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Member Spotlight: Holly Nielsen, Baring Vostok Capital Partners

Posted By IRC, Monday, August 14, 2017
Updated: Monday, July 17, 2017

Life is a journey; and careers can be too. Coming of age in the 1970s meant a fascination with the Soviet Union. President Nixon’s visit to Moscow made quite an impression. In college during the years of U.S.-Soviet détente, I chose to study Russian as my foreign language. After KU Law School, I joined a law firm in Houston with energy clients. When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, and then the Soviet Union dissolved at the end of 1991, I worked with our energy clients on early commercial projects in Russia, and then excitedly moved to Moscow to open a branch office for the law firm in 1992.

For twenty years, I had a front-row seat at one of the most interesting historical events of my lifetime – Russia’s transition from a communist system and planned economy to a democratic system and commercial market economy. I worked in the Moscow offices of three U.S. law firms, and spent three years in the late '90s working with the Harvard Institute for International Development as an adviser to Russian government officials developing the securities market and securities regulation. Eleven years ago, I joined a client private equity firm as general counsel. Our investors are institutions in North America, Europe, and the Middle East, and the portfolio companies in which we invest are businesses operating in the former Soviet countries primarily in the areas of financial services, consumer goods, telecom and media, and minerals and mining.

My daughters began their education in Russian public preschools and primary schools, and I wanted them to transition to U.S. high schools and English language education for their secondary years. In 2010, we repatriated to Kansas City, but with a wonderful work arrangement: I continue to work as a lawyer for the international private equity firm, but from my home office in Kansas City, and with travel to Europe every couple of months.

The world is interconnected and virtual today; with the advantage of technology and early mornings, I happily work from the middle of the U.S. with my colleagues in Moscow, London, and Channel Islands and our investors around the world. I’m glad to have found the IRC community in Kansas City to share my love of foreign policy and all things international. 


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