Kelly Ann Winget’s Influence on the Private Equity Landscape with Alternative Wealth Partners

by Brooke Young
Kelly Ann Winget

"You can't please everyone. Prioritize your well-being to avoid burnout."

Kelly Ann Winget is an accomplished alternative investments expert and the founder of Alternative Wealth Partners (AWP), the first private equity firm founded and led by a millennial, openly LGBTQ+ woman.

Kelly Ann has raised close to $1 billion in capital for startups, energy companies, manufacturing ventures, real estate, and other key emerging markets, including initiatives in Opportunity Zone Funds (OZF). She excels in managing diversified funds, combining smart tax strategies with community empowerment.

A nationally recognized trailblazer, Kelly Ann has been featured in The New York Times, Newsweek, Business Insider, Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, and Yahoo! Finance, among other media outlets. She is also the author of Pitch the Bitch: Grab Your Financial Future by the Bags (May 2023) and a sought-after keynote speaker and panelist who has shared her expertise at events such as Women, Alts Expo, Women’s Venture Summit, and Wealthy Women Summits.

Kelly partners with the WOMO Foundation (Women & Money) on its mission to build a more inclusive and prosperous tomorrow in which diverse capital fuels diverse solutions. She is also a partner and speaker with Diversity Crew.Kelly Ann is a passionate advocate for empowering others and creating positive change through various philanthropic and commercial ventures.

Alongside her thought leadership in investment equity and inclusion, she also spearheads fundraising efforts for charities that support children and families, such as Wipe Out Kids’ Cancer, and causes aiding survivors of domestic violence. When not working, Kelly Ann enjoys traveling with her wife, spending time with family, and cuddling with her three big dogs.

Name: Kelly Ann Winget
Company: Alternative Wealth Partners

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Table of Contents

Tell our readers a bit about yourself and your company.

Kelly Ann Winget: I am the founder & of the Dallas-based private equity company, Alternative Wealth Partners (AWP), managing investments across more than 25 portfolio companies in three private equity funds.

I am the only LGBTQ+ female millennial to run a private equity fund focused on alternatives—assets outside of stocks, bonds, or cash, such as real estate, commodities, and private equity.

My goal is to empower both investors, companies, and local communities to thrive together. I am also an author and the host of The Wealth Alpha podcast, which educates individuals on wealth-building techniques and investors on what’s coming next.

If you were in an elevator with Warren Buffett, how would you describe your company, your services or products? What makes your company different from others? What is your company’s biggest strength?

Kelly Ann Winget: I don’t know if I would use the time I had in an elevator with Warren Buffett to pitch myself, but if I was able to share something with him it would be this; I am the first solo-female-founded private equity firm that focused on a diversified portfolio of privately-held small to medium-sized businesses.

I apply a similar investment philosophy as you, however, in the private markets. I see deeply rooted value in the companies I invest in, focusing on fostering strong relationships with the people behind these businesses. My lived experience and strategy attract opportunities that you and your colleagues, competitors, etc. will never be able to access. I leverage my space to creatively structure and challenge industry standards, which I believe achieves the ALPHA we all chase as investors.

I would tell him that I appreciate his presence in the world and that I hope when the dust settles that all his hard work truly changes the world for the better. What is the point of making all the money if it doesn’t go back into the universe in a positive way? I think he has done a good job staying impact-focused. He set a high standard for transparency and patience that I hope I can maintain in my business for decades to come.

Quiet quitting, The Great Resignation, is an ongoing trend causing many businesses to struggle to keep talent engaged and motivated. Most are leaving because of their boss or their company culture. 82% of people feel unheard, undervalued, and misunderstood in the workplace. In your experience, what keeps employees happy? And how are you adapting to the current shift we see?

Kelly Ann Winget: There is a huge disconnect between the leadership that exists today and the future of these businesses. Workplaces that have management in place that dig their heels in further when challenged are experiencing this high turnover and lack of employee buy-in (loyalty). Employees are not machines, they are people.

In my opinion, humanity has been missing from corporate culture for over a decade, which is what ultimately drove me into entrepreneurship when I was a teenager. I intentionally create a space within my organization to meet people where they are. I mentor my team and encourage personal and professional growth, I let them operate their role like their own business.

They find pride and responsibility in that, which leaves them deeply committed to our shared goal of success, even if our version of success looks different.

Personally, I detest micromanaging, so I don’t have people on my team who need that type of oversight. I understand that not everyone functions like me, and many people need structure and routine.

Taking time to understand your team’s needs is the most important thing you can do to create a positive corporate environment. You should be open/required to make accommodations for different-abled people – that same process and consideration should be offered to everyone in a scalable way.

What advice do you wish you had received when you started your business journey and what do you intend on improving in the next quarter?

Kelly Ann Winget: You cannot make everyone happy. Trying to be all things to all people is overwhelming and exhausting, and will ultimately lead to burnout.

It took time and mistakes to figure out what the most valuable part of my business was, which is creating access. I intend to focus the business on clearly defining that solution, investing in a more targeted approach, and leaning more toward the communities that I want to partner with through these investments.

Christopher Hitchens, an American journalist, is quoted as saying that “everyone has a book in them” Have you written a book? If so, please share with us details about it. If you haven’t, what book would you like to write and how would you like it to benefit the readers?

Kelly Ann Winget: I have written a book titled “Pitch the Bitch: Grab Your Financial Future by the Bags,” which recounts my journey in wealth management through male-dominated spaces while helping readers identify what stones to step on and which to throw on their own wealth journey. Pitch the Bitch pulls back the curtain on why so many women and other gender minorities haven’t had the same opportunities to invest and generate wealth as their male and otherwise privileged counterparts.

The title is based on a derogatory expression, “Don’t pitch the bitch”, popularized by the movie Boiler Room (2000), advising stockbrokers to avoid women as clients, under the sexist assumption that they were not in charge of household finances.

I wrote the book for people looking for deeper answers about money, and anyone wanting to invest in their financial future, in the hope that it sparks conversations and encourages curiosity about money and finance, as this type of education is lacking among many Americans.

Plus, the book underlines my overall mission to empower diverse women, marginalized communities, and their allies to understand why investment wealth gaps exist and how to close them. In it, I share personal stories, plus those of clients, friends, and family, and highlight the experiences of some of the most well-known names in the investment world. I hope my advice will resonate with – and motivate – all readers to “grab their financial future by the bags!”

Business is all about overcoming obstacles and creating opportunities for growth. What do you see as THE real challenge right now?

Kelly Ann Winget: I think the real obstacle that is standing in most businesses’ way is access to patient capital. There is a ton of dry powder sitting around that is being used to fund the same handful of people, who all make the same types of investments. The next generation of entrepreneurs needs funding and support from people who are going to envision the next 20-30 years of their businesses.

Without getting political, there needs to be a passing of batons in every aspect of our society, most especially in business. I am an emerging manager, so there are 15+ years of upside that investors can benefit from by taking risks early.

Historically the first 2-3 funds of an emerging manager are their best performing funds. Pushing decision-makers out of their comfort zone to fund and invest in progress that results in higher returns is my biggest challenge, but it will provide massive opportunities for growth within my business and that of all my portfolio companies.

2020-2023 threw a lot of curve balls into businesses on a global scale. Based on the experience gleaned in the past years, how can businesses thrive in 2024? What lessons have you learned and what advice would you share?

Kelly Ann Winget: I started my business in 2020 – the middle of 2020 – intentionally. There was a huge need for specialized alternative investment strategies, tailored to “Main Street,” which was amplified because of COVID. The uncertainty that everyone was feeling sparked the need for active management of individuals’ wealth.

People care more about the things they do, the people they associate with, and the spaces they occupy because we all realize that life is short. People care if their products come from companies that pay attention. People care if they are ‘heard’ by the people who provide them services.

I think it is important for businesses to understand their community and always be aware of who they are serving and why. Alternative Wealth Partners is purpose-driven. We aren’t just in this to make money, there is a deeply-rooted “Why” behind our strategy and our service to clients.

On a lighter note, if you had the ability to pick any business superpower, what would it be and how would you put it into practice?

Kelly Ann Winget: The ability to create more time or more money would be the ultimate power. These are the two most valuable things in our world, to have an infinite amount of either could be world-changing, especially if the right person had that power.

I would use either one to fuel the success of my portfolio companies and I would see the businesses I couldn’t work with because of those constraints to the finish line. There are so many brilliant solutions being created by people who will never be able to raise the money or find the network, unfortunately. I hope to be part of the voices trying to change that.

What does “success” in 2024 mean to you? It could be on a personal or business level, please share your vision.

Kelly Ann Winget: I am scaling my business, launching Fund II ($150m), and raising capital. Success in 2024 means that I will raise a significant amount of Fund II capital which will allow us to invest in an amazing pipeline I’ve built over the last five years.

Shifting our focus to more long-term strategies in purpose-driven assets. I’d like to see us continue our trend of having a majority of women/diverse LPs (Investors) and hosting more educational events around closing the wealth gap.

Brooke Young, VIP Contributor to WellnessVoice and the host of this interview would like to thank Kelly Ann Winget for taking the time to do this interview and share her knowledge and experience with our readers.

If you would like to get in touch with Kelly Ann Winget or her company, you can do it through her – Linkedin Page

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