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Wils Theagene – Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec

Diversity as a vector of growth.

In this episode Kenndal McArdle, Principal, Pender Ventures chats with Wils Theagene, Senior Director Private Equity CDPQ – Equity 25^3 Fund. Kenndal and Wils talk about diversity within venture capital and the private asset class, discuss how EQ25^3 is leveraging diversity as a vector of development and expansion, the social issues surrounding diversity and the challenges that underrepresented entrepreneurs face when seeking funding or access to resources. Kenndal and Wils also discuss ESG in depth and how CDPQ has become a leader in this domain, and Wils offers his advice and opinions on how companies can do a better job when it comes to diversifying and empowering their EDI committees to make meaningful impacts.

Key Takeaways:

01:30 Wils provides an in-depth explanation as to what EQ25^3 is.

05:20 Kenndal asks Wils about why now the time was and CDPQ was the place to launch a diversity fund.

10:00 Wils provides some biographical background, discusses his early entrepreneurial journey, and reveals the two big things he’s deeply passionate about.

13:49 Wils shares his insights on underrepresented founders, performance and why inclusion and diversity have taken longer to permeate.

20:00 The conversation shifts to discussing DEI/EDI roadmaps that support companies in achieving their diversity goals, and what it looks like in terms of the stage of a company.

24:40 Wils talks about how “diversity attracts diversity” and how the needle is moving in the right direction.

27:30 Kenndal asks Wils what he looks for in an entrepreneur on the other side of the table, and what advice he would give GP’s about being more flexible and open to diverse-led companies.

30:26 Is there a responsibility for people who promote diversity to also help bridge connections and provide education?

32:36 Kenndal asks Wils how he thinks about the ESG asset class and in particular standardizing benchmarks.

Mentioned in This Episode:

Kenndal McArdle.

Wils Theagene.

George Floyd.

Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec.



BIPOC Project.


World Economics Forum.

Korn Ferry Institute.


Amazon Inc.


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