S02 EP00: Welcome to Season 2

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Rianka is back with Season 2 of the 2050 TrailBlazers Podcast! We’re all so excited to be here for another fantastic season, and we have some incredible content in store for you. But before we dive into a full season of actionable content that’s sparking conversation, we need to go back and recap the information we covered in Season 1.

Season 1 of 2050 TrailBlazers truly laid the foundation for so many world-changing conversations around diversity, equity, and inclusion in the financial planning profession. Season 1 covered a lot of ground; from Episode 1 with Cy Richardson, where we discussed how to bring down the barriers of entry for both people of color and other minority groups entering the financial planning profession and families from achieving financial success, to Episode 9 with Katie Augsburger, where we covered how to implement strategies to attract and retain diverse talent within the financial planning profession.

This episode will give you a quick recap of each episode from our last season, and give you a sneak peek into what you can expect from the rest of Season 2.

Are you ready? Let’s spark conversation.

Show Notes:

Episode Transcript

Announcer : 00:00 Welcome to 2050 trailblazers the podcast that's sparking conversations around diversity and inclusion in the financial planning profession. Studies have shown that by the year 20, 50, the majority of the United States population will be made up of minority groups. We want to create a space where we can talk about how to increase the level of diversity in the financial planning profession, share our experiences and focus on how we can create a more inclusive future. And now for your host, Rianka Dorsainvil.

Rianka: 00:28 Hi, it's Rianka and I'm back. Thank you so much for tuning back into 2050 trailblazers. Wow. Season one was amazing. It opened up my eyes, it opened up my inbox and it gave room for conversations I've had with friends and colleagues in the profession that may not have taken place if it wasn't for this platform. Many of you took the summer to catch up on conversations and discussions that took place in season one. Trust me, I've read all of your linkedin messages, your tweets, your dms and it really fueled me to keep pressing forward with our diversity and inclusion conversation. Season One, set the foundation. You know where we are in the financial service industry specifically, where are we within the financial planning profession. We shared the numbers, we shared stories that were personal and not only how to bring awareness to various career paths you can have within the financial service industry.

Rianka: 01:46 Or, within the financial planning profession, but also how to recruit and retain women and professionals of diverse backgrounds. It's one thing to bring awareness around the various career paths in the financial service industry or specifically within the financial planning profession, but how are we going to retain these women? How are we going to retain these professionals? Of diverse backgrounds? We have to understand that there's different culture and backgrounds and I've always said this, this is the perfect, the perfect profession to show the world that we can become a very inclusive and diverse profession. We can be the beacon of hope. As financial planners, one of our main jobs is to be good listeners and listen without the intent of response, like truly listen to our clients, listen to their goals, listen to family history, listen to you know. I joke with friends and I say sometimes I feel like a financial planner.

Rianka: 02:52 Other times I felt like a marriage counselor and other times I feel like a family therapist, but that's what we do, right, and we put our client in the center. Just imagine if we put our colleague in the center and do the same thing that we do with our clients. How different this professional will feel. I believe we can do it. I believe we can do it. Before we kick off season two, for those who have not caught up, I'm going to share a brief recap of each episode in season one and then I'm going to let you know the theme of season two, season two is going to be, is going to be a game changer. I just. I can't wait. I cannot wait. Listen in. As I share the recap of season one of 20 slash 50 trailblazers, setting the foundation.

Rianka: 03:49 If you haven't had a chance to catch up on season one, not to worry. I am here to give you a brief recap of each episode. So episode one we kicked it off with Cy Richardson. If you don't know Cy, look him up. He is the vice president of the National Urban League. He is also the chair of the diversity advisory group for the CFP Board Center for financial planning. He is just an overall dynamic individual and energy is just contagious. When you walk in the room, it's just like, all right, we're all fired up. Let's make things happen. So it was, you know, a no brainer for me to kick off a season one and setting the foundation with Cy Richardson. We talked about attracting diverse talent and growing the financial planning profession. We also discussed the growing demand and need of diversity and inclusion training within the financial service industry and what changes need to happen now in order for a more diverse future clientele to be served and served well by a financial planning community. Rich and young, diverse and talented professionals.

Rianka: 05:07 As I mentioned earlier, that you are the chair of the diversity advisory group and you know, why did you say yes with the many things that Cy has on his plate? You know, we just had a meeting a couple weeks ago and you literally ran from our meeting down to Capitol Hill to, to fight for, for just basic civil rights on top of everything that you have to do. Why did you say yes to this?

Cy: 05:38 Well, I appreciate that question. It's a very simple question, but there's some complex answers was behind it, but I'll say this, I am a, like you, a warrior on behalf of other people. And I was, as I understood the data points and spoke to people in the profession such as your, such as yourself, you know, in the identification of the key barriers to entry. There's something, you know, um, sour around blocks to entry for professions or blocks for entry to the middle class for example. Um, and I think, you know, the fact that there are certain communities in this country, um, who, um, are steered towards professionals and financial identities that suit the prevailing narrative around how they contribute to Americana. You know, it was, it did not sit well with me that we have, again, the Alpha, the Omega to America in the 21st century is the ability to kind of build skills, grow skills and build wealth, intergenerationaly.

Cy: 06:43 Your profession obviously helps the decision making that supports those goals and that ethos. But again, far too many communities of color, households of color are not able to even have the conversation, not even able to think beyond their own generation because the notion of wealth building, the notion of kind of, um, economic empowerment, financial inclusion, financial capability are concepts that are, that are, um, in many ways foreign to some of the communities, individuals that we work with. And so that there's something wrong with that. And so just like we have kind of Rosetta stone and these new, these new technologies to help people learn new languages, for example. Right. You know, I felt as if it's the language of money, the language of numbers which has so much explanatory power in the lives of Americans. Why cannot African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans also not have the luxury of having those kinds of intentional introspective conversations through the guided advice of a certified planner who matches their, their characteristics and their sensibilities and their experiences. I really think that is, to me, um around fairness, access, equity, and again, I'm and my organization is always interested in where those fights reside. In many cases, they're not in the public spotlight there behind the scenes in the shadows and for many years the the, the demographic gap within the certified financial planning space was understood in the shadows and I just appreciate the whole sector. Um coming out of the shadows because they need help

Rianka: 08:20 Episode two kicked it up a notch and brought on Lazetta Rainey Braxton. And here we talked about promoting diversity and creating intentional career paths within the financial planning profession. We talked about, you know, the importance of having cheerleaders inside and outside of the financial planning profession. How to promote representation and visibility to encourage the generations to come to be anything they want to be. And let me pause. Shout out to Lazetta Rainey Braxton who is one of Investment News' see it be it role model. They are having an awards ceremony in October and she is being honored and acknowledged for being a role model. She is the epitome of see it be it. Um, and she is one of the reasons why I'm, you know, here today because I saw her and I said, wow, you know, she looks like me and she is slaying the financial planning profession and if she can do it, so can I.

Rianka: 09:24 So representation and visibility, you know, it's important and like I mentioned, encouraging generations to come to be anything they want to be, how to surround yourself with people who act as mentors and help you grow. How to get involved with groups such as the Association of African American financial advisors or Quad A. She was a past president and now I'm chair of Quad A, you know, so how to get involved with groups that are actively working to increase diversity in financial planning. In that episode, Lazetta made it clear that being a doer is what help us become our full selves. So that was a phenomenal episode.

Rianka: 10:08 So another question I have for you, uh, and you've mentioned it throughout our conversation is mentoring and the roles that people have played in your life. And uh, I want to touch on a quote that I sent you. It was bishop td jakes.

Rianka: 10:28 He was being. He was being interviewed by a Steven Feric, I believe that's how you say his name. Um, and sometimes we just have to be reminded that mentors can come in all ages in various forms and various professions. And I want to share this with the listeners because it's really important. And then I want to ask you, how have the role of mentors or influencers have played in your life? So td Jakes said, and I'm paraphrasing this, um, people who are gifted cannot see it. You see everyone else, but you cannot see yourself when you are truly gifted, you are blind to yourself. So it makes you ask questions like, who do men say that I am? You're vulnerable to the voices around you. They become your mirror. So I want to talk about, why is it so important to build a strong team around you and have a set of mentors that can pull out those gifts that we are waiting to be blessed with?

Lazetta: 11:44 When you are a doer and you combine that with being a type A, you're only focus is getting it done no matter what the cost is and that can be depleting at time because you're always giving, giving, giving, giving, and if you haven't taught yourself how to replenish, you miss the opportunity of really being your full self. Mentors, they hold you accountable, but they also poor back into you because like you said, you, when you're in it, you're blind to yourself. You're, you're just, you're doing the, you're doing. You're not taking a step back and kind of reflecting and celebrating the milestones and so mentors have a way of giving you life back as you give your life to others and they also help you get out of the trenches so that you can see the big picture while you're, you're also dealing with, you know, every little detail. You know, having cheerleaders, having those who have been through, you know, the wisdom that allows you to see things differently.

Lazetta: 13:04 And I must say that for me, mentorship has nothing to do with age. And when I hear reverse mentoring, I'm like mentoring is mentoring because Rianka tell you all the time that you are a mentor to me that you have have shown me so many ways of, of doing things better. So many insights on how to take different approaches and, and just the, the, the wisdom like what you just shared with we with bishop jakes that was so profound and just opened my eyes to, to, to new horizons. So surrounding yourself with people who, who are assigned to you. And I, and I believe that, that spiritually, that you just can't have anyone around you. That you have to have people who know and appreciate your purpose here on earth so that it is, um, matched matches made in heaven to do the work that we've called to do, but also to enjoy the journey. Living that abundant life that I believe is afforded to, to all of those.

Rianka: 14:30 And if you are interested in starting a CFP board registered program, or if you are a student in a CFP board registered program, you definitely want to check out episode three with Dr Nandita Das. And we talked about the journey and the uphill battle of establishing a CFP board program and she is the associate professor of finance at Delaware State University and the director of the CFP board registered program, you know, this episode was on fire, you know, my nickname for her is firecracker and um, in the most adoring way and if you want to know how she got that nickname for me, tune into episode three. So we also talked about how she forged the trail of creating the CFP education at her university and she reflects upon how her students, despite their discomfort of being the only person of color in the room always makes others feel comfortable when engaging in any type of conversation to apply for the positions that they want to put their best foot forward.

Rianka: 15:40 She is just, you know, every time I see her at conferences, she always brings her students. So the FPA or the Financial Planning Association conference, they're volunteering, they're engaged, it's just great to see. So if you are in the process of creating a CFP board registered program, want to know what it takes and the CFP board she mentioned was so helpful with making sure the process continued forward, but sometimes it's, you know, the universities that may call some roadblocks and so if you need some extra motivation to keep pushing forward and you know, to see what's on the other side, listen to this episode. It was, it was very powerful.

Rianka: 16:19 Going back, you do an awesome job of just inviting professionals back to campus to come and speak to the students. Why? Why is that so important for you to make sure that diverse professionals come in and speak to the students

Nandita: 16:39 and you're right, I was going to say not just professionals but diverse professionals because I need my students to get over the fear of I am different. They are different. Yes you are different, but this industry is very inclusive. This industry needs the profession needs you and the only way they can, me talking does not have that much of an impact as a Rianka coming to the college or a Lauren Williams coming to the college. Jolycen Wright, Lazetta Braxton, when they see these people, then they realize, oh yeah, even I can do that, I could tell all my stories, but they cannot relate as well as they can to someone that looks like them. That's the biggest, and I believe in diversity in all shape and form.

Rianka: 17:29 I think the most funniest episode, it had the most outtakes that I don't know. Maybe we will share it in later seasons, but Dr Ajamu Loving. I told him he needs his own TV show that Dr Loving Show, but he is hilarious. And in episode four we talked about how representation, diversity and research can move the financial planning profession forward to serve the next generation. His vivacious personality and burning passion for making personal finance assessable to minorities and underserved communities is very evident. In this episode, he shared his stories and advice on how to brave very awkward conversations about race and gender with clients and colleagues in your firm or organization, how to keep your cool as you tackle learning moments and how to find that confidence to speak up when you're in situations that's awkward, insensitive or offensive. Everyone needs to listen to episode four. And um, you know, he shared a few stories about one his dad and then also about him, you know, with this platform we were able to share that story to make it real about why inclusion and having this conversation around racial and gender diversity is important. So definitely check that out.

Rianka: 19:01 What advice, what, what I guess kind of like what motivated you to keep pushing because you share a couple of stories which you know, I hope we can share with today, um, about just some of the, I don't know if adversity is too strong, but just some interesting situations that you were put in that could have made you be like, you know what? I don't feel like I fit in. I don't feel like this is for me. Let me just go back to what I'm comfortable with.

Ajamu: 19:37 Ok so, I can definitely attest to what I will call, if not, you know, adversity, at least weirdness and unfortunately awkward situations that have happened. I remember one of my, this was actually my first time sitting down with a, with a client and doing tip to tail 401k rollover. Right. And I was working in partnership with my buddy Richmond who was also a graduate of the associate development center.

Ajamu: 20:12 And um, we, you know, we were making sure that we dotted all the i's and crossed all the t's and we had a great time with this client. He was the classic Chicago South suburbs client down to the way that he talked the mustache and everything, he had the bears jacket.

Ajamu: 20:33 Everything and the amber sunglasses, all of it. Okay. So this is the classic Chicago

Rianka: 20:39 I'm getting a really good visual here

Ajamu: 20:44 Right? Classic Chicago guy, and now sat down with, uh, with two black guys, Richmond's a blank guy too. Um, and, and we went through his his entire financial history and all he wanted to accomplish. And so we get to the end and we're filling out all of the paperwork. And let me set the other stage for you because it's, February it's black history month.

Rianka: 21:08 Ok, February is black history month. Chicago is extremely cold as well in February.

Ajamu: 21:15 It's cold too. So he's got, he's got on his cold weather gear. Well it's all sitting on the side because he's inside. But, but, but it's uh, it's February and he's, he says that I was watching a documentary last night and I'm like, okay, here we go. And he said, hey, you know, the one thing I don't get about slavery. And Richmond and I just look at each other, you said, you know, one thing I don't get about slavery is if you owned a good horse, then why would you beat it like that?

Ajamu: 21:51 And uh,

Rianka: 21:55 Wow.

Ajamu: 21:56 Yeah, so Richmond and I look at each other, now this, this gentleman who's saying this, he's, he obviously didn't hate us. He obviously trusted us, is working with us with his entire financial future. And I think he finally just felt comfortable enough that, in a way I felt good that we had done our jobs well enough for him to feel comfortable enough to ask us this question. But also it's an incredibly awkward question. And of those ones where you do, you should feel a little bit offended that you're hearing that. And I think every listener is probably feeling a little offended just listening to me talk about it. And so at that point, it's one of those deals, what do I do? How do I handle this situation? And I think a lot of people have been there before. And the way that I handled it was first I took a deep breath and I always recommend you, you take a deep breath and think for a second and think about how you want to come out of this thing positively.

Ajamu: 22:53 And, uh, in that. And I looked at the gentleman, I said, I, uh, I think that the deep tragedy here is that any human being would ever be treated like a horse to begin with. And then he, he looked at me, shook his head in the affirmative and, and then we moved on and we, we finished out closing out the business and I got my first piece of a commission, made money. The gentleman went on, I'm sure, to a wildly successful retirement. Richmond went on to be successful as well and everybody moves in a productive direction and I think if we can have productive direction conclusions to all of the inevitable awkward moments that are going to come, some of them racially based, man, if we can keep our heads focused in that direction, we're going in, we're going to be all right. We're going to be all right as, as an industry, as a profession, Rianka: 23:49 Continuing on with, you know, sharing stories and making this real because sometimes we just hear stories and it's just like, oh, that would never happen in our profession. Well, Angela, I think brought real to reality or reality to real. And in episode five we talked about how to be your bold, authentic self in the world of financial planning. When Angela Moore joined the financial service industry, you know, she struggled with adversity. She struggled with discrimination and workplace challenges at a large financial service warehouse, which in turn inspired her to get more involved in the financial planning profession, diversity and inclusion, movement, sheep out the silver lining. And then she opened her own practice and she started connecting with her natural market and it was a fantastic way to reignite Angela's fire and love for her career and enabled her to bring out her authentic self with the profession.

Angela: 24:57 I really, really enjoyed working at Schwab. But I realized that when you're working with high net worth clients and older people and that kind of thing, it's rewarding, but a lot of them already have money. So your impact is a little different, you know? And so what was happening is that when you're trying to prospect, I don't know if you had the same kind of experience, but let's say you're trying to prospect someone with wealth and they are a 65, 70 year old white male for example. It's kind of like, what do I have in common with this person? Trying to find something relatable, you know? And this person is out on the golf course with their buddies. Like I've had this happen to me before where they'll say, oh my buddy, you know, that I play golf with, he's an advisor too and I'm going with him.

Angela: 25:51 And it was kinda like, well, it's so much harder for me to gain footing because I don't play golf and um, I don't hang out on, you know, with 70 year old white people or whatever. I mean it's just not the same. So what was happening was that I would get so many people referred to me all the time, but they would be my age and they would not have a ton of savings, but they, you know, great income and they just need help and Angela such and such told me to call you and that you're the financial advisor. And so what was happening is that Rianka, I would tell people, come see me at 5:00 PM after work or come see me on Saturday or let's meet on Sunday. And I was helping all these people for years. I was helping people on the side.

Rianka: 26:40 Sounds like me.

Angela: 26:41 Yeah. And then one day I'm sitting at work and I had seven referrals in one week and they were all my natural market. And I thought to myself, I'm not even advertising, I'm not marketing. I don't even have a website. Like I don't have anything, these people are just coming to me naturally and all of a sudden I just saw like there's a huge opportunity there for me to work with people I naturally interact with all the time who I have so much in common with and it just sparked a flame in me that this is what I want to do.

Rianka: 27:15 Phoung Luong. Her and I, as I mentioned in episode six, we met back in, I think it was 2014, both her and I was the FPA. Well the financial planning association, diversity scholarship recipient. Um with one other young lady and we was able to go to the annual conference on this scholarship, was able to meet a ton of great people and we talked about how to have honest conversations around inclusion when diversity becomes a catch all term. Phoung and I discussed, you know, just the downside of diversity as a catchall word and how getting comfortable with uncomfortable situations can help us start to have honest conversations about race. Look to form authentic connections with our colleagues and clients and improve both the financial planning profession and the world. We talked about so much in episode six and we even got some twitter trolls, so we're, we were probably doing something right. It was an uncomfortable conversation for both of us, but you know, we forged through it, we spoke our truth and some people just aren't happy with that. And it is what it is.

Phoung: 28:37 And I actually think that the stress response for many of us as well, especially people of color when we're in situations with majority white people and we hear diversity or we're sitting in a diversity training and we're. And we're just thinking like, okay, how's this going to go? Um, I think it's because it's, you know, diversity is a catchall word because we we're using coded language to talk about issues that are really hard to talk about, you know, Rianka, you said it. It's like let's just use the language that's clear and that we can all agree on, you know, and it's just instead of saying diverse people, right? That, that, that, that language doesn't make sense to me. It's, it's, you know, let's, let's name it and use the words that people identify themselves as. And if we don't know, we can ask them. Um, and, and it's okay to say the word white, you know, white people. I, um, I, I've reflected on this before and, and I've, I've found that it's typically, you know, and it's not just people of color, I'm sorry, I should say, it's not just white people, but sometimes people of color are, um,

Phoung: 29:38 you know, feel uncomfortable or not sure if they talk about race. Partly, you know, let's, let's stay on track with the, um, all the different systems of oppression we were talking about before. Part of it I think is because race has been used so much to punish people and to hurt people and it still is used today. Um, Phoung: 30:00 and so these terms have been weaponized, right? But, but I think there is a value. It's, it's, um, you know, I'm using the word as a noun. It's a value in white culture to and white professional culture, to not talk about race in an open way and that, that it's so much so that even though just the word diversity and equity, uh, are being used and, but they're, they're very coded because they hide what we're really talking about.

Rianka: 30:28 Let's, let's dig a little deeper with that. What do you mean by, and I want to dig a little deeper, but I do want to share for our listeners. This is the sixth episode, but you'll hear me in like episode one and two hesitate when I say white people because that is, that's a stressor for me to say, you know, so I can only imagine what it means for you to say black people or Hispanic people. So I share your discomfort. However, if we're going to move this needle forward, if we're going to make any type of change and not just be talk or ceremonial, if we're going to actually do something, we have to be comfortable with being in a very uncomfortable state. For awhile.

Rianka: 31:26 In the next episode I brought on Justin Sullivan in episode double o seven we talked about embracing your identity in the financial planning profession and you know, Justin, he was selected to be a part of the, I am a CFP pro campaign, which he felt very strongly that his voice mattered, knowing that the financial space suffers from a lack of diversity.

Rianka: 31:51 And if you want to learn more about the CFP, I'm a CFP pro campaign. Um just go to 2050trailblazers.com click on episode seven and it'll tell you more about, you know, what the CFP for center for financial planning is doing in this space, which is phenomenal work. When he started in finance, he wanted to assimilate and you know, that hindered him from being himself fully and fully successful. Talking about authenticity, you know, so as part of the CFP pro campaign, Justin wants to represent his background and he acts as a beacon to those from a similar background who may be feeling the same. So how to be a black man in the financial service industry. That's episode seven was about, and you know, just embracing it, being your authentic self and then also, you know, some of the conversations and challenges that he went through.

Rianka: 32:49 From a diversity standpoint. You kind of stick out Justin,

Justin: 32:58 Yeah, that's a reality of the genesis of why we have this podcast and while we have the CFP pro campaign, um, we, we lack diversity in this field and I've had similar experiences where you go into a meeting and the client or prospective client or even a coworker who doesn't know, you kind of assumes that you're the assistant or the um, or the, or the what's the word I'm thinking of, the apprentice. And so I've had those experiences where I'm like, no, I'm actually, I'm the investment advisor. I'm the one who's making it.

Justin: 33:32 Yeah, I've had those. But you know, one of the examples that sticks out to me the most as I think about that level of intimidation was I just really wanted to fit in. I wanted to assimilate. I wanted to be considered a really good investment advisor. Not a good young investment advisor or not a good black investment advisor. I really just wanted to identify as a smart, competent professional and I had, when I was younger in my career, I kind of felt like I wasn't being taken out on deals or as many deals as I wanted or almost felt like the only time I was being asked to be involved was when it was a, an African American prospect or client. Um, and, and that was part of, that might've just been my perception, but in some cases I think that was a, they wanted to demonstrate like diversity or, and I was like, okay, well I'm trying to get a shot so I'm going to.

Justin: 34:32 I'm going to go on this. But in one particular example there was a, a wealthy African American perspective client that I was working on and I was going out and meeting with him along with a partner who is a white male. And um again really just trying to be identified as a without race or without age, just as a good professional. And the prospect was kinda making me uncomfortable because he kept saying he kept bringing it to attention that I was black in a positive light and it was making me uncomfortable because I was with a white colleague and I just didn't want that to be an area of focus. And so as we continue to pursue his business, he eventually decided to work with us and um, his business I'll just say was in black media. And so he made, he made a lot of his wealth.

Justin: 35:24 He made all of his wealth on black, a black client base. And so there was one particular time he said, Justin, I'm going to end up doing business with you guys and I want to make it clear that I'm doing it with you because you're black. And that made me really, really uncomfortable. I didn't like that. Um, until he explained to me that he's like, look, I would not have had this money if it was not for black clients. Like it took me years in this particular. He's an older gentleman. He was living through an era where white clients, were not doing business with them. They were not buying his product, they were not involved in his promotion and growth of his business and that's when it really stood out to me like, you know, this is something I don't need to. I need to remain with that idea that, you know, I want to be a professional and considered from a skill and competence, but I don't need to be ashamed of my background, my heritage. I need to embrace it and I need to be excited about it really because this is exciting for this gentleman. He wants to give business to somebody who looks like the people that made him wealthy and I don't think there's anything wrong with that. It took me a while to get to that, to that point, but I don't think there's anything wrong with that. I, I appreciate that about him and I respect him for, for doing business with me for that reason

Rianka: 36:40 And what I thought was going to be the last episode, episode eight with Katie Augsburger actually turned into two episodes our conversation was so rich that I couldn't stop the momentum of the conversation that was happening. It was just too important, so Katie, what I loved about speaking with her is that she didn't know about the financial planning profession until her and I met, nor did she know the stats, the statistics about diversity numbers and all of that from from a racial perspective, from a gender perspective, and so she was able to come in with fresh eyes and give us tangible takeaways, tangible things that we can be doing in our organizations and firms today, right now, right now, so I encourage everyone to listen to episode eight and nine. Episode Eight, we talked about how employers can break the mold, promote inclusion, and retain women and people of Color in the financial planning profession.

Rianka: 37:45 She is a hands on hr or human resource professional. She's an employee, a strategist, and she informed us on how the workplace isn't structured for women and other minorities and provided some tools to empower you to implement tangible inclusion and diversity initiatives in your workplace. We also discuss how to create an organization structure with with flexible workspaces and policies that support women, people of color and other minority groups. Episode eight was so good. We're turning it into like a one pager that's going to be available on the 2550 trailblazers website here soon.

Rianka: 38:27 So. Katie. Let's just jump right in. So when we first met the, what really lit a fire under me, I think is what kind of lit a fire under as well as when you started telling me about your site visit.

Katie: 38:38 Oh yeah. So let's talk about that. So this was the catalyst for my book was the experience I had. Um walking into this new space. I was helping an organization look for like new cool creative space in Portland. And so we were touring different offices and we found this great old building and we're walking around and I, and I was like, yeah, I need to go to the bathroom. So I went into the restroom and I walk in and there's two urinals there. And I um, you know, I am by nature pretty clumsy. So I was like, oh, I must have walked into the bathroom. So I went and checked the door. I opened the door again. Nope. It's the women's restroom. Two urinals there. And so I had to have that moment where I check my privilege, right?

Katie: 39:28 Like, am I, am I reading this wrong? Like this is, this is great that they have urinals in here, this is, this is very progressive. And so I said to the building manager, oh, it's really cool that you have urinals in both men and women's restrooms. And he's like, oh no, that's because women's restrooms were on the twelfth floor. And I gave him that look, I beg your pardon? And he said, yeah, when this, when this building was built, uh, the women's restrooms were on the twelfth floor because that's where the secretaries worked and every other floor just had men's restrooms. And conceptually I, yeah, I, I conceptually knew that that was part of building design, you know, in the industrial revolution to about the 1950s, I, I, I understood that conceptually, but I had not ever been in a space where that was the actuality.

Katie: 40:23 And I was dumbfounded. Like I had this moment where, I don't know if this ever happens to you, but your brain feels like it's kind of breaking apart. Like you're trying to put the pieces together, and I had this moment where I said to myself, oh, we were never intended to be in this space. We were never intended to be on this floor and by this floor, I mean this the center of power and not only were we not designed to be there, we were designed to be excluded from that space and so all of this conversation over the last 10 years, which is good and healthy conversation about leaning in to this workplace, we're asking women to lean into a workplace that was completely not designed for them to be there, and so I had this moment where it's like, what would it look like if we redesigned the workspace?

Katie: 41:23 What would it look like if we had not centered the design of work based on a male with a caregiver at home, but instead we redesigned it based on a black woman with children. What would that look like? Who, what services would we have? What would be normal in, would crying be normal instead of anger in the workplace would be breastfeeding in a board meeting be completely normal? Would would bringing your infant child to work, be considered an acceptable approach to doing business we don't know because everything we do now is based on a model that was built with not us in mind.

Rianka: 42:06 In part two of our interview, Katie empowered all of us in the financial planning profession to tap top talent, retain them with a solid support system and find authentic ways to increase and diversify your network. And she also shared how everybody needs to be thoughtful about how they seek out employees and set up a hiring process from step one that will give people of all ages, ethnic backgrounds, genders, sexual orientation, and economic backgrounds, equal footing,

Rianka: 42:41 Practitioners firm owners, presidents of firms recruiting, uh, managers are reaching out to me and asking, okay, we're listening. Alright, where, where do we find, you know, black and Brown people to hire? Like we're looking for them. Where do we find the women?

Katie: 43:03 And that's the question I often get myself, is like, where do we post, what do we, how do we speak to this community? And the first thing I say is a guess what brown people, black people and women know how to find jobs. That's not the problem. It's not where you're posting and leaning on the, where you're posting is a very easy way to blame those communities for just not being available like other, like their traditional target market is. Um, I know I know how to look for a job. I know about linkedin. I know, um, I know the companies in which I want to work at. The problem is, is on the company side, what are their job listings looking like? Um, what are the words they're using that are gendered words are words that, um, that, that might weed out the right these, the right talent that is a diverse talent. Um, where, where in the recruiting process are we using our bias to weed out people who might be perfect. So it's not about where we post but how we're posting.

Rianka: 44:16 So that's it, you know, that was, that was season one. Season one again, just opened up my eyes, opened up my ears, gave me the privilege to have conversations that probably would not have happened. And the common theme was how can I help you? And this was coming not only from professionals of color, but it was coming from white men and white women saying, I hear you, I see you. How can I help? So in season two, we are talking about allyship and allyship is dynamic. It's not static, it's a verb, not a noun. So being an ally means you have to take action. And I have some phenomenal guests that are coming on season two, we are going to again with episode one, set the foundation helping you understand truly what it means to be an ally. You know, what are some of the resources out there? How can you have these impactful, and empowering conversation with your colleagues who do not look like you? Season two is going to be very powerful. Come into season two with me with an open heart and an open mind. And let's build this profession together.