About 8 months ago, we wrote a post addressing the many gaps that exist in the financial services industry when it comes to the diversity, equity, and inclusion of both internal teams and the families receiving their advice.
Time to check in.
I knew that when we communicated our current opinions and future aspirations, there would be another moment, down the road, when it would be wise for us to answer the question “what progress has been made?” Otherwise, we might negate some of what was said in that post (i.e. the idea that financial firms may be working towards closing certain gaps, but it seems like they are afraid of showing their work).
We will continue to show our work.
What we haven’t done:
I’ll be honest, the journey has been harder than I expected. Not because implementing our plans is so difficult, but because there are tens of hundreds of other business decisions, directions, and improvements that all seem to be swimming in the same pool. In this, I think I find our greatest threat to positive change: noise. Being a fresh business owner has acutely surfaced what will probably be one of my biggest lessons in life:
I will naturally prioritize the urgent over the important.
It is a life-long journey learning how to be wise with our attention.
Practically, we have yet to begin a hiring process. Something I am hoping will become a reality soon. We have yet to join the financial education efforts at local schools. There are many exciting things ahead of us as a business.
What we have done:
In the months that followed that last post, we were featured in two articles, invited onto a podcast, and spoke briefly on the main stage at LPL’s annual conference. I don’t share that to brag. I share it because of what it did to me. It is one thing to be behind a computer screen typing your thoughts, opinions, and plans. It is another thing entirely for people to see you, hear your voice, and be able to express their opinions about what you are saying. We learned so much from each of the experiences. It better informed me of the path ahead.
We continue to support ALPFA and AAAA financially, something I doubt we will ever stop doing as they raise up the next generation of BIPOC (black, indigenous, and other people of color) professionals. We found out that our monthly giving to ALPFA was able to go directly to student scholarships at our local Denver chapter.
What others are doing:
I am 32 years old, and although young, I feel as though I have learned more about our world in the past year than I did in the previous 10. I have learned that there are some that treat the momentum of recent social justice initiatives as another over-reaching fad, which allows the conviction and energy to slowly fizzle and the same real world problems to continue or worsen. I have learned that there are others who have been waiting for this momentum for a long time, and are doing their own hard work to keep the ball rolling. I have to say that it is absolutely incredible to watch the creativity of other professionals in their space. What motivation! Here are a couple examples:
Our Advisor Diversity & Inclusion team at LPL recently launched Around the Table, a video series interviewing black financial advisors at LPL on their experiences in the financial services industry.
Back in July, Tyrone Ross Jr. and Kornhaber Brown launched a GoFundMe campaign for a financial education video series and companion classroom curriculum called “LearnToMoney.” The project launch was fully funded and has begun here:
All this to say, our way forward as a financial services business feels different than it did one year ago. I value consistency over perfection, so we will continue checking in on the progress of our direction and plans. I am always looking to continue this conversation, so if you have made it this far, and believe your input may help our firm, let us know by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be sure to respond.