Chris McGowan is the general partner of CJM Ventures (CJMV), a Chicago growth equity and private equity investment firm. McGowan’s private equity career began 26 years ago with AEA Investors in New York City, after earning an undergraduate degree in theoretical mathematics from Columbia University’s College of Arts and Sciences, and following two years of mergers and acquisitions training at Morgan Stanley. After completing an MBA at Harvard Business School, he joined Madison Dearborn Partners (MDP), where he co-headed their basic industries practice for the last five years of his 12-year career there. At MDP, he oversaw more than $2 billion of equity investments focused on buyouts and growth equity globally in the industrial, consumer, and energy and power sectors. In 2011, with the help of MDP leadership and mentors, McGowan formed CJMV, an investment firm focused on buyouts and growth equity investments in companies located near Chicago and London. McGowan is an active angel investor and currently serves as chairman of the limited partner advisory committee for Hyde Park Venture Partners Fund I (and a member of Fund II and Fund III’s boards), on the board of directors and portfolio advisory board of Hyde Park Angels, and as chairman of the advisory board for Valley Growth Ventures.
Sterling Partners Investment Thesis Challenge (SPITC)
Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship
Founder, Jackson Private Capital
Duane Jackson is the founder of Jackson Private Capital, a merchant bank that provides objective advice and long-term, flexible capital to founder- and family-led businesses below $20M in EBITDA. Duane previously worked at BDT Capital Partners, a merchant bank focused on larger founder- and family-led businesses. At BDT, he had broad responsibilities including sourcing and executing transactions, leading research initiatives across the firm, and assisting in the development of the firm’s approach to ESG. Duane also served as a Toigo Private Equity Fellow at Vista Equity Partners, a private equity firm focused on software and technology businesses. He came to appreciate the role families have in building businesses over the long-term by working alongside several notable families, supporting their direct investments ranging from pre-revenue angel stage companies to small but mature, lower middle market companies. Duane first learned to creatively address complex problems as a member of the Chief Investment Office for TARP at the US Treasury Department during the global financial crisis and as an investment banker to financial institutions at Merrill Lynch. Duane earned an MBA from Harvard Business School where he was an MLT Fellow and earned a BBA from the George Washington University. He serves as an investor-in-residence at Chicago Booth and serves as a trustee at Lake Forest Academy.