Jennifer de LeonNext profile
Vice President of Operations
Santa Monica, CAMy Bio
Sometimes the thing you think you want turns out not to be what you wanted after all. Even though Jennifer de Leon’s initial goal was to be an auditor at a Big Four accounting firm, after four years, she decided her passion was leading her elsewhere. That shift put her on a new journey—one filled with a myriad of rewarding experiences that have stretched Jennifer’s mind and helped her connect with her true interests in private equity and M&A.
Her post-audit journey started at a multinational public company where Jennifer worked abroad to integrate acquired businesses in China and set up a shared service center in the Philippines. From there, she was a Senior Manager in Deloitte’s Mergers & Acquisition (M&A) Transaction Services group, performing due diligence on target investments of large publicly traded companies and tech-focused private equity firms. Next came a stint as a Global Controller for a mobile app tech startup that was carved out of a Swedish privately-held company and sold to a Canadian publicly traded toy maker. Through those years of exploration and travel, Jennifer came to the realization that she really enjoyed M&A diligence and post-acquisition integration, which led her to her current role in private equity at OpenGate Capital.
Private equity firms like OpenGate Capital raise funds from investors to buy businesses that are seeking revitalization and valuation creation. Post-acquisition, these firms collaborate with the company’s management team to drive revenue growth, operational improvements, and turnaround initiatives. Jennifer’s attention to detail makes her a great fit for the M&A diligence phase, which involves doing a deep dive into companies’ operating and financial metrics, determining the risks associated with purchasing businesses, and identifying opportunities to negotiate a lower purchase price. She also enjoys the post-acquisition phase of working with talented portfolio company CFOs and CEOs while driving financial and operational transformation projects.
Jennifer believes going the extra mile to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) has given her a valuable skillset that’s applicable in many aspects of business. It’s allowed her to shape her career to include the things that matter most to her: variety, challenge and international travel. While Jennifer has worked hard to reach the level of vice president, she’s worked equally as hard to pursue her passion for international volunteering. Some of her favorites so far have included working with a microfinance organization in Kenya, administering polio vaccines to children in India, building a school in Guatemala using eco-bricks (plastic bottles filled with inorganic trash), and collecting scientific coral reef data during a scuba expedition in Oman and the Persian Gulf.
Being the first person in her Filipino family to be born in the United States meant Jennifer’s parents instilled her with a strong sense of discipline and drive to pursue her dreams. As a result, Jennifer has forged a career as a CPA for herself that her family is proud of and that she genuinely loves. To some, that may sound like an overstatement, but with a social media handle like @accountasaurus, Jennifer can attest that it’s not.