This is not going to be another diversity, equity, and inclusion chat in the general sense of asking someone not to be a jerk in society. Nope. I have no more air in my lungs for that. I'm all about action these days.
I read an older article in Vanity Fair talking about the old boy's club of technology and it's the same in financial services. Be honest - it is. And we must be bullish in areas of change. It's a muscle I must flex every day in order to lead a large national presence today.
That being said, this article is about how to have a more equitable offering in your practice today so you reach more people. I'm much more in tune with tying equity to making money because at least this will help light a fire under some folk's ass a little better.
1. First, let's understand equality is not equity.
Equality: the state of being equal, especially in status, rights, and opportunities.
Equity: the quality of being fair and impartial.
You didn't come here for a vocab lesson. But I want to make sure we are all on the same page, equality means I want us to have the same rights while equity means I want us to have the same access to a platform to get them.
Equity is where we have a big area of friction in financial services and it directly affects the business we write...and especially is harmful to the business we are not writing.
2. Why equity matters in our book-of-business
Take a look at your business today. Look harder into who you are seeing. Where are you meeting? Who do you refer business to? Why are you doing your business this way?
I'm not here to make sure someone's not a jerk in public. We have laws that should take of that (and we all know they don't do a good job of that) but rather, I'm saying if you understand that equity is:
-not represented in the clients you meet with (how many of your clients are differently-abled, millennials, people of color)
-not where you are meeting these clients (affluent only versus everyone else)
-not your center of influence referral partners (are they all white, middle-aged, etc.)
...and you still haven't changed your business model? Then guess what? You're actually hurting the system of financial services and that - I have a real problem with!
3. How do I change my practice?
You can join Females and Finance (or any other diverse community resource) and start having conversations on how to permeate communities you've never been a part of in the past.
This fresh new connection will invigorate you and your staff, provide you with new ideas on how to be a better ally to these communities, and it will affect your bottom line.
In other words, when there's so much upside to this for revenue, why WOULDN'T you do this?
PERSON OF ACTION: It's time, friends. Create a stimulus in your practice to reach into areas where you've been reluctant to make contact before. Work with another colleague of similar skills where you complement one another and make a deeper imprint with your services. Honor our community of financial services so we have less forgotten about individuals.