers shortly after it was founded. I have a finance and legal background, with work experience at a Japanese corporation in Japan, an energy company, venture capital in Silicon Valley and mergers and acquisitions, bank regulatory and fund formation legal work in New York. I was attracted to private equity as an area where I could combine strong analytical and problem-solving skills and draw on my diverse experiences. I was particularly interested in the intersection of public policy and business that is at the heart of financial services and believe in the important role the industry plays in society as an engine of the economy.
What are the biggest challenges and opportunities that professionals in your industry face today?
There is a lot of complexity to the business. You have to keep many stakeholders in mind and be vigilant about the various issues that arise. Deciding where to allocate capital as a fiduciary is a great opportunity and also a challenge. Making the profession more diverse and inclusive is another opportunity, but requires commitment by members of the private equity industry, both as part of the recruiting and hiring process, as well as professional development and retention.
Where do you see the industry going in the future?
The private equity industry is constantly evolving. The blind pool partnership model will continue, with secondary funds as well as permanent capital vehicles providing limited partners with increased liquidity options. ESG principles, which were always integral to the education at Yale SOM, will continue to grow in importance in the industry. I believe the trend of increasing diversity and inclusiveness will also impact the shape of the industry in the future.
What advice do you have for someone new to the industry?
Develop an area of expertise, adhere to processes, never be afraid to ask questions and invest in building and maintaining your network of relationships.
About Sally Rocker ‘81:
Ms. Rocker is a Managing Director, member of the firm’s Management Committee and General Counsel of J.C. Flowers & Co. LLC, a private equity firm. Ms. Rocker has been named by the Wall Street Journal as one of the fourteen most influential women in private equity. Prior to joining the firm, Ms. Rocker had a career in the business sector following her Yale SOM degree, working in finance at an energy company, and in law as a practicing lawyer in Palo Alto, California and New York, New York, principally in the areas of venture capital, mergers and acquisitions, fund formation and banking regulation. Ms. Rocker has served on the boards of ten portfolio companies while at J.C. Flowers, including four banks, and currently serves on the board of a US company in the stop loss insurance sector. Ms. Rocker has also served on and led a number of nonprofit and educational boards, and is currently the Co-Chair of the Yale School of Management Center for International Finance Advisory Board and a member of the Corporation of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. She also mentors young students and other professionals. Ms. Rocker received her BA from Brown University, MBA from Yale SOM and JD from Stanford University. Ms. Rocker is admitted to the Bar in California and New York and also holds FINRA Securities Licenses 24, 63 and 79. Ms. Rocker’s extracurricular interests include photography, architecture, working towards teacher certification in Pilates, and forever trying to get past the beginner stage of speaking Italian.