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Not Afraid of Taking Risks

Joelle Kayden 72Founder and CEO, Accolade Partners

Joelle Kayden ’72, is the founder and CEO of Accolade Partners, a venture capital and growth equity fund of funds with industry-leading performance. In 1982, Joelle moved to Alex Brown after one year at Goldman Sachs. Alex Brown was a small firm that at the time lacked name recognition but was quietly building a franchise in investment banking for growth companies. Once there, Joelle quickly became one of four women partners after serving as CFO for the firm’s venture capital fund and then helping to build its capital markets business.

In late 1999, Joelle started her own venture capital/growth equity fund of funds. Joelle’s first fund, Accolade I, launched just 10 days before the Nasdaq peaked around 5,000 in 2000. The bubble burst shortly thereafter, which led to several exceptionally stressful years. Joelle fired half of her fund’s managers, regrouped, refocused the fund’s strategy and has since gone on to launch four more exceptionally successful funds with institutional backing from leading endowments and foundations.

Her time at Brearley helped to shape her drive and taught her that you never give up. The rigorous education, which has always included a focus on strong analytical skills and writing, prepared her for all that was to come. 

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