Corporations are posting and sharing their stance in support of racial equality. The CEO of my company, one of the largest asset management companies in the world, along with his diverse executive team, clearly expressed his disdain over the recent instances of racial bigotry exhibited throughout our nation. I remember when I started at my company two years ago, I was surprised by how much inclusion and diversity was being discussed. This was especially surprising since finance is a historically white male driven industry. The problem, I soon realized, was that it was more talk than actual action. Today, I heard our CEO say that we need to take a look inside ourselves because it is clear that the company is not where it needs to be. He expressed that he is shocked at all of our own behaviors. “We are all responsible” for racial equality was echoed throughout the call and everyone was reminded that this cannot be some abstract “touchy feely thing”, but has to be real change. We all need to be held accountable. I am thankful to be at a company where the top has such strong feelings about these racial injustices. It starts at the top
Now, my issue is that I know people do not leave companies, they leave managers. It is usually department heads and managers who take it upon themselves to do as they feel and most times, at the expense of others. The diversity and inclusion initiatives are not new to my company. I have just found that managers still choose to do as they please for as long as they can get away with it and not concern themselves with racial equality in the workplace. I spoke about a specific incident that happened to me in this post not too long ago. The larger company has systems in place with initiatives there for a reason but then it’s the individuals who skew those in their favor. I want to know how various CEO’s messages and plans will be received by the levels much further down the executive ladder. It is equally as important for the message at the top to move down throughout the company. Managers need to be held accountable and need to show where they have upheld the inclusion and diversity initiatives. Or have they simply allowed their privilege to create a team to their liking. There is so much more needed to fix this. It’s one thing for a company to stand against racial injustice, I’m ready to see it in play all the way down, each and every department. Change has to happen at every level.
In addition to speaking to all the employees, a very public statement was made on racial diversity. Our CEO responded very quickly to racial diversity in the workforce and has committed to increasing the Black workforce by 30% by 2024. The firm will double its portion of senior leaders who are Black from its current 3% share. To start, managers at my company are setting up calls now and having open discussions about racial inequality. It is time for these conversations to begin and for those that have not spoken up before to have their voices heard. This is a start for change in the finance industry and I hope other companies will follow this lead. This change is long overdue but I am watching and hopeful for positive outcomes in the near future.
Thank you for reading,