Your Questions Answered: Pursuing a Career in Financial Planning as a Person of Color

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As the host of 2050 TrailBlazers and the founder of YGC Planning, I receive a lot of emails, DMs, and in-person requests for coaching and mentorship. I love networking with other advisors, and lifting up financial planners who are also part of a minority group or community. However, I’ve noticed that over the years I receive a lot of similar questions. 

That’s where the inspiration for this mailbag-style episode came from! I’ve invited Lazetta Rainey-Braxton, CFP®, who is also passionate about mentoring her fellow advisors, to share our career stories, and provide some insight into growing in the financial planning profession as both a woman and a person of color.


We’re covering a lot of questions in this episode, including:

How can you serve clients in a model that’s profitable and meets them where they are?

How can you grow in the financial planning profession as a person of color?

What designations should you pursue?

Where can I network with other people of color, or diverse groups within the financial planning profession?

How can I grow my career as a financial planner who specializes in working with diverse communities?

Lazetta and I are also going over how to expand your network and connect with other people of color to grow in your career as a financial planner.


Show Notes:

Episode Transcript


Rianka: 00:01 Lazetta, welcome back to 2050 TrailBlazers.

Lazetta: 00:04 Thank you. Rianka what are we talking about today?

Rianka: 00:08 Oh my goodness. Lazetta thank you so much for coming back on 2050 TrailBlazers. You know, we were talking earlier this week, just about, I guess, I guess it's a, it's a blessing, but it's also kind of like, ah, where we get a lot of, emails a lot of LinkedIn notices, a lot of DMs on, you know, various social media platforms about what it's like to be a financial planner, you know, being a career changer, being a person of color in his profession. And I thought, you know, instead of us just having this conversation amongst ourself, you know, let's just hop on 2050 TrailBlazers because this is the go-to platform for diversity, equity and inclusion within the financial planning profession. And let's just lay it all out. So now this can be a resource for those who are entering the profession and the profession, really meeting people where they are.

Lazetta: 01:04 Absolutely brilliant idea. Rianka, and I appreciate us sharing this together because we fit all of those profiles. A woman of color, CFP professional, who have poured into this profession. And this is a great opportunity to give back and help people move forward in a profession that we both dearly love.

Rianka: 01:30 Yes, we both dearly love.

Lazetta: 01:32 So when you said, you know, meeting people where they are, it's just that too. We, we hear that passion about wanting to, to serve, particularly our communities, helping them build financial capacity and really also just being able to enjoy life. So the question is for career changers. You know, how, how do I make this switch successfully that it honors this person's strengths and their career and what they've been exposed to and be able to translate that to a new profession that can be a very daunting idea. And then for those who are students whose first career they're hoping will be as a financial planner, that can be daunting as well too. So hopefully what we share today will help give clarity about how to move forward and things to really think about as you prepare for the transition and a successful career as a financial planner.

Rianka: 02:36 Yeah. So let's start there, Lazetta, you know, what immediately came to mind for me, especially for career changers and this is what I tell them, is you have to be able to fund your transition. And what I mean by that is though you may be an expert in your field, in your current career, you are transitioning into a whole new field, personal finance. And more than likely you're going to start at entry level. And with entry level comes entry level compensation. And so while your, while you may be used to a lifestyle that is at your current salary, you have to think, okay, am I going to be able to transition to an entry level position and how is that going to affect me, how's that going to affect my household and my family? And so you have to kind of think about that.

Lazetta: 03:33 The best way I can say this is, and it's true, the profession values experience. And I think for career changers they may say, wow, like you said, I have this expertise, I have this experience. But yes, typically it doesn't translate to the profession, apples to apples. So the entry level position is you're absolutely right. That should be your expectation. And oftentimes it could be, it could be at least 20, $30,000 difference if not more. So those are real figures to keep in mind. Rianka: 04:17 Something else that comes to mind too is you think of entry level and you just I don't know, I'm trying to think like, okay, what, how would I feel about that? But let me tell you as a paraplanner or as an associate financial planner, now the titles are different and different depending on what firm or organization you go to. But it is going to be the best foundation for you as a financial planner because when you're sitting across the table or sitting next to this client, and while you may be able to share with them all of your technical knowledge that you've learned and be able to apply it to their life, when it comes time for helping them through paperwork and you don't know how to do that, which seems so rudimentary, they may start to lack confidence and you being able to help them.

Rianka: 05:03 It's like, well, this is just simple paperwork. So you learn so much at the entry level, you learn just, you know, not only paperwork which, is becoming, not totally obsolete because you no longer have like the, the physical paperwork. A lot of things are being done electronically now, but also, learning from senior advisors, being able to know how to read body language, also knowing how to pick out, different things that seem important to that not seen, but are important to the client. And so that you're able to weave that into not only their financial plan, but your relationship with that client. So entry-level, you know, you have to be very humble, and, and just know that it is definitely worth it to come in because you want to be a sponge when you are the lead advisor. And you're the Alpha and Omega when it comes to that client relationship that's a lot of responsibility.

Lazetta: 06:05 So I think what I'm hearing you say is appreciate the training and the apprenticeship, because that is a significant foundation for success and being, you know, trained by those who you want to emulate as you move through your career. And also, make sure if you're a new entrant that you're asking lots of questions because you may not find the right fit the first time you take a leap in getting experience. So be open to one, knowing that you're going to take a salary cut more than likely. Two we're saying, make sure that you're planning for that transition funding the transition. Meaning you may have to alter your lifestyle so that you're not stressed out about money as you're starting out this new career because we know that, stress will prohibit you from being as successful as you can because you want to be able to focus on what you're learning. Learn as much as you can and also be sensitive to if you don't find, land in at the right place the first time. Learn as much as you can as you evolve to figure out where you want to be as you learn more about this profession.

Rianka: 07:18 I love what you just said Lazaetta and it makes me think of a next point I want to make sure we cover is you mentioned you may not land in the right place the first time. And I want to kind of highlight that because not all firms and not all organizations are the same. And so please do not let your first experience within the personal finance world leave a sour taste in your mouth that you leave and you exit because we need you. There are a lot of people who need, people who are very passionate about personal finance. And so I think we can touch on career changes here and entry level. You know, for those students who are trying to find their way in this profession and like what, what avenue is right for me. And I think about the different four avenues that you can take.

Rianka: 08:13 The RIA route, which is the registered investment advisory firm, the broker dealer route, the bank route or hybrid. So for an RIA route, you'll start to hear fee only fee based. I grew up personally in the RIA fee only world. That's how I was trained. I was trained at a very comprehensive financial planning firm. You have to be careful when you hear comprehensive financial planning and wealth management firms because those who may be wealth management may not be comprehensive. And what I mean by that is sometimes there are firms that solely focus on investments. And while investments are an important piece of the puzzle for clients, if you think about the full scope of clients and what you learn as a certified financial planner, investments is only one sixth of the pie chart. If we want to think visually here. And so, investments you have an education planning, you have tax planning, estate, estate planning, employee benefits, et Cetera. And so when you, if you do want to take the RIA route, I hope you find a comprehensive financial planning firm that will train you in learning how to read tax documents, estate planning documents, and translate that so easy for the clients that it doesn't feel like rocket science, but it feels like something that is in a way that they can understand. Lazetta, what was your experience growing up in the financial planning world?

Lazetta: 09:49 I initially, and I'll just kind of hop in when I went into financial services, went the investment management route to the bank investment management around to a wealth management firm and then started my own practice. That was a comprehensive financial planning firm. And so my previous firms, did not have a robust financial planning model even though they addressed many of the areas of financial planning. So I actually had to be a self taught, comprehensive planner with a focus on being fee only because my previous firms, were fee based, as well. So the training as you emphasized it is ideal if you can from the outstart really work with a firm that does comprehensive financial planning because that's where the profession is going because that's what the clients are demanding. Now when you had mentioned, the other alternatives in terms of giving exposure with the wire houses and the hybrids is being sensitive to where they are on the spectrum of delivering financial planning.

Lazetta: 11:07 As an industry it's still now kinda mostly shift with the assets under management. You still see product sales as well too. And with the combination of those two, you have people who are calling themselves financial advisors but may not have a clue at all about financial planning. So as you are figuring out what opportunities are available, you're going to see more opportunities on the wire house side because there are larger organizations and they need to really build the pipeline like yesterday. So if those opportunities are more prevalent than an RIA, which is not hiring at the same rate, you know, that you may have to go route and it may even work best for you for that route. Just make sure that you're aware of where the industry is going. See how that firm is addressing financial planning, how they're integrating, financial planning in a training program and how are they measuring your success, as a new entrant to the field as well too. And with that, it could be pressure, just to get the AUM in the door, which is important and hold yourself accountable for making sure you get that financial planning skillset because that's going to be the transferable skill anywhere.

Rianka: 12:29 Right. And so, something I share a lot with people who reach out to me, because they are in their mid twenties and they're saying just like what you said Lazetta as far as like I have to, what they're, what they are being measured on is how much AUM they can bring in the door, how much products that they can sell, et cetera. And as a 25 year old, that's a lot of pressure. As a 25 year old, your job should be to learn and not sell. And that's just my personal opinion. Also if you come from a social economic background or network that is not wealthy or have access to a lot of wealthy family members or friends or network, you may not be successful or this person may not be successful. In that type of model, which is not fair. Me personally, I do come from a low socioeconomic background.

Rianka: 13:26 I'm a first college graduate in my family. And so if I was put in that environment though I am a very ambitious, driven person, I, I may not have succeeded. However, I was put in a position where the first three years of my role was to learn and support the senior advisors. I've never had to sell anything. So fee only. That's what we mean by fee only. Meaning you do not sell any products, insurance you don't sell investments or receive a commission,, whereas if it's fee based that that means there could be some sort of hybrid where you may sell insurance or you may get some commission from your investments. So again, the first three years of my career was just to learn from the senior advisers and to support them and to work with multiple different advisors at once. And so then I can start to form my own craft.

Rianka: 14:26 My job was not business development, my job was not bringing new clients in the door. Again, it was to be a sponge and learn. And so if that's not your world right now, but that's where you want it to be, just know that there are opportunities out there. But like Lazetta said, in the RIA space. We are small firms, but we are growing. A large firm could be 15 people that is much different from the hybrid or the bank and the broker dealer world. So I just want you to be aware of that as well.

Lazetta: 14:57 And what is so important, what you said for Rianka is what is your objective, right? So there are some people who are very successful because they, they appreciate you know, insurance and they may appreciate how annuities may fit in an overall retirement plan. What we're saying is those are very specialized areas that is not comprehensive. And so if you want a comprehensive approach to how you serve your clients, then being able to see models that allow you to look at the full spectrum and be measured on the full spectrum of delivery that is beyond just products and looks beyond just investments. That also includes these other areas of financial planning, like estate planning and tax planning. Even in some cases, small business planning as well too. It's important to know how you're wired, what's important and what, how you want to serve the clients that you feel like you're aligned to.

Lazetta: 16:03 The other piece of this is that we often hear that there is not any wealth in the black community. So Rianka when you said about coming from modest backgrounds, so did I. And we also know that we're serving clients in a model that we've developed that is profitable, that does meet clients where they are and that is helping them turn the income into wealth, which we know the industry wants just a wealth and not dealing with the income. So there are innovative firms such as the two firms that Rianka and I, are running that really meets our clients where they are and being on the front of the innovation curve about where, our communities, and this also includes what they consider emerging wealth, younger generations and even older generations and with that confidence we're serving those who already have wealth as well too because we are not waiting for some, some other firm to develop them before we're ready to serve them.

Rianka: 17:08 Yes. Lazetta can I get two snaps where we are on the front of the innovation curve, honey? Yes, yes,

Rianka: 17:16 yes we are. And it's so it's a very fulfilling, moment to be able to say that and to say that confidently and to say that we're running two businesses where we've proved, the point where you can, work with wealth accumulators, not necessarily just strictly high net worth clients and run a successful, profitable business. But I think that's another episode Lazetta. So I'm pinning that. So let's come back to that. So let's talk about what is a

Rianka: 17:50 CFP. This is another question I get. Here recently I got a question. You know, I'm new to the profession, I'm a career changer and I have another, a student who's reaching out to be what should be my first designation. Should I do CFP, CFA, et cetera. And so I want to talk, I want us to talk about the importance of a CFP. I'll, I'll share the four e's, which makes up a CFP. The first one is education. And through education you can get that either in your undergraduate or graduate, program. If you are a career changer and you're thinking about coming into the profession, there are certificate programs that are at universities as well and online. So education is first. The second is experience. So in order to hold the CFP designation, you have to have three years of working experience, doing comprehensive financial planning.

Rianka: 18:58 The third is exam, which is an exam you have to pass. It is a rigorous tough exam. When back in my day when I took it, it was a two day, 10 hour exam and it was on paper. Now it's a one day, six hour exam, but it doesn't make the exam less rigorous or hard and know that if you failed this exam you are amongst the greats of, failures of the first time because I did fail the CFP exam. But it was the most humbling and, and, and best experience ever because it showed me that the effort I put in before, through exams, throughout college that it was, it was going to take a different level of effort to pass this exam. Because when you are working with a family, when you are working with the individual. When it comes to the personal finances, that is a responsibility and that is a privilege. And the fourth and most important he is ethics. And when you become a CFP you are, you have to adhere to a certain level of ethics because you are the person, the trusted advisor that the client is looking towards.

Lazetta: 20:12 Now with the CFP, let's just be clear too, so they know as a certified financial planner and this designation is held by the CFP board and we encourage you to, if you're interested in moving in this direction, which is one of the most respected and known credentials that you sign up and get a part of their distribution lists so that you have a better understanding of what's expected in terms of those four Es and that you are able to map out a course to be successful with the CFP. Now for most a new entrants to the field, you may, particularly career changers may be required to get a series license like 65 to be able to provide financial planning. That would be probably one of your initial steps as you're also contemplating the CFP. Now there are other designations as well that Rianka mentioned. It's an alphabet soup out there that can be very overwhelming at time. But we, we really want you to know kind of what are the, the avenues and path that that will give you the most options and flexibility in your career.

Rianka: 21:30 You brought up a very good point Lazetta, as far as just going to the CFP board website, signing up, they have various communities so that you can be, be successful. You can, go there to find support groups, mentors, you know, just resources for you so that you, this ambiguity that you may have about different avenues, resources, it can become very clear. So you have to do some research on your end, specifically before you start reaching out to people and, and asking for help or can you be my mentor or what is it like to be a career changer? Lazetta, and I would like to transition to that. Is there anything else you want to talk about? A CFP, certified financial planner, what it means and all of that. Lazetta: 22:19 I think the segue is, is important as we were talking about, that's a resource, right? The website, the study groups are resource. As you're doing your due diligence about getting the information you need to be successful as a financial planner and you said it mentoring, that's another resource. And Rianka I know you are the expert at mentoring, having established, you know, programs and working on a program now. So I'm gonna put it back to you to talk about mentoring.

Rianka: 22:52 Yes. Oh my goodness. So mentoring, being a mentor is a huge responsibility. And, and I know it's a responsibility that we both do not take lightly. We invest in the person, not only our time, but resources and making sure this person is successful. Right? Because I know that was poured into us and as we continue to grow our practices, our firms, hiring, our time has become a little bit more limited. So what I, and if there's anyone who you see that's very visible, that may be their same situation as well. So while I want you to definitely reach out to people, I have a few tips. Can I share a few tips, Lazetta?

Lazetta: 23:39 I'm taking notes too.

Rianka: 23:45 So when you reach out to someone to either, you know, pick their brain or can you be my mentor, the very first step is you have to be very intentional about your requests. Why this particular person. And also I want you to be very thoughtful and do your homework. Do your due diligence, you know, research articles that they have written. Listen to podcasts they may have been on because if you reach out to someone like Lazetta or myself and you ask, hey, so what has been your experience being a financial planner or what has been your experience being a financial planner of color? We have talked about this before and so while yes, we want to be able to help you with that, that is a resource that's already there. So I just want you to just kind of be thoughtful about what you're asking and to see if there's already resources out there that specifically we have given or the person that you are reaching out to has shared. Also when you're reaching out to them

Rianka: 24:52 in addition to being very intentional about your requests, show them that you have done your due diligence. So I'm envisioning an email or LinkedIn message saying Hi Lazetta, I just want to say thank you for what you're doing for the profession. I have read article x, y, and z and this is what I learned from it. I've also listened to your podcast where you mentioned a, b, and c. And while I think these are very great advice for my career, this is specifically what I am looking for and I haven't found a resource for that. So I'm wondering can I take one hour of your time to ask you questions one, two, and three. I understand that time is your currency and you may not have time. So if you can send this back and an email, it would be greatly appreciated. That's what I'm envisioning Lazetta, would you, would you respond back to that?

Lazetta: 25:53 Yes. And let me also say, what we did in terms of mentoring is being in environments where you can get to know other people. So if you can't reach us as an example cause you see how we're giving back to the profession in different ways. See where we're giving back. So one of the places where we've invested is the Association of African American Financial Advisors, Quad A, right? So if that's something that we've said has been important to our development in our community, then check that out, see why, we are investing or financial planning association, FPA or NAPFA. So the importance is really, being wise with who you're asking, how frequent you are asking, and expanding your network. So you're not overwhelming one or two people in this quest to be successful because there are lots of people who are available if you do the work and show up at these places as well.

Rianka: 27:03 Yes. So what I heard you say is expanding your network. You mentioned a couple of organizations, which I'll make sure I'll put in the show notes, Quad A or the Association of African American Financial Advisors, FPA or the Financial Planning Association, NAPFA, the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors and also internal resource groups. So if you are at these large organizations or large firms or broker dealers, connect with the internal resource groups that you may have. Also there's something you mentioned Lazetta. You know, I'm very passionate about mentoring and mentorships though I may not be able to be your mentor. I am going to make sure that the mentor you are with is properly set up. So what I mean by that is right now, I am working on a mentorship program, along with the mentorship committee within Quad A and this is something that we're going to announce. And so if you are listening, you are getting the front row advanced knowledge of what we're doing.

Rianka: 28:04 But I'm so Quad A is, launching, it's, it's public right now, but you know, it's going to be a nationally announced at the Quad A conference in September. And I'll make sure I'll put a the, the show notes when and where it is and how to register. But mentoring is, is really important. And, if you are seeking a mentor and if you're not going through a mentorship program, here's a little bit more advice I can give you when you reach out to the person, be very intentional about your ask again why this person. So let them know why specifically you are, you are reaching out to them. Also be specific with the timeframe. So while one conversation may or may not be enough, be specific, Lazetta I'm reaching out to you. I'm wondering if I can take 30 minutes of your time once a month over the next six months because this is what I'm working on and trying to grow in my career. So right there you've already told me or you've already told Lazetta that what you're asking from her as far as setting expectations is that you're asking for 30 minutes of her time once a month for the next six months. That kind of Lazetta does that give you kind of like a, okay, I know for the next six months I'm dedicating 30 minutes a month to this person. Does that give you some type of ease of saying yes more than no?

Lazetta: 29:21 Yes it does. And there's also, if a mentee asks for this time, and the answer is no, know, that the no is thought out, as well too. So we're giving you language about how to ask and also know that always say time is currency. Yes. And a person who is a giver and we are givers also have to realize that we cannot give to everyone as much as our hearts, you know, so desires. So just keep in mind if you receive some nos, just know that there are other people who can give you yes based on where they are in the seasons of their lives as well too. So don't give up hope. Keep aligning yourself. Keep exposing yourselves to opportunities with these other organizations. Reaching out to a multitude of people, and, and see which one really aligns for the best fit at the time that you need the help that you desire.

Lazetta: 30:28 So yes, I do, would love to have these intentional, opportunities for mentees who say, this is why I want to speak to you. I've done my homework and this is a specific case and sure if I'm able to, I will say yes. If not, I'm also going to depend on those who I have mentored as well too to be available to pass it forward. And one thing about a mentee as you are gleaning from people who've already been in the profession, know that they can learn from you too, and then also prepare yourself for what it looks like to be the mentor to someone else as well too.

Rianka: 31:08 Yes. Ah, was that, that was perfectly stated. Also, if you do get a yes. And you're the mentee, the responsibility really is on you to set the agenda. So make sure, again, with the expectation of time, you book or, plan when the next meeting will be. And also have an agenda set in advance and if you need to reschedule, please give, just courtesy of more than 24 hour notice because if you are on that person's calendar, they are saying no to other things to make sure that they speak with you. So just, just keep that in mind. I think. I think we've covered mentorship extensively.

Lazetta: 31:49 Yes. And I also have to say Rianka I commend you for having a formal program because it can be daunting to just figure out what you need to do as a mentee by yourself and with this program, it formalizes it, it gives instruction and guidance and sets expectations. So it feels great to both parties. So I commend you for the work that you're doing.

Rianka: 32:12 Thank you, Lazetta. I am super hype about it. I'm super hype because we're not only giving resources to mentees but also mentors as well. It can be daunting also to be a mentors it's like, ah, you know, am I, do I know what I'm supposed to be doing and so, I'm just really excited for this to get launched. So this is another way that I'm giving back to the community, but also so that was what, how I have mentor my mentees. It can now be duplicated and it just feels awesome.

Lazetta: 32:44 Yes.

Rianka: 32:45 So something else I want us to chat about is specifically about, people of color who is coming into this profession, Lazetta. Now if you look at our pictures, you can see that we are women of color and we are proud of it. One of the questions that I get all the time, and Lazetta, I'm not sure if this is true for you, is while I received the same questions from everybody, what is it like to be a financial planner? What does it like to be a woman? What is it like to et Cetera, et Cetera, et cetera. If it's a person of color, they always ask me, in addition to that, what is it like to be a person of color in this profession and am I at a disadvantage? And Lazetta what do you have to say? Lazetta: 33:29 No, not at a disadvantage at all because we have, I believe, the strongest skill set we have had to learn how to, adjust and be competent, not only in our technical skillset but our emotional skillset EQ and cultural competency as well. And these are some success factors that just by default as being a person of color, we have a competitive competitive advantage and is not always celebrated. But it is a true fact. And the other part of this is that we're typically often the only person of color, in a particular, you know, team office, even large or sometimes as the only one in the firm as well too. And, and, and you can sometimes forget the fact that you bring so much value because it's an adjustment, for those that you are working with and now are responsible for expanding their skillset, particularly with the cultural competency as well as we're dealing with these changing demographics. So I know I said a lot and to bring it all together is that yes, know your value, as a person of color just by your own experiences, which makes you have a transferable skill set that brings extreme value to an organization to affirm. So hold on to that. And this is also why having a good support and network system helps you to not forget this important and very salient point, you bring value.

Rianka: 35:16 There's a, there's a point I definitely want to make, but Lazetta I feel like you're on a good, good forward trend. So this is a kind of a hard question to ask, but for those who may have experienced some discrimination or passive aggressiveness or just aggressiveness period and in their firm or organization, what is kind of your advice for them?

Lazetta: 35:42 You know, we said earlier in the, in our time together about having funds, if you intentionally want to get into the profession, you also need funds. If you need to pivot while you're in the profession. Because sometimes it doesn't always, you know, work out not only because it's just not generally a good fit because you want to do something else or serve people differently. It just may be because the culture is not ready for you as well too. So to keep in mind, we are still by numbers, the minority in numbers and that we do bring value. And as you are discerning, doing your due diligence about the firms where you want to share your value with. If they say diversity and inclusion and belonging and equity is important to them, hold them to that. Figure out who, is really carrying out that mission within your firm and align yourself with them.

Lazetta: 36:50 Also realize if you are one of few or the only one, you may be the only one leading that charge with no authority, to lead that charge. And so you have to be true to yourself in a way that feels right to you about how you want to be a culture add. And you've said this so often. Rianka so this is a term I've learned to you about being that that culture add when, the culture may not be ready to move as quickly as, as you are. And so that may be when you get the notion that it's, it's time for you to go and for them to figure it out on their own. And that you've made a great deposit and giving them exposure, that burden of awareness of what could be, what should be, but that's not no longer your burden to carry.

Rianka: 37:42 Yes. And I had a great episode with, Andrew and, Katie in a previous season that I'm a link here. So to what Lazetta just said as far as like needing to pivot and, being a culture add. We have more resources on that. So I'm going to link it make sure you look into show notes, show notes can be found at 2050trailblazers.com. Look for this particular episode and you can find show notes there. Something else that I wanted to talk about, which is something that I've experienced while working and, and meeting the students at, the various conferences is, but particularly I want to say, I want to speak to the HBCU students. HBCU for those who do not know the historically black colleges and universities. And right now while we have over 200 registered, you know, programs and, for CFP Board registered programs, there's about less than five, I think Lazetta, that are registered at HBCUs.

Lazetta: 38:50 Yes. We're, we're working with and I say we, so the Association of African American Financial Advisors has a foundation, Quad A Foundation, is an independent entity that works closely with Quad Q and we do have, five HBCUs that we're working closely with, to help them have a strong program to support the next generation of African American financial advisors. So it's wonderful that we're able to make this commitment, and resources and hopefully in the years to come. We'll expand that to people of color, at even PWS, you know, predominantly white institutions as well.

Rianka: 39:37 So I went to a PWI. PWI for those who do not know is predominantly white institutions. Okay. So I went to a PWI before I went to college. I went to a very diverse high school. There was Asians, black, Hispanic, white, and we all got along. It was a beautiful mosaic of what America is transitioning into. So that was my experience in high school. And then I went to college and I love my Alma Mater. You can never talk bad about Virginia Tech cause I'm a Hokey.

Lazetta: 40:13 Wa-hoo-wa. Excuse me. UVA. Had to put in the plug too, but keep going. Let me not interrupt. Rianka: 40:21 Yes, yes. You wa-hoo. Okay. Here we go. You know the rivals are coming out. All right, Lazetta. Let me go ahead. I love you. We're not, we're not going to talk about our football season. Right.

Lazetta: 40:37 What about the basketball champions? Let me just say, okay. Yes.

Rianka: 40:43 Okay, so back, back to our program. All right, so

Rianka: 40:49 I went to a PWI. I Love Virginia Tech. Love my experience wouldn't change it for the world. However, when I got there, I was culture shocked. It was, it was the first time I was the only person of color in the room. It was the first time someone came up to me and touched my hair. It was the first time someone asked me, what are you? Ah, it was the first time I was truly like challenged in a way of this passive aggressiveness. I went through one of the leadership programs at Virginia Tech where it was a specialized program that we have very thought provoking, thought provoking conversations. Literally everyday. It was like a specific class that only this program took again. It, it, I felt like it prepared me for the profession. My first year at school, just, just, just going away from being at home almost five hours away.

Rianka: 41:45 I got homesick. I am so happy. I found, um, the resource group. I knew our student resource, counselors by name because I was in there because I'm just like, I was kind of lost while I was very confident in my ability to learn and I was accepted into this institution. I constantly started doubting myself and my confidence was going down and my grades suffer. And, just a lot of different things like you, you see your suite mates get, what is those, what was those, those boxes that the family members sent. What are those things called, Lazetta. I don't know, like family members would send other people like their children, like, oh, what is it called? I bet the students right now, or if you're recently out of college you're saying is this, this, this, but just like food and, and, and personal toiletries stuff.

Rianka: 42:55 And, and I'm just like, what is this? So I, there was just so many different situations where I knew that I was different, that I didn't come from the same background as them. And it was in my face, literally every single day as a student, I got to learn what it meant to be different as a student. I learned what it meant to be the only person of color in a room and still maintain my confidence when I raise my hand when I spoke in front of the class as a student. But it took resources for me to remain that confident. I joined organizations, I joined groups, and my confidence grew, but it took four years. Lazetta for me to feel that confidence. And the reason why I'm, I'm speaking specifically to HBCU students is because when you come into the profession, you don't have that four years because you went to a HBCU, you went to a, a college or university, you had this experience.

Rianka: 43:58 And I'm not a blanket statement of what your experience is as a HBCU student. But you walked around campus and you saw people of all shades and hues of black and brown and you saw beautifully expressed hair, natural hair, braids. You saw, different clothing. You saw color, you saw, you just ah, it's an experience that I only know through my friends who went through HBCUs, but the proudness, the Ah, that comes from graduating from an HBCU cannot be duplicated, honey. I know it and I haven't even been, however, it's different. As soon as you start your career in the financial planning world because you are the only person of color in the room, you may be the only person of color at that conference. And so you may get culture shocked as well. And so this is kind of like a call to action to the organizations who may have someone who's the only person of color is that they, they do need resources. They do need some sort of support system because I wouldn't have made it through college if I didn't have that resource group where I can go and just talk through things. I was just like, are my feelings valid?

Lazetta: 45:16 Yes. And so it is beautiful, you know, for those who have attended HBCUs and I, I haven't either. To be able to be so sure of who you are, period. Period. And in a protected space that values who you are. And so with this transition, and Rianka I remember you were talking about code switching in another episode, as as well too is really having the skill set right to be able to engage a culture that may not be, as comfortable with all that you bring, as a person and really speaking to those who understand and can guide you so that, you can avoid missteps without losing your identity.

Rianka: 46:11 Yes. Code switching, I'll make sure I link that episode to yeah, I thought in order to be successful you need it to code switch. And when your code switching, that means you are assimilating into your environment. That's what I mean by being a culture add not a culture fit. Honey, I want you to stand out. Yes, I want you to wear your hair curly. I want you to wear that pink shirt instead of that white button up. Now everybody not be there. Might not be ready for that. But I want you to be confident in who you are and know that you, the you, the authentic you. We want you in this profession, not what you think the profession wants.

Lazetta: 46:52 Amen, sister.

Rianka: 46:58 I mean, that's, that's all I have is that, is there anything else that we're missing? I'm pretty sure there's more, but I think this can be an awesome resource for those who are reaching out to us. We are making this specifically for you. We want this to be a jump off a sounding board for you to be able to find resources and people and know when you're reaching out to people, what to ask, how to ask it. Know that there's organizations out there, the different career paths you can take as a financial planner. And now we want you and your whole self.

Lazetta: 47:30 Yes. Because the profession needs you. Our communities need you. And so we're waiting for you.

Rianka: 47:38 We are waiting for you.