Diversity in Practice: Hiring and Building the Future of the Profession

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Kate Healy, the Managing Director of TD Ameritrade Institutional’s Generation Next, is passionate about providing financial planners with actionable steps to start working toward a more diverse future of the profession. She is a long-time advocate for diverse hiring practices and equitable, sustainable solutions for RIAs. 

The purpose of this podcast has always been rooted in the idea that, by 2050, the United States will have the majority of the population made up of minority groups. Kate’s mission is to help create programs that support a more diverse future of the financial planning profession to reflect the population of our nation.

Kate is taking time today to outline the importance of creating a more inclusive financial planning profession for the next generation and beyond. She’s not holding anything back for 2050 listeners! Kate goes over hiring as a financial advisor, mentorship from a mentor and a mentee perspective, how to address your biases - and notice them in your team, and so much more. Are you ready? Tune in now!

What You’ll Learn:

  • How to create an intentional hiring practice

  • Why reaching out to candidates from HBCUs can be a game-changer for diversity-focused hiring

  • The importance of accountability partners

  • How to address your own biases

  • Where to find a mentor - and how they can help you grow

  • Why it’s useful to look at your practice, or business development, through a different lens by going outside the industry for resources

  • How to mentor new hires in a way that supports their strengths

  • How reverse mentorship works

  • Ways that we can improve communication across cultures to build a more inclusive profession


Show Notes:

Episode Transcript


Rianka: 00:00 Kate, welcome to 2050 TrailBlazers.

Kate: 00:04 Thanks, Rianka. I am so excited to be here.

Rianka: 00:06 Oh my goodness. I'm so excited to have you as well, Kate. You know, this is a full circle moment for me. So let me catch up the listeners with how I met Kate. So I met Kate in 2015, when the CFP board center for financial planning was just kicking off. TD Ameritrade is the lead founding sponsor for the center, which is amazing. And, you know, they invited me to sit on a panel and the moderator was Kate. And in that panel we were discussing workforce development and you know, just diversity in general. And it was myself, Cy Richardson, who, is the vice president of the National Urban Urban League. And we had another, colleague with us on the panel and we had very intentional conversations around diversity, equity and inclusion and the stake of the importance of it, which is one of the pillars for the center for financial planning. And so again, like this is a full circle moment for me because now Kate, the tables are turned and I have you in the hot seat.

Kate: 01:17 That's right.

Rianka: 01:18 Oh look, look it. There, the student has become the teacher.

Kate: 01:22 It's also, there's the student has overtaken the teacher. Trust me. You're doing so many great things.

Rianka: 01:28 Oh, thank you so much Kate. Well, I mean it's leaders like you who are truly blazing a trail for, for you know, just professionals like me to see that someone in your leadership position, someone of your stature is talking about this. And this is not something that you just talk about every now and then or you know, one tweak here or there. This is something that you all are intentional about you personally. But then also, I know TD Ameritrade Institutional, this is something that, they are, just champions of. And so just if you, if this is your first time listening to 2050 TrailBlazers, we're in season four and season four is all about best practices with the intentionality of discussing diversity, equity, and inclusion. And speaking of intentional, Kate, you had a title change in the past couple of couple of years. You are now the Managing Director of Generation Next, talk about intentional with like let's just lay it out on the table, what my role is here, you know, you are the managing director of generation next. How did this change come about and why was it important to happen?

Kate: 02:44 Yeah, it was intentional. So, you know, I've been with TD Ameritrade over 11 years, and I was in marketing for the bulk of that time, but we always had a focus on what are we doing to help bring in the next generation of advisors and help advisors understand the next generation of what their clients and their associates are going to look like. And so we were always doing these things kind of on the side of my desk. And, a couple of years ago, about two years ago, Tom Nally, our president came to me and he said, you know, Kate, I feel like all the work that you're doing on this side of your desk is so important that we need to make it an intentional change. So advisors realize how important this is. We're not just doing this because it's a nice thing to do or it's valuable.

Kate: 03:31 It's, we're doing this because the world is changing and everybody needs a wake up call. And so the intentionality was it's the world is changing, the world is changing fast, and maybe advisors aren't paying attention. Cause we had at that point and talking about it for eight, nine, 10 years and everyone's like, yeah, yeah, we get it, we get it. But you know, just thinking, well, it's not really affecting me personally. It's not affecting my business. And so we sat down and we decided and, and had buy in from the CEO that my position would change from Managing Director of Marketing to Managing Director of Generation Next. And we did a little play, right? It's not Nexgen, it's Generation Next. And that's because the way I look at it is the next generation is anyone who's not here today. And so while it includes the younger generations like millennials and generationZ , it includes so much more diversity.

Kate: 04:23 Women, we know that we have a scarce diversity of women in this profession. We need more people who are returning from the military. We need more people of color. We need people who don't have degrees in financial planning because quite frankly, there aren't enough of them to fill the need that we have to provide financial planning advice for all Americans who need it. So generation next is a large umbrella that brings in anyone who's not in this profession today. Thinking through diversity of, of race, of gender, of background, of age, of geography, of what you studied in college or what your career has been. To really broaden that umbrella because we know that this country is so diverse and so different that the old model of a financial planner was great, but we've got to expand it to base what the worlds gonna look like in 2050.

Rianka: 05:15 Yeah. Hence 2050 TrailBlazers. Thank you for that plug there Kate and yes, I love to say, you know, America is, you know, a mosaic, right? It's before we used to call it a melting pot. And when we think of that term, it's kind of like assimilating, right? Is like we're putting everybody into this pot and trying to make them in a homogeneous type state, right? We're trying to melt them together. Where now I love to use the term mosaic, right? Because it's, we're looking at and we are accepting the differences that we all have, but together and when we come together, it's just a beautiful, diaspora of so many different, you know, everything you know from career, from background, from ethnicity, from gender, you know, and the list goes on. So, so thank you for sharing that with us. And, and something you had mentioned, and this is something that I know that you shared with me, speaking of just career changers and, having financial planners come into the profession who may have a different background, I think is really important. Now I know some amazing financial planners who went through the CFP board program in undergrad, but I also know some amazing career changers. And you mentioned something about military and I know that there's something different when it comes to military experience in hiring at TD Ameritrade. Can you share with us what that is?

Kate: 06:48 Yeah. You know, you know, we thought about it. We've got a military initiative and we have a lot of people at TD Ameritrade who are former military. And I think we know when you talk to folks who come from the military, they talk about what they do, but in ways that they think it doesn't apply to coming out and into the business world. And I laugh and I think, my goodness, when you think of what you're doing, how you're running the country, the logistics, the project management, all the things that you do in the military to keep that huge machine running, working at TD Ameritrade would be a piece of cake.

Kate: 07:23 Yeah. So we've, we really thought about, you know, intentionally what are we doing with our job descriptions that may be having people not take a look at us. How do we make sure that our job descriptions are welcoming? And so we took a look at it from a lot of different angles, but especially from a military perspective when we thought, you know, we're gonna put, there's the normal job description, we want a four year degree, we want this experience here, X, Y, Z, all of that. And that doesn't apply a lot of times. There's a ton of people in the military who went in right out of high school or went in and did other things, but they've got great training. And so we've rewritten our job description so that they, they talk about the fact that if you've got military training, just come talk to us. Don't worry about the qualifications and don't think that that's going to keep you out of the role. We want you to come talk to us because we know that there are so many great things that you're going to bring to the table that what we asked for from a past experience perspective isn't relevant anymore.

Rianka: 08:23 Right. And I mean, when I hear the word military, I mean my father was in the military, he served, you know, 20 years in the navy. And my father in law is, you know, served as well. And my brother in law. So when I hear military, the first word I think of is discipline.

Kate: 08:41 Yes, exactly. My Dad was a marine as well, so I hear Ya.

Rianka: 08:44 Yeah. So discipline, you know, following orders or making sure that you have team camaraderie and, and all of that. So I think that's a great idea. And you know, a best practice that we can start probably, you know, incorporating into our institutions and our firms as well. And you mentioned something about job descriptions, and I want to go a little deeper with that. So you mentioned, you know, if you have military experience, don't even look at the job description, just come, come, speak to us. Right? You know, and just hearing about their story and background, you would probably know better than them where they could probably fit in, in, you know, in the TD Ameritrade institutional world. So, but you also have best practices or have heard best practices from other companies. Kate, so I know you, you, you are a moderating queen. Have been on a ton of panels, have, you know, set at a lot of tables where, you know, with other leaders of other institutions and firms and organizations where you guys are sharing what you guys are doing when it comes to best practices as far as like hiring panels, et cetera. Let's talk about some of those things.

Kate: 10:03 Yeah. You know, it makes sense, right? We all talk about we want a more diverse world, but it doesn't just happen. You have to really think about it. And you know, one of the things that we do, so at TD Ameritrade, we actually have a diversity steering committee, diversity and inclusion steering committee. But it's not made up of people from human resources. It's made up of people from the business lines because they're the people that need to attract the talent. Right. And I know we'll talk more about why it's there later, but, so when we got together as a group of, we started to think about what we could do to impact change. We took a look at job descriptions, right? That's one of the first things that someone sees when they're coming to get a job, whether it's at TD Ameritrade or an advisory firm or anywhere else.

Kate: 10:44 They go online and they look up the job description. And so we wanted to make sure that we weren't, again, stopping people in their tracks. We know, right, research has shown that women tend to not apply for a job if they don't feel like they can do 90 to a hundred percent of all the requirements in the job. Whereas men take a look at the job and they know that they've got potential to do things and so they'll apply for a job before a woman will. So we wanted to take some of those biases out of the job descriptions. And so we took a look at rewriting them and you know, making them so that it's not all about what you've done in the past, it's about what you're gonna bring from a potential is to change the equation to change what people look like.

Kate: 11:27 We can't just hire what we've hired in the past because then you're going to hire someone that did the job before and they're going to look like everyone looks like now to change the makeup of our workforce, we've got to start to look for potential so that we can get different people in here and get that diversity of thought that's really gonna help lead to innovation. And so rewriting job descriptions is just one way to help bring people in the door. The other piece, it's just start to look at different avenues. Join different associations, go to different colleges. If you keep going to the same colleges, you might not get the diversity that you want. Are you looking at HBCUs? Historically black colleges and universities or MSI, minority serving institution, they've got students that are there. You've got it, you know, it's hiring managers. We've all got to think about expanding our horizons to start to look at places that we didn't look before in order to get different people in the seats.

Rianka: 12:27 We're human, right? So we inherently have some biases when it comes to just different things, right? Especially when it comes to hiring, right? And just like you just said, when we're, we know the team that we have, right? And it's just like, all right, well, we want to continue to hire people just like us. Right? And if you go into that mindset, into the panel, or excuse me, into the interview process, you're already kind of shutting the door for, for people who may come from a different background, who maybe that, have that, you know, military experience and now they're, you know, a vet. So one of the things I keep hearing about is having a panel style interview. Is that something that you all practice at TD Ameritrade?

Kate: 13:16 Yeah. You know, in, in some of the roles we do and others we don't. But it's something that you really need to think about, right? Cause you're right, Rianka, we do have those biases or we're just more comfortable. We don't think it's a bias. It's just, it's comfortable. I came out of this school, I did well. The other people are going to have a great education, why wouldn't I want to hire someone like that? You know, some people don't do it intentionally, they just don't realize. And so really thinking about, how you can get yourself out of your own bias is by doing that, having a hiring team, right? And making sure that there are several people in the interview process and the hiring process and create a rubric. Create that, that process that you're going to have. So that, you know, maybe someone is focusing on the behavioral piece of it and someone's focusing on what the person's future could look like.

Kate: 14:05 And thinking about different ways to look at it so that you're, then it's hiring as a team and you're getting more diversity in the hiring decisions and thinking about what is it that you're missing, what do you need to bring into your team and how you can look at the interviewers and interviewees from a different way because everyone's going to be looking at it from a different lens, it also gives the, you know, interviewing is hard. There are some people that interview, we've got some big workforces, right? So they're constantly hiring classes of folks to come in and so they're good at hiring and interviewing, but when you think about, you know, small firms, they might hire one person every two years. To get your mindset into what you really need to do to really hire that person, bring them on board. It's difficult. Nevermind trying to find the talent, but then remembering, okay, what are my best practices for interviewing? The last time I interviewed someone was three years ago, what's changed, now I can use video, I can use Skype. There's all these different things. So allowing more people into that. I think gives you a better picture of who you're hiring. It also gives the person who's being hired a much greater insight into your culture. So I think it's important to do that. It gives yourself the process. It makes it easier.

Rianka: 15:20 Yeah, I definitely agree. It can be a little intimidating on the interviewee side, but, I think if you set that stage and expectation of why it's important that they go through an interview process, via panel, then hopefully it eases them of just like we want to view this interview from different lenses. We have different strengths and we have our own weaknesses. And so by having two or three people here interviewing you at this time, it will allow us to make sure that certain things we may not hear someone else may hear, which is a strength of yours. So, and we want to capture that. So again, kind of like easing that interviewee into the process. I think will be well, it is a good idea.

Kate: 16:10 Absolutely. Absolutely. Make sure that they know what their, you know, what their, what the process will look like. But I think they'll welcome it.

Rianka: 16:17 Yes. Yeah. Don't just surprise them. And it's like 3, they walk into a room and it's three people and it's just like, Whoa,

Kate: 16:24 oh, what'd I do.

Rianka: 16:26 I wasn't expecting this. So now that you have, you know, you've hired some great talent, and you know, they've went through the process, and now they're in your company, they're in your organization. Something that you've shared with me, Kate, which I would love for you to share with the listeners, is that you have a management resource planning group for your diverse, practitioners or, or employees at TD Ameritrade Institutional. Why was that important for you all to set up?

Kate: 16:58 Yeah. So, you know, management resource planning is just something that a lot of companies do, right? You take a look at your talent each year and you figure out, who are your higher achievers, who are people that you want to give stretch assignments to or developmental opportunities to. And it's, it's great and I love the days that we do that, but you tend to focus on the people who are high performers that you know about. But what happens is, especially when as companies get larger, you might not know everyone in the organization. And we thought about the fact that, you know, it's great to bring people on board, but how are we making sure that they're really getting the development opportunities so they can grow their career so that we can see more diversity at the top. Like we know we all need. And so about a year and a half or two years ago, the diversity and inclusion steering committee, we came up with this idea of holding one of those sessions, but just focusing on diverse talent.

Kate: 17:51 And it's been great. So, you know, what we did was everybody came to the table with two or three names of people that we knew weren't getting talked about enough either because people didn't know them. Maybe they were newer to the job or quite frankly for, for me, because I, I get, I have the opportunity to see a lot of different people in a lot of different roles in the company. Some people just don't know them. And so we were bringing people to the forefront and getting them talked about. And while we were doing it, we decided that everyone that we talked about should also get a mentor if they didn't, even if they already had one. Right. I mean, mentoring is part of leadership. People should be doing that all the time anyway, but we wanted to specifically focus on this group and say, we know we're in this, right, that the diversity inclusion steering committee, again, ours is based from all the business lines.

Kate: 18:40 We want these people to succeed. And so we each went through and chose folks that we would personally mentor. And we've been doing that for probably nine months now. We just had a call yesterday just talking through some status updates and you know, it's, it's going really well. We love it. The mentees love it. But it's important, right? And we're, while we're in the sessions, you know, we all went into it knowing that we're surfacing great talent. We have to be willing to lose some of that talent if it's our talent, because the only way that someone's going to grow within the company is to maybe move them to another assignment or give them a stretch assignment where they work on a cross functional team with people from other divisions. And anytime you do that, there's the risk that they're going to get to know other people in the company and they're going to get attracted to another job or, or someone's going to be attracted to them. But, but you have to do that. We have to become exporters of talent in our own businesses to say it's okay. You know, as a leader, I think it's important to say it's okay for me to develop somebody to the point where they leave my nest.

Rianka: 19:45 Yeah.

Kate: 19:45 Because that shows that I've done my job as a leader to get them to that next level and by really focusing on the more diverse people in the company, we're spreading that that range even further. So that more diversity is being seen in different places, which it's really exciting for us. And we've been really happy to see it take off.

Rianka: 20:08 Yes. Exposure. That's the key word here.

Kate: 20:12 Exactly. That's it. That's it.

Rianka: 20:13 That's the key word. Exposure of experiences. So I love that you all give cross-functional assignments and like, even though it may be in a different department, at least if anything, they'll stay in your company, they may leave your department, but at least they can, you know, become exposed to different types of, of avenues and career paths in your firm or organization. And then maybe they'll come back. Right. Because of some of the things that they've learned in a different department, they can now come back and share best practices with yours. Right. So it's a win-win.

Kate: 20:48 Exactly. And now they have a broader view of the firm.

Rianka: 20:51 Yeah.

Kate: 20:52 That just makes them better as an employee and helps get them. Right, because as a leader, you keep stepping up and up and up and you're looking at things from 10,000 feet, 20,000 feet, 30,000 feet. Well, it's hard to do if you don't know what's happening in all the other groups. And so when you really think about how you can create leaders, you've got to give them those opportunities.

Rianka: 21:09 Yeah. You have to, like you said, allow them to leave the nest. So something that you mentioned also was mentoring and, oh, I'll tell you, I would not be where I am today if I didn't have mentors. And we, we sometimes we have, official mentors, unofficial mentors, Kate, I don't know if you know this or not, but you are one of my mentors and you've,

Kate: 21:35 Trust me, it's a two way street. It's a two way street, Rianka.

Rianka: 21:39 Oh, thank you. You know, and so those types of relationships are important. Right? And so this is something I, we had a bonus episode with, with the Lazetta Braxton, over the summer.

Kate: 21:53 For those of you who don't know, Rianka and Lazetta are my accountability partners. And they will kick my butt if need be. So the three of us get together and have a pow-wow, at least one a year and talk through some things. And if you don't have a group like that, I'm telling you, you need to get one because it's, it's real.

Rianka: 22:12 It's real. Let me tell you. Whoa. Okay. We could probably have a separate episode about that. Maybe the three of us should come on, sip some wine, and just talk

Kate: 22:21 That would be great.

Rianka: 22:23 Call it the wine-down.

Kate: 22:25 There we go. I love it.

Rianka: 22:27 See it's already starting, Kate. Okay, back on track. Back on track. So we had an episode and we talked about mentoring and, and we gave examples of, you know, some structures that people can put in place because a lot of people may be afraid of taking on that role of a mentor because it's, it's a lot. It's a huge responsibility, right? Somebody is coming to you because they see you as a leader. They see something that, that you have that they want to grow into. And so when, if someone is looking for a mentor, Kate, what advice can you give them from a best practice standpoint of when seeking out a mentor? Here are some of the things that you want to make sure your, that your i's are dotted and t's are crossed before you approach this person.

Kate: 23:21 Yeah, that's really important. Because there's going to be different people in your career, right? There's your boss, there's your mentor, there's your sponsor, the person that really focuses on pushing you forward when you're not in the room and they're talking about you in front of others. So mentors I think are really important and they don't have to be within your company. Because sometimes they can't be, sometimes you work in an environment where you're the first that's going to face a situation or things like that. And so it's really important to think about where do you want to go and what are the, what kind of help do you think that you are not getting from maybe your boss or your, your internal development? What are the kinds of things that you really want to push forward? A lot of times it's behavioral, right?

Kate: 24:05 And there's situations where you really want to better yourself to start to think through who are the people that you see that are doing it well and who do you think that you would want to approach? And I know it seems so scary to approach someone to say, Hey, would you be my mentor? And it is, but it's also flattering for the person that's being asked. There are very few people in this world who don't want to help someone get to where they are because, Rianka, as you and I just talked about, right? None of us got to where we are without people helping us. There is no way, I'd be where I was today if I didn't have many people throughout my career, both in the firms I was in outside the firms, former colleagues, even just friends who aren't in the industry, who could look at things with a whole different lens and start to ask me questions that I didn't think about.

Kate: 24:52 So it's, it's important to think intentionally about where you want to go and who are the people that could help get you there, but before you reach out to them, you've got to be, make sure that you are committed to making it a, a great relationship. You, you and I talked about, you know, you say that I'm a mentor to you, but you are just as much a mentor to me. I don't like it in into mentoring relationships. If the other person isn't bringing something that I can also learn. I think that so much about mentoring is just sharing and growing together. So think about what it is that you can also bring to the table. What you can also teach the mentor. I know we've talked a lot about if it's a younger person, they bring technology skills. There's a lot more that you can bring.

Kate: 25:37 It can be the diversity of your thought. It can be the diversity of your geography of how you grew up. You know, I always, I always quote the Viola Davis comment from link two years ago is you never know where someone started their race. And by sharing your story with someone, you are actually giving them a very valuable lesson that they might not have been exposed to. So think about how you can also bring something to your mentor and then prepare yourself. You know, what I'm saying is that I think as a, as the mentee, you're the person that sets the agenda, sets the time, make sure that you're prepared. Here's the agenda. Here's what I'd like to talk to you about. You know, is a half an hour once a month, okay? Or do we meet for, for lunch every three months or whatever that is, and, and talk to the mentor about it.

Kate: 26:28 But really the mentee needs to drive it. Cause mentors, I will tell you, they're happy to help, but they're not going to do the legwork. That's something that you've got to show that you're really committed to the relationship and that you're going to listen to and really gain from what they're saying and make sure that you're doing a lot of that, the legwork, getting it ready, getting the your agenda ready and talking about things. And then I would finally just say at the beginning of the relationship, especially if it's someone you don't know well go to lunch or go to breakfast or, or have a Skype session and just get to know each other a little bit. Cause that makes it that much better. I know sometimes there are formal mentoring programs where people will assign you a mentor and you know, a mentor is better than none, but that can be a little hard, right? If you don't know the person and they just like, well here's the person who's going to be your mentor and it takes you awhile to figure out are there any commonalities, what you know, where you connect, as, as people to have that relationship. So, so take that time in the beginning to just get to know the person as a person before you start to dive into how they can help from a career perspective.

Rianka: 27:35 Yes, that is all very actionable takeaways right there. So what I heard you share Kate is one the mentee is really the person in the driver's seat when it comes to this relationship. It's their responsibility, to kind of set the agenda I think is also a great idea for you to kind of set the tone, very clear expectations, something like, is it okay if we meet once a month via Skype, via in person for 30 minutes and I'll make sure I have an agenda to you at least a week before our meeting. And if I need to reschedule, I'll give you at least 48 hours notice. Cause trust me, if you have someone like Kate and you actually get on her calendar, you need to give her notice, right? Because she's saying no to other things so she can say yes to you. So you just want to be very mindful of, rescheduling or canceling day of or very close to your meeting.

Rianka: 28:30 Also intentionality. Why, why did you pick this person? What is it that you want to get out from the relationship, but also what is it that you can give as well? Just like Kate said, it's a two way street. And then finally, which I think is probably should be number one is that you definitely want to meet with the person. Just have a cup of coffee, breakfast or something with them, pull them aside at a conference. If you know that they're going to be there, send them a note ahead of time saying, hey, can, can I grab coffee with you 30 minutes before the session starts? I will love to get to know you and here's why. Always have an agenda. Right? And when you meet the person, you might still think this person is amazing and you want them to be your mentor or you might think the opposite and was like, wow.

Kate: 29:14 Exactly. Exactly. That's, that's, that's very true. You know, you really need to make sure it's someone that you click with and that's, that's a great, great advice Rianka.

Rianka: 29:24 Yeah. And so that's the mentee, right? Yeah. And from a mentor perspective, and you've been a mentor, to so many people indirectly or directly, what would you say is your responsibility as a mentor?

Kate: 29:38 You know, it's really to help the person think through decision making. I know a lot of people think, oh, I'm going to get a mentor and then I'm gonna get promoted and I'm going to move on. And, and that's, that's great. And it can be helpful. But what I try to do in this situation is talk to the person about what it is that they're trying to accomplish. Sometimes they're having an issue, sometimes they're not, they're just thinking through, I want to look forward in my career. And I think that talking to someone maybe outside my business or in a different line of business within my firm or someone who's just had more experience can help. So I think it's important to help people learn how to make decisions, to think through the pros and cons of doing something one way versus another. Or think through how can they get to where they want to be. You know, some people are lucky they, they wake up and they decided this is the career they want to have and they plot a path to get to the top of that career and that's awesome. And they know all the different levels and jobs that they need to have to get there. And some people don't, some people want to get to, you know, I talk about this, right? I, my degree is in economics and finance. How I ended up running marketing, you know, it can be a funny story.

Kate: 30:50 But I, I my career took more lateral moves and more like that latter where I went up to step, maybe I went down a step, maybe went up a couple steps, maybe I jumped over another ladder and tried something else. But helping people understand that that's okay. It can work for people. But how you think about your career, cause you need to think about your career and be intentional about it. So how are you doing that and what are the tools that you need to, to think that way, to think through what a lateral move could mean for you in the future or things like that. But really should get them to think. Cause at the end of the day they have to do it themselves. A mentor can't give you a job. I mean they can give you a job, but they're not going to be the person that drives you. That's what you've got to do. So I always try to give them the tools they need to drive themselves to make decisions themselves and to really focus and figure out what they want their future to be.

Rianka: 31:45 Yeah. Wow. That's good. Some good stuff here. I hope. I hope everybody has a pen and pad out and taken some notes here. You know, we become, we become mentors and it's through our experience that, well, I'll tell you, I'll say personally, it's through my experience that I feel like I'm a good mentor. Just through, you know, I've been in the profession now for a decade and that feels really weird to say, Kate, I'm just like, wow, has it been 10 years? Yes, it has, Rianka. I'm like, Whoa, time is really fine. And so, you know, I've worked at different firms, I own a firm, you know, now I'm hiring. So I, I feel like just through the experiences that I have it makes me a good mentor, but I wonder are there programs that help train mentors?

Kate: 32:36 You know, that's a good question. I'm not sure of any. I'm sure that there are, I think, I think it's the experience part. I mean, I think the program is going to help you. Here's some tools that you can have and things, but I just think it's the experience part is sharing that wisdom that you sometimes don't even realize that you have. Right. When you might talk about a failure or a situation that happened, you're imparting wisdom on someone, you're just thinking that you're telling a story about a time that went well or didn't go well in your career, but you're also giving someone that insight into maybe how it happened, why it happened and what could be done to either prevent it or make it happen again depending on the situation. So I'm sure there are, you know, there's a ton of articles and there's tools about how you get to know someone and even set up a project plan and things like that. But I think it's the organic conversations that, that help. And especially when you think about when we're talking about diversity and equity and things like that and you're sharing your experience, to me that's where it comes out, right? It's in the sharing of the stories that's showing the diversity of your background, your experience, how you deal with a situation. Cause everyone deals with things differently. So, but giving that insight into it I think is the most helpful.

Rianka: 33:56 I agree. And that was kind of a trick question, Kate, and you answered it spot on, because.

Kate: 34:01 You know...

Rianka: 34:04 You know I had to throw a little one in there because you know, people are like, oh, I, I'm, I'm too young to be a mentor or I can't be a mentor. And it's like, no, we need more mentors.

Kate: 34:15 Absolutely. Yes. We just, it's a natural curiosity we all need to have because I learned from, oh my goodness, the Next Gen folks that I talked to, I learned so much from all the time. Yeah. I think that's fantastic. From you, from Lazetta, from Sophia Bera, from so many young people that I talk to who teach me things, folks at TD Ameritrade, you know, it's, it's definitely a two way street and you're not never too young to be a mentor. I get mentored by my nieces and nephews all the time,

Rianka: 34:46 so, so you don't have to go through a program to be a mentor. Just your life experiences, your career experiences will help the next person. And that next person may be older than you are, maybe younger than you. So don't, don't shy away from, you know, connecting and building some authentic relationships. So Kate, one more, two, a couple more questions for you and then I'll let you go because I know you're busy. You're probably about to jet set somewhere to a conference or something. So this is, this was something that you said and it resonated with me and I just wanted to reshare it and see if there was any further thought that you wanted to share with the listeners. Was that okay, when you practice diversity and inclusion, you give people equity. And I was like, wow, that is so true. Because when you here DEI or diversity, equity and inclusion, most people just focus on diversity. They really don't have a true definition of inclusion or equity. But what you shared with me one time was when you practice diversity and inclusion, you give people equity. What do you mean by that?

Kate: 35:55 It's really just, opening yourself up to new ideas. Right? So, so bringing diversity into your firm. And again, diversity is, it's gender, it's racial, it's of thought, it's of geographies, of age. There are so many different parts to diversity, but the inclusion piece is where you're actually listening to people. They have a seat at the table, they have a voice at the table so that you are, you're conducting yourself in a way where if you notice someone's not talking, maybe they're an introvert or maybe they're, it's the first time they'd been at "The Big Table" and I just put quotes around that, and they're, they don't know how to act, draw them out. You can ask questions, you can make sure that those different points of view are being heard. And that's really what's leading to equity, right? Equity is, it's being fair. It's making sure that not everyone doesn't have this same thing, but that they have the same opportunities that they are able to think about what someone needs to be advanced in your company.

Kate: 36:55 Then think about, well, what are the barriers? What are the things that maybe you're not doing or you didn't realize that could be stopping people. It could be your, your policies around remote work or around maternity and paternity leave. There's so many different things that could be affecting someone, but thinking through of how you make sure that you're being fair to everyone. It doesn't have to be the same thing for every every person. It's what's right for that person that's going to help them feel like they're in it. You know, we talk a lot about creating an environment where you can bring your full self to work and that means that you are allowing people to be themselves. But you're allowing them to have their voice and they're sharing that voice. Cause that's the whole part of, it's great to have diversity, but if you're not listening to them, if you're not allowing them to bring ideas to the table or bring different ways of working to the table, then it's, it was for naught.

Kate: 37:53 It's not doing anything. I was speaking yesterday on a panel and one of my favorite things, and I can't even remember where I found it, but it's just as simple as four plus five equals nine, but so does six plus three. So you can get to the answer in different ways. And that's something that we need to think about, right? The way that we did something doesn't always have to be the only way. It may not even be the best way. So allowing that diversity of thought by including people into your processes, that's going to help you get better. And that's going to be what starts to give people equity. Make sure that they're getting the access, the opportunities to advance to get to those next levels. It's allowing everyone to have their voice.

Rianka: 38:41 Yes. Yes. Kate. Yes, I can hear applause in the background there. Preach! So my last question for you, and this is kind of like in general, something that we may not have touched on or something that you just want to emphasize. You know, what are some best practices in your professional life that you have seen that you want to make sure you see duplicated?

Kate: 39:11 You know, some of it is just being intentional, right? Diversity, equity, inclusion. It's hard and I think people get overwhelmed by, Oh, I can't do that. I live in an area where I can't hire more diverse people cause they, they're not around here or I only have one spot to hire. I need to make sure it's a hire that's going to be the right fit for my culture and people back away, or they don't realize the, the change that is happening in this country. I know this is 2050 TrailBlazers. I often speak about, there's a bunch of stats. It's happening so quickly that this world is changing. I live in one of the states that, is already, a majority minority state by school-aged children, meaning that there is no one, majority of any race in our schools in New Jersey today.

Kate: 39:59 The world is different and so you have to get comfortable with it, but it's okay to feel that it's going to be a little bit hard to change and no one is going to get it right at the first time they do it or even the second or third time they do it. But it's being intentional about trying to think about why are you not bringing other people into your, into your offices, into your client base, into whatever that is. Why is that? Is it that you're afraid? Is it that you think you don't have the capabilities? There are ways to learn. There are ways to expand the opportunity. You know, I often say that with the advent of 23 and Me, and Ancestry.com I think some of our diversity numbers are just going to go up because people are going to realize that they are much more diverse than they thought. And we really all just have to learn. I love what you say about making us the mosaic, not a melting pot. We don't all want to be the same. It's okay for us all to be different. That's the beauty of this country and just the beauty of being a human.

Rianka: 40:59 Yeah.

Kate: 41:00 But I think that people need to realize this is hard. I always struggle with, am I using the right words? Am I am I, you know, as a white woman putting myself out there, could, should I even be talking about this? It's okay to feel that way and it's okay to, so you and Lazetta are great sounding boards for me to talk through these things with. That's OK if you're coming into it with a good heart and an open mind and curiosity, but you're also doing the learning on your own. Don't, I don't expect you and Lazetta to teach me everything. You know, I've got to do the research, too, but you can help refine maybe answer questions. I think that's something that we all need to, to think about. It's okay to know that this is hard and that we're going to make incremental steps and we're going to stumble.

Kate: 41:46 But we all are in this together. I will, you know, you mentioned, I, I'm out in the industry a ton.BI was at a session a few months ago with the CFP board. We had a diversity, equity and inclusion session with many of the firms in financial services and we're all facing the same challenges. And we all just, we talked about, we shared great best practices and we all said, oh, this was fantastic. When are we doing it again? Because we all realize it's, it's something we're all facing and I think that's what people need to just really think about. It's okay to be a little bit scared and to be unsure of what you're doing. There's a lot of education out here. Oh my goodness. Listen to 2050 TrailBlazers cause you've done a great job and actually have a, an idea for you for whole nother, especially in our series or bonus episode, but you've done so many episodes on cultural competencies that I've started to incorporate into a lot of the talks that I give. I think you need to pull them all together and just do one whole session on them because you've really touched on African American, Asian LGBTQ, so many different areas that I think people are just afraid. They don't know what they don't know and they're afraid to offend.

Rianka: 43:00 Yeah.

Kate: 43:01 And I think learning about it and being okay with that curiosity and coming at it with a good heart helps a lot. Rianka: 43:08 Oh, well thank you, Kate. Right there. Put a pin in it. Well, I mean thank you so much and I'll, and as always like thank you for being a huge supporter and advocate, advo-Kate for 2050 TrailBlazers. I'm saying an advo-Kate because Kate has a newsletter that she sends out. I don't know if you are subscribed to it. If you're not, I'll put it in the show notes. Just send me the link. And I'll, I'll make sure.

Kate: 43:39 Yes, it's a blog, yeah.

New Speaker: 43:40 It's a blog it's really cool. And so Kate not only talks the talk but she walks it as well. And you know, I've learned a lot through the last season, season three money and culture as well. That, and I have, created a presentation around it, a presentation more so of kind of like actionable steps, talk, you know, thoughts. So that it's just more so of just me talking, but it's engaging the audience as well.

Rianka: 44:08 About how increasing your culture competencies can best serve clients, right. Because with everything that we do in the financial planning space, in the financial service industry, the clients, the customer is in the center. And it's like if we just become a little bit more aware than what we are used to and become intentional about learning about different cultures, then remember culture has a huge definition. Then we can better serve our clients. And then also we can be a better colleague to one another. So yes, Kate, let's talk offline about that. Those ideas. She's already.

Kate: 44:44 Absolutely.

Rianka: 44:45 and the thing with Kate is she's going to make sure I do it too. So, well Kate, I'm pretty sure.

Kate: 44:52 That's what friends are for.

Rianka: 44:52 Yeah, we could, literally, we can talk for hours. So I just want to say thank you so much for imparting your wisdom with the listeners here on 2050 TrailBlazers. You are always welcome to come back and, and share. So I just want to say thank you and thank you for being a leader. One of the leaders that, is truly promoting, advocating, and sponsoring people from different walks of life to make sure that they are seen and get exposure. So thank you so much.

Kate: 45:24 Well thank you Rianka for having me on this, on this episode. I'm so excited and for all that you're doing cause trailblazers 2050 is just phenomenal and it's a great teaching moment for everybody. So if you're not subscribing, you need to subscribe.

Rianka: 45:40 Yeah.

Kate: 45:40 But thank you for all that you do as well. And I'm hoping I'm going to see you on the conference trail cause I head out in a few days, for the fall season.

Rianka: 45:48 I'm sure I'll be seeing you soon.

Kate: 45:51 Awesome.

Rianka: 45:52 Thank you so much Kate.

Kate: 45:54 Thanks, Rianka.