Emma Watford

Partner, BridgePoint


Emma has been a Non-Executive Director at Hobbycraft since 2011 in her capacity as a Partner at Bridgepoint. Emma has been a private equity investor for 15 years and is an experienced transaction leader and board director. She is also a member of the UK Takeover Panel and on the Advisory Council of Level 20, which promotes gender diversity in private equity, a topic which she has a strong personal interest in. Emma read Chemistry at St. Hilda’s College Oxford, graduating in 2000. 

1. Best piece of advice you’ve been given 

On building a career: Volunteer to do the hard projects or the ones others don’t want to do. People will notice and, next time there is a really interesting project or role, they will think of you.

On building a network: Most people love to pass on advice and lessons learned from their own careers . You will be surprised at how many people will accept your invitation to have a coffee if you ask in the right way.  

On investing: If you can’t articulate why something is a good investment on a single piece of paper, you shouldn’t make that investment.

2. Worst piece of advice you’ve been given 

Smile less.

3. What would you tell your younger self? 

Don’t assume that your interests and aspirations are as clear to everyone else as they are to you.  Make sure people know what success means to you – it doesn’t mean that the perfect opportunity will open up but it gives you the best chance of being in the frame if it does.

4. What excites you most about the future of your industry? 

The opportunity to make a meaningful difference through combining investing for growth with a desire to “do the right thing”. Our industry has a huge reach and therefore an ability to move the dial on important issues such as sustainability and diversity & inclusion.


5. Who or what is your biggest inspiration?

My younger colleagues are a source of inspiration. Private equity is full of peaks and troughs and when things are tough, I think of them and they give me resilience. We are making good progress but there are still very few women in leadership roles in private equity and I want them to see and believe that all types of people can succeed in our industry.

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