Champions of diversity recognize that every single effort counts and contributes toward progress in the achievement of parity. As we celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD) and strive to reach a ‘Balance for Better’, this year’s IWD theme, numerous published reports and surveys correlating positive company performance to gender-diverse organizations are encouraging and compel us to push this cause forward. It follows that 90 percent of financial services companies say they are committed to gender diversity according to a McKinsey & Company report focused on this topic.
For as long as anyone can recall the composition of talent in Wealth Management constituted a community of wealth managers who ‘looked’ just like their investor clients. And perhaps, for that reason, there were very few who challenged that status quo. But we are, thankfully, in a very different time now. And many of us are committed to driving change through education, support and mentorship with the aspiration of building a strong talent pipeline and bringing career opportunities to women.
This is the mission of Envestnet Institute on Campus’ Women in Wealth Management, an initiative that has grown from 20 college women who have completed the program in 2015 to 638 today. The dedicated women at the forefront of this initiative are, themselves, a true representation of diversity—from their cultural backgrounds and ethnicities to their career paths and professional roles. We share a common cause while welcoming the unique ideas, interests and perspectives that drive the results this team has achieved in our work to nurture tomorrow’s women leaders. Partnered with me are these incredible women whose voices and passion projects can be ‘heard’ here:
I’m excited by the opportunities for the next generation. It’s a competitive talent market and we need to understand where consumers are coming from and create teams that more accurately reflect the clients they serve. Through targeted recruitment, internal tasks forces, and advocating on behalf of our employees, we can pay it forward in the industry.
Junior Ambassadorship is mentoring times two! It’s a training ground for our mentors via the sharing of knowledge and wisdom with senior industry executives who then share with their mentees. It encourages ‘pay it forward’ volunteerism and is gratifying in both the give and take of the dialogue we all have with each other. In the words of Margaret Mead, ‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.’ The WIWM Board and our Junior Ambassadors are that small group!
Throughout my 30+ years in the workforce, and specifically, in wealth management, I have endeavored to surround myself with the best people. To me, this means being around diverse mindsets from people who offer a different view. This is how we learn. This is how we grow. And this is how we succeed. Life, business, the world become far more interesting when we invite others in.
To the women—and men—who champion change every day, happy International Women’s Day!