Transforming into the Employer of Choice

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Mark Tibergien is the CEO of Advisor Solutions at BNY Mellon | Pershing. His organization is unique in that 51% of his employees at Advisor Solutions are women, and 42% of his Advisor Solutions team are people of color or who come from racially and ethnically diverse backgrounds. 

Mark has prioritized being an employer of choice for minority groups - and wants to inspire other advisors and leaders in the financial planning profession to do the same.

Firms who are part of the Pershing network are generally in the process of transitioning from practice to business to enterprise, but are still suffering from the challenge that, within the financial planning profession, only 23% of advisors are women, and only 8% of advisors are people of color. 

This has been a chronic problem in the profession, and Mark is working to help other financial planning firms start to reflect the population of the United States that they serve.

Mark’s goal is to help others who may be unsure of how to help support the DEI movement in the financial planning profession get involved. He’s passing the microphone to women and people of color at his conferences, and through other avenues within his platform, and encouraging them to tell their stories. 

In this episode, Mark is discussing how advisory businesses can support a more diverse financial planning culture, why being committed to elevating others is critical, and so much more.

What You’ll Learn:

  • How Mark is prioritizing intentional hiring with diversity and equity in mind

  • How Pershing Advisor Solutions is supporting the DEI movement within the financial planning profession

  • Ways you can take your firm to a global perspective

  • How you can adjust your hiring process to prioritize diversity and building a staff that represents the population you serve

  • The importance of building an inclusive work culture

  • How to create an environment where motivated people will flourish

  • Why DEI is even more important in a bear market

Show Notes:

Episode Transcript

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

Mark: 00:03 Thank you for having me. Looking forward to it.

Rianka: 00:05 Oh my goodness. I, I'm very excited to have you on. You know, I met mark a couple of years ago, I think it's been now and then we became a bit closer as we both sit on boards within the CFP Board, center for financial planning. You know when you have a seat at the table and you sit with leaders like Mark, you hear them speak their truth. But this is behind closed doors so it's a bit easier I think to share your truth. But with Mark, I've seen him not only share his true feelings about our profession behind closed doors and what we can be doing better within the realm of diversity, equity and inclusion, but also on stage. And he has written quite a few articles about it too, which is why I wanted to invite him on to 2050 TrailBlazers this season as we talk about best practices through the lens of diversity, equity, and inclusion. So thank you again Mark for saying yes and you said there is no question off the table.

Mark: 01:12 There are no questions off the table. And, and I just have to say that this is one of my great honors, I'm such an admirer of you in the work you're doing and the leadership that you're giving, not just to this cause, but to the industry that, this is an absolute treat for me. So thanks for having me.

Rianka: 01:30 Oh, thank you so much, Mark. Thank you. Thank you. So Mark, you, you are the CEO of Advisor Solutions within BNY Mellon's Pershing.

Mark: 01:44 Correct.

Rianka: 01:45 And we'll get into, you know, the, the organizational structure because I think it's important for listeners to understand, but you know, when we were chatting beforehand, I was surprised delightfully to learn some of the makeup of your organization. So women make up more than 51% more than half of, you know, the Advisor Solutions. And from a racially and ethnically standpoint, you know, individuals make up about 42% of the Advisor Solutions employees. So why do you think your company is the employer of choice for women and people of Color?

Mark: 02:26 Well, I think there are a number of reasons that drive it in. Frankly, this is part of the culture of BNY Mellon as well. I mean, as an organization we've long thought about the diversity of views as being critical. We try to think about how people are attentive to the ways in which we contemplate our strategy and execute our plans. And it happens that Pershing itself is an 80 year old company that just has a very community centric orientation about it. I think the fact that we're present where we are, helps us to attract many people of color. I think the fact that we have a conscious attitude about the slate of candidates we want to recruit to our business also makes us a compelling, our leadership reflects that makeup. So a big part of our attitude is let's make sure that we are recruiting and developing the right types of people. My COO is an example is Karen Novak. My head of platform strategy is Christina Townsend. And these are all individuals who have been driving an outcome that I think, helps us to become truly compelling. And when people start interviewing here, they say, you know, they're individuals that share my experiences, who look like me, who talk like me, who experienced things like me. And that just makes a big difference in becoming the right kind of company.

Rianka: 03:49 I agree. And you not only bring in, you know, with intention, interviewing, you know, diverse, you know, potential colleagues, you also make sure you bring in just outside practitioners and subject matter experts in front of the advisors that you are serving. And I can say firsthand that I, you know, have been a recipient of your leadership. You know, I spoke at the diversity summit for the CFP Board, last year and it was a Ted talk type style. And it was probably the hardest thing I've ever had to do in my career. And I've been a practicing financial planner for 10 years and this has been the hardest. And I tried to back out so many times, but, but Marilyn said, no, please. Like I was like, okay. But it was the most liberating feeling that I've had. And you know, after that you reached out to me and we had a joint board meeting the following day.

Rianka: 04:57 And, you know, I, I recall our conversation so vividly and then you invited me to come speak in front of your advisers that you serve, for your Elite Advisor Summit. And quite honored. I spoke in front of 200 advisors and you said, Rianka, you know, this has never been done before. So I don't know how this is gonna turn out, but I want you to come and speak your truth. I want you to share your experience as a woman, as a woman of color, and also as a thriving young professional of, you know, how can we make our advisors become the employer of choice. And so I came, I spoke, I talked about diversity, equity and inclusion, the difference between all three of those words, retention, how to not only attract but retain. And it was through your vision that this happened. So I want to ask you why was important. And then there was an incident that happened there that if you feel comfortable sharing, go ahead and share it. And it just also speaks to the culture of, you know, Pershing.

Mark: 06:09 And I'm so grateful that you did it, that you participated in the Elite Advisor Summit, as, as you know, Pershing, is different as an RIA custodian compared to the other firms who we hold in high regard in that we tend to focus on larger professionally managed growth oriented firms, that serve clients with complex lives. By nature, they are transitioning from practice to business to enterprise, but just like the rest of the financial planning industry, they suffer from the same challenge that, we're a profession that is only 23% women and only 8%, people of color. And this has been a chronic problem for as long as I can remember for at least the last 10 years. But, probably since its inception. And in no way does it reflect the, the communities that we serve, nor the population of our country.

Mark: 07:01 And so we have for years talked about the need to promote greater diversity, but we've not been seeing the needle move at all. So at our last Elite Advisors Summit, Ben Harrison who heads up the business development for Pershing and I talked about what would this program look like if we could be even more provocative, more stimulating, more thoughtful about getting people to contemplate what the future would be. And in fact, that was a unique event in that we had, probably more women and more people of color speaking, than we did white men at that particular event. Which was a conscious decision, in that we wanted people to be aware that there are successful individuals that have something to say to everybody in the room. And so one of the reasons that I felt it was important to have you be there is because we've been talking to bosses all the time.

Mark: 07:59 We've been talking to people who started firms to hire firms, but what they never heard was somebody who's actually worked somewhere else. Say, why did I ultimately decide to start my own firm? And what was it about the places that I worked before that caused me to recognize employers are not ready to hire people like me. And I thought that was such a critical message because we tend to play golf at our own clubs or socialize at our own restaurants or living our own gated communities and maybe not have a chance to listen and truly hear the stories that should be told. And I thought that was the power of your, of your message. And what I especially loved about the presentation was that, you didn't hold back either. You told the truth as you normally do, and which is exactly what we try to get out of our educational experiences is a, is challenge.

Mark: 08:55 Make uncomfortable. There's an old line that says the oyster makes the pearl when they get irritated. And, and so that was part of our thought process here. So in the middle of this, as you were speaking your truth, as you say, there was a, one of the people in the room was a, a prospect a breakaway prospect of a large team from a, from another firm. And, then he was sitting in the back at a round table and obviously whatever you were saying was getting under his skin and he turned around to other people at the, at the table. He says, can you believe this crap? And everybody else, all white men, by the way, everybody else said yes, and we want to listen to her so turn around and shut up. And it was like one of those, I was, happened to be standing back there and it was one of those most amazing dynamics that, just inspired me.

Mark: 09:52 And it turns out we decided not to recruit this person. The, the idea of, thinking about our culture in different ways, is, is truly important. And that includes the people we serve. I mean, we've made a conscious decision to terminate client relationships, not necessarily because they're unprofitable, but because of the way in which they treat our people or the way in which they behave. And these are things that are truly critical to, how we want people to show a respect going forward. And there's, there's this whole notion, in fact, the navy seals, although they're having their own problems these days, but there's this whole notion that if you observe the training of the Navy Seals, one of the things they do is on one axis they have high performance. And on the other axis is trust and what they, what they would rather have is a modest performer in high trust versus the other, because they believe that they have, if they have a high performer with low trust, that they create monsters that are toxic to their organizations. And, we hope that within BNY Mellon Pershing, that we can represent those same qualities both in the people we serve and the people who work within our organization.

Rianka: 11:11 Yes. And thank you. And, you know, a colleague, shared, a colleague of Pershing shared that story with me I think a couple of weeks later, you know, because it was just a really great talk. And even afterwards people were coming up to me saying, we're going to try to implement something and, and, and just thank you. Cause it, it opened their eyes. Right. And it's like until you are exposed to something that you've never been exposed to, you don't know that there could be another way of doing something right. So there's no right or wrong answer, you know, we can get to the same goal but in different ways, in different avenues. And you know, for, for you all to say no to a prospect, not only are you saying no to this person, this firm, but also to revenue. And that speaks very highly of of the culture that you are building and continuing to build. And I believe will continue to thrive as we're in this ever changing landscape of the world. Not only in America, but globally, ever changing landscape.

Mark: 12:20 You know, it's an interesting concept. People often bring that a notion to us. And, and I think much like the fiduciary advisory movement has evolved, the role of the custodian or the broker dealer, or the trust company has evolved as well in that we have to understand, our responsibility, to the people who work within our organizations as well as to the cultures that we're trying to build. And there's a lot that we don't know. I mean, I, I grew up in the upper peninsula of Michigan. There were no ethnic minorities up there except Native Americans. And, and to finally go to college or moving to a big city like Chicago is, I did, you begin to realize how much you don't know and how, all the biases that are created just from being isolated from real human contact with others, is shameful.

Mark: 13:15 But it's because of ignorance and naivety. And, and when you begin to look at things through those eyes, you realize that as I look at the faces of the people within this organization and, and realize how badly they can be treated inadvertently or on purpose. You have to be protective of that. You have to be supportive of them if you want to create the right kind of business. So short term revenue has never been satisfying or fulfilling because ultimately you're going to have to deal with the problem anyhow, no matter how much revenue it generates for you.

Rianka: 13:46 Yeah, absolutely. And especially if it's a toxic client, you know, it's, it's like a cancer first it starts very small and then it can spread. So you, we've mentioned, a couple of different names. We've said BNY Mellon, BNY Mellon Pershing. And so for the listeners who may not be familiar with your organization or the organization structure, can you give us a breakdown of how is structured?

Mark: 14:17 Sure. So, BNY Mellon, so the BNY is Bank of New York and the Mellon is the old Mellon Organization. Mellon being more of an investment management firm and Bank of New York, being, a bank that was founded by Alexander Hamilton several hundred, couple of hundred years ago. And, as a combined entity it acquired Pershing, which was formed about 80 years ago to be a clearing and custodial firm to broker dealers and RIAs. So what's important to know about BNY Mellon in its current construct is, we are the largest custodian in the world. There's about 35, 34, $35 trillion of assets, globally held on our platform. We do business on virtually every continent, I think in 35 countries. We're, we're diverse ethnically just by virtue of, the places that we do business from the Middle East to Africa, to Latin America too, throughout Europe and Asia.

Mark: 15:21 So, the, being a global organization, we tend to think and act and do things differently, but, our business as the largest custodian in the world, is significant. The role that Pershing plays within BNY Mellon is that, the original goal was to build it as a large clearing firm, but many things have changed in the broker dealer business. And the reality is that RIA assets have become a much more significant part of our business. I joined the company 12 years ago from Moss Adams. This is my seventh career, so I have a hard time keeping a job. But here I am. So, Pershing as a, as a business unit, grew $1 trillion in assets, two, almost $2 trillion today and over 700 billion of those assets are fiduciary or RIA assets. So, our own company is going through transformation just because the marketplace is going through transformation.

Mark: 16:26 And we've made a conscious decision to be serving, RIAs as well as broker dealers and banks and other financial institutions. So, long history, a couple of hundred years, Alexander Hamilton being, a noted founder of this country. You can imagine that every generation we've had to go through a transformation because our world, our economy, the way in which people do business, our financial structure has all forced us to think differently about where we are. So our ability to reinvent, I think has been one of the great cultural statements of this business. And our willingness to be open to change has been a true catalyst for our growth.

Rianka: 17:11 I definitely agree. And your company is definitely growing and growing very rapidly and with growth you need more, more people, you know, you know, to work for your company, you know, more employees, more colleagues, more more leaders and, you know, something that we talk about very often. So your company is very fortunate to have a director of, you know, diversity, equity and inclusion and the director of this and you know, there's intentionality behind hiring through the lens of, diversity and, and equity. However, there are small firms who in the small RIA space who may not have, I would say that the human capital or capacity to have this separate type of, position. So most of the time what I see is that, the hiring, you know, is within, let's call it the HR department and the HR department, I'm putting that in air quotes because it's probably one person who wears many different hats, 10 different hats in the firm, especially if it's a RIA firm.

Rianka: 18:27 And so, you know, small firms tend to typically go with what they're familiar with as far as like employees and hiring. I recently penned an article, you know, like we should start moving away from finding a culture fit and, and finding a culture add. And so for firms who may have a very small HR department or no HR department, what have you seen as best practices within the organizations and advisors that you all serve that has increased, you know, their level of diversity from a, from a gender perspective and a, racially and ethically perspective in their firms?

Mark: 19:15 Yeah, I think that's a good contrast. I mean, there is an advantage when you have 45 or 50,000 people that you can have specialists who are governing how we do things and individual businesses within a large enterprise that have to adhere to whatever standards are, are created. And so because of that, we're conscious, of the fact that women represent about 41% of the total, workforce. I think maybe 45% in the US but globally about 41%. And, and that, and that people of color represent a significant portion of the population of the working population as well. So we haven't achieved a perfection and we're not totally, in alignment with what the workforce is, but that's a big part of our strategy is to say get diverse that way. But then when I look at a small closely held businesses in a great part of my career, I ran a couple of small closely held businesses.

Mark: 20:15 I sold a small closely held business to a large accounting firm, which introduced me to disciplined approach to, to management. I've consulted with, with literally thousands of such firms. And, and I think that, I can say from those experiences that, we all have a tendency to rationalize our decisions, as being too small or not having enough time or not being aware of sufficient candidates in the marketplace. And the reality is that, there's a reason why small businesses are small and it's not always because the owners have a desire to be that way, but because they haven't been as effective in the recruitment. And the development of human capital the way they should. So I think one of the opinions that, that I've developed over time is that your very best employee is as important as your very best client.

Mark: 21:11 And so the question is how do you create that sort of attitude where, where not only do you hire the right people, but you become to rely on them as critical to your growth and you value them in the same way. The way that, that we tend to look at human capital is there really are three things that we're trying to be conscious of. First is the nature of the work. Can we be clear on what the type of role it is? Is it extraordinarily detailed role or is it more of a, of a, of a general role? Is the individual who's gonna work in it be a one ball juggler or they're going to be somebody who has a short attention span. So the nature of work, is critical and being conscious of how we define excellence within it.

Mark: 22:02 Once we're clear on the nature of the work in a small business or a big business, then we can become, more direct and more obvious in defining the nature of the worker. What kinds of individuals, what kinds of background or orientation, might, fit within that job. And that has nothing to do with ethnicity, ethnicity, nor gender. It has everything to do with the capabilities of the individual. In fact, I'd argue that it doesn't even have to do with education, that, that helps. But that's not necessarily the definition of success. The third, which is also critical for small businesses just as it is, in large businesses, is to be clear on the nature of the workplace. If you can define the nature of the work, then you can define the nature of the worker. And then you have to think about what kind of environment are you creating a, in order for both to function at an optimal level.

Mark: 23:00 Now I've long believed that you cannot motivate people. You can only demotivate them. So the job of leader is to create an environment in which motivated people will flourish. And what that essentially means is eliminating distractions as much as you can. When you do this, you tend to create a powerful dynamic organization in which everybody wants to, to grow and participate and contribute. But here's what typically happens within every firm, but it's especially noticeable in small firms is that the people we hire, we tend to forget that they are no longer new to the business. After a few years. They are no longer inexperienced or young or not connected to our clients. All those excuses that we tend to make. There was, there was, a great quote that, I tend to live by now, that a woman by the name of Jean Harris, who has kind of a checkered history, but, but she was a brilliant, leader of a school and she said that the greatest indignity that one person can commit against another is to underestimate them. And we do this by expecting a little of them. So when you kind of reflect on that, you think about all the jobs you've had or all the places you've worked or all the people you know, what is the tendency to underestimate the people we know and how do you think they perform probably exactly to your expectations. And so, this is where small business owners have to change their mindset of instead of looking at people as a cost to be managed, rather thinking of them as an asset on which to get a return.

Rianka: 24:42 Yes, and I'm, I'm definitely going to share your article that was recently penned in ThinkAdvisor when people come last. I will share it in the show notes for first time listeners. You can find the show notes at You can find Mark's episode there as well as you know, overview of this episode as well as any article that has been mentioned. Throughout the interview. We will make sure we put a link there so you can, you can check it out as well. But yes, that was a great article that you penned and you elaborated more in that article. So I will definitely make sure that it's in the show notes and it's called When People Come Last. You know, you also penned another article, What Will Become of Us earlier this summer. And, you had, you had the honor of interviewing, Simon Sinek who, you know, he, he has a book that's coming out later in the fall called the Infinite Game and you know, and you, you noted that he mentioned, you know, leaders with a finite mindset tend to think in terms of fixed rules, agreed upon objectives and known players.

Rianka: 26:01 Kind of like what you just mentioned here. So you can think baseball, hockey or soccer. And then there are leaders with the infinite mindset and they realize that there are both known and unknown players and that the goal is not to beat your opponent, right? Your, your goal is not to see what the other company is doing, but to stay in the game as long as possible. And in this article, which I'll share in the show notes as well, we gave or you gave a comparison of Apple and Microsoft and which I think is brilliant because Apple is steadily evolving and, and ahead of the innovation curve where Microsoft you know, we see where Microsoft is today. However, you know, in terms of our profession, how are you playing the infinite game?

Mark: 26:54 Yeah, that's a, that's a great example. So the, the notion of effect, it's interesting to watch the transformation. I'm not a technologist, but, having a home in Seattle, I've always been conscious of Microsoft. I remember meeting Bill Gates when I, when he was just starting out and I had moved to Seattle and I thought, man, this is about the nerdiest guy I've ever met in my life. And of course he has billions and I don't, so who knows what, so, but, but when he, when he wisely transitioned leadership to a professional manager, because he realized that his greatest impact was on innovation, that that person he put in charge tended to think in terms of the competitors and how do we beat the competitors.

Mark: 27:41 And so the obsession with beating, Apple, was kind of futile because Apple was only concerned about, serving their clients and improving education of students. And so you went from a one who was antagonistic and competitive towards the company and the other who was focused on creating the ultimate client experience. So when we look at financial services, I think that we have the same challenge. We have, many people are holier than thou. They tend to denigrate, other competitors in the business. I can't tell you the number of times I've heard RIAs just speak ill of their brethren on the brokerage side, not recognizing that, there are creeps and victors, on both sides of, of the platform. The registration is not, is not what significant. It's the behavior of the individuals. And that, throughout financial services, there are those who are deciding to serve, people who don't have any money at all, who are just trying to make planning choices and those who serve the ultra wealthy.

Mark: 28:51 So, I think as a, as a business, one of the things that I'm, I'm concerned about is that we're not conscious of the fact that, that our competitors may be being a firm that we do business with today. And that, slowly we are letting them intrude onto the way in which we do things. We're not recognizing that technology companies may come in and totally disrupt our relationship with clients. And we see examples of this like, like Personal Capital, which was created by Silicon Valley, experts, after what, five or six years, they had$10 billion of assets, and they operate under a fiduciary or an RIA charter. And so, you know, we can, to underestimate who those firms are and not take lessons from the way in which they function. And so one of the things that Simon Sinek talked about is that is that we don't really have competitors.

Mark: 29:53 We have worthy opponents. And by their nature, they reveal our weaknesses. And that's probably true in life too, isn't it? That, that when we think of individuals who can make us stronger or make us better or expose weaknesses, the question is, what are we going to do with that rather than why are we going to be defensive about it? And that that becomes our opportunity to think about what will this business become? Because it was a, it was an, an, an industry that was built for the most part around a very old way of thinking. And in fact, clients were thought of as investors, not as human beings. So when we begin changing our mindset about how we help individuals through their life cycle, helping them to navigate financial choices, not just that, allocate their assets, thinking in terms of, you know, how do they manage the liabilities? How do they manage cash flow? How do they manage savings? How do they manage investing? And these are all core elements in how this business will evolve. And my thinking is that we have to begin much earlier, by teaching financial literacy to young people to make them become better clients and possibly better financial professionals.

Rianka: 31:08 Absolutely. And just to put a plug in the there, you, you not only talk that talk, but you walk it as well, you know, back in your hometown, you sponsor a school, where you help with, you know, the funding of supporting the education behind financial literacy. Do you want to share a little bit about that?

Mark: 31:28 Yeah, that's, that's one of my proud moments. Several years ago, my wife and I, kind of recognize that we were just writing checks and that making a commitment or a sense of ownership to the things we believed in. And so we mutually agreed that we both would commit to two things that we felt passionate about. And one was a financial literacy for me. But I knew that, not being Bill Gates, I couldn't impact the country, but I could impact, communities where I either lived or grew up or I've done some things. So, I grew up in Gladstone, Michigan and the upper peninsula of Michigan. Now, most people who don't know the state think of only the hand, but the reality is that there's this whole big hunk of landmass that's north of the Mackinac Bridge called the upper peninsula.

Mark: 32:17 We are known as Uppers. The upper peninsula is one third of Michigan's landmass, but it's only 3% of the total population. It's remote. It's not economically dynamic. They have a huge opioid crisis, used to be dependent on timber and mining. They're seeing some resurgence due to tourism and other factors, but, we're not talking about a great deal of affluence. This is middle to lower middle class existence for the most part. And I was fortunate that, I still have many, many friends who chose to stay there after high school and I've remained in contact with them. And one of them in particular, one of my oldest friends at my request helped me with an introduction to the high school where there was a teacher who's always wanted to teach some elements of financial literacy. She in turn, retired after a couple of years and they turned it over to another teacher.

Mark: 33:18 Susan Beranek was the original one. Erika Fix, took it over. Erika has a background in politics and social studies and she was given this course to teach and she said, what are you talking about? So, this was 2008 or nine. About the time she took this over, she and her husband, also owned a construction company. So Susan taught Erika how to teach the program. And every lesson that Erika would teach, she's saying, God, this relates to my family. This is all the stuff that we're dealing with. And, so Erika was so inspired by what she was teaching that she went back to school at the University of Arizona to, expand this whole financial literacy program, where they first focus on financial choices a second, focusing on saving and investments, third on risk and taxes. And, ultimately from there, how do you build a long lasting financial life? And what's interesting over those years, this little town of Gladstone and this little high school where there's a hundred kids in the senior class has become the only k through 12 financial literacy program in the entire state of Michigan. And that includes a summer camp which I entered, which I, help to fund. And I'll just say, as a little brag point is, as this year and two years ago, that little town, Gladstone, Michigan, that little high school placed first and second in the stock market game against 400 other schools in the entire state of Michigan.

Rianka: 34:52 Wow. That, that's definitely a proud moment right there.

Mark: 34:56 That's pretty cool. But the impact on the kids is even prouder. So 60% of the senior class participate in what's an elective and, and Erika and Susan before her were just magnificent public school teachers and their ability to create excitement around taking control of your financial lives is just really inspiring to me.

Rianka: 35:19 Wow. Yes. And you know, the thing with those type of programs, Mark, I'll tell you, they have a ripple effect. And you know, it, it's, it's a ripple effect, not only in this generation, but generations to come. You know, just imagine if when we were younger, when you were younger, if you would have learned the type of information that the kids in the high school and, or the k through 12 are learning today, you know, we would probably make different, different financial decisions in our lives, you know?

Mark: 35:53 Oh, I, I can guarantee it. I mean, the choices that we as a family made were, were horrible. And, and I think of all the bad lessons that I learned in the beginning that I finally had to get reprogrammed to, to think properly. And, and so you just think about what a, you know, a lost decade in, in your pursuit of some degree of financial independence. You know, what a difference that would have made.

Rianka: 36:24 Yes. You know, Mark, as I'm sitting here and just listening to our conversation, I'm thinking, wow, like Mark is pretty cool. And you know, there are leaders out there who are leaders because of a title, right? And it's because of that title we have to follow them. And then there are leaders who may or may not have the title just so happens that you do have a title of CEO where we will want to follow because of the leadership and because of what you exude and because of truly who you are. And I'm thinking, you know, the listeners who are listening to 2050 TrailBlazers, there are a lot, there are students who listened to 2050 TrailBlazers, career changers, potential career changers. And they may be saying, you know what, I like Mark, I don't wanna work for that company. So you know, what would make a candidate stand out in your mind?

Mark: 37:22 Great question. And thank you for that. I'm a, I'm flattered by what you just said. I've, I've long believed that, there are some who lead by position and some who lead by persuasion. And, and I think, in our organization, throughout BNY Mellon Pershing, we've been fortunate to be surrounded by individuals who are less concerned about their title and the role and their position and more concerned about their mission. That had a lot, has allowed us to become the company we've become. And I think the same is true when we look at the individuals who we want to be part of our organization, that there's several things that we hold dear in fact I have a personal acronym that I took from, one of my previous companies, Moss Adams, the acronym is pillar, p i l l a r. The qualities that it represents how I judge people is how they demonstrate passion, which is the p.

Mark: 38:21 So when I look at pillar passion, integrity, they lead by example, how they, continue to learn, how they are accountable and most of all how they show respect for others. And so I use that as sort of a guideline for how I evaluate individuals. So as a, as a general guideline, that becomes key. The second, which I think whether you're working in an organization or aspire to work somewhere else is, how do you demonstrate, the courage of your convictions? How do you ask questions? How do you become prepared to talk to somebody as an adult? And, I think that the people who've worked here or the people who have, explored jobs here, come in as equals, not as subordinates. They come in believing that they're worthy of the conversation, that they're not rude or pompous or boastful, but that there are characteristics about them that say, you know, this is somebody I really would like to work with. And, and so qualities become more important than degrees or credentials or experiences. And those are some of the things that we would tend to look at.

Rianka: 39:39 This is something I've been thinking about. A lot, you know, we know that there's this inevitable, you know, bear market that's coming. I mean it's been, it's been predicted that it was supposed to happen four years, four years ago, and here we are still in a bull market. You know when it comes to diversity, equity and inclusion, it's, it's very important to companies in a bull market, right? It's, it's funded, you know, there are initiatives that are being pushed forward. There are positions sometimes created within an intentionality of increasing from a gender perspective, from an age perspective, from a, you know, background perspective of, of different employees and colleagues. That's the bear market. Excuse me. That's the bull market. Unfortunately, you know, what, what has been seen in the past is when a bear market comes, you know, there are programs and positions that get slashed, underfunded or unfunded and a lot of the times, again, you know, these are the DEI initiatives. Can you share what BNY Advisor Solutions will do when we hit the inevitable bear market and your thoughts in general on why it isn't a good idea or is a good idea. I'm kind of leading you to my answer to, to unfund these types of initiatives at companies.

Mark: 41:04 Well, I'll speak first to BNY in that, in the course of, developing the strategy we have at BNY, diversity inclusion is fundamental to our beliefs. So yes, there's an office of diversity and inclusion. But there's also a committee on which I'm a member, a CEO Advisory Committee on diversity and inclusion. And this is just a cornerstone of the strategy that Charlie Scharf and the executive committee of BNY have in terms of how we build the business. And frankly, we haven't always been in a bull market. And being in a, in a financial institution, we're subject to different things in many other firms. So, so earnings are not always as easy to come by as a pure investment firm. And in spite of that, we continue to fund what we think is a pretty critical business. So I think evidence is already there.

Mark: 41:58 But the second part of it is that, as a company, you have to take a longer view about people being critical to your future success. And, and so if you have that attitude, that human capital as, as important as financial capital, then you just have to recognize the diversity and inclusion is one of the, one of the cornerstones of that strategy and, and commit to it. So I'm less concerned about in our company it becoming a casualty of a downmarket because I think we've already experienced enough vibration, that if that had been an issue, we would've, we would've dealt with it. The, the, the bigger question that you're raising is, at some point I'm hoping for a transition where, diversity and inclusion becomes, becomes obsolete as a, as a strategy where it just becomes obvious that in a country where soon, like within the next 20 years, we will be a majority minority country where, today the total population is more women than men.

Mark: 43:09 Where, where, when we look at how we're going to drive success, that, having a broader slate of candidates, regardless of their ethnicity or religion or, or country of origin, or gender even makes a difference. So I think that going from a big broad strategy concept to individuals, at some point, each person has to think about how do they make themselves more valuable to the enterprise, in all the things they do. Rather than thinking in terms of what makes them different. And, and this is, this is a, a challenge I think as human beings that we have to contemplate, but there's no doubt about that. That, economic distress causes people to make what seemed to be simple decisions. But ultimately they tend to gut what is the culture of the business. And, all employees know whether you live your truth, they all know whether or not you believe in your mission. And they all know when you're just giving lip service, or bs-ing them on, on something that seems to be a popular, popular cultural statement rather than what is fundamental and core to our, I think in our case, the whole notion of building an organization that is diverse, because we benefit from the ideas and the energy that that brings, makes a difference in how we will becoming an enduring business, and have this whole, infinite mindset.

Rianka: 44:50 Love it. The infinite mindset. Wow. Thank you so much, Mark. Is there anything else you would like to share, you know, before, before I let you go today?

Mark: 45:00 I think that, I loved your questions. I love the opportunity to have this conversation. I think that what you've created with, with TrailBlazers is a, is an inspiring format and I hope individuals who listen to, to your program, really appreciate that there are champions like you who are trying to create a difference in the marketplace, that we have a long way to go, but it's not, it's not a series of mountains. It's a series of hills. And we have to think about what commitment that we have to make in order to change the mindset and the culture and the beliefs of employers and employees alike to make this a better industry and a better country.

Rianka: 45:42 Absolutely. And it's champions like you that keep me inspired, Mark, so thank you.

Mark: 45:47 You bet.