It isn’t often that you have the opportunity to go one-on-one with a former Olympian, much less one who has medaled in both the Winter and Summer Games.
Lauryn Williams, the first American woman to stand on the podium in both the Summer and Winter Olympic Games, and now a certified financial planner, spoke to our staff earlier this month about “Diversity in the Wealth Management Industry.”
Williams, who shared her personal story and offered candid advice on fostering diversity and inclusion in the workplace, said she decided to launch her own financial planning firm after receiving poor service from financial advisers who “were not receptive to creativity…and ultimately didn’t want to make financial planning fun and more accessible to the masses.”
“Events like this have become an important part of our ongoing effort to highlight a diverse range of voices and experiences at Adviser Investments,” CEO Dan Silver commented. “Experts like Lauryn Williams know our business better than most and can bring an informed perspective to the intersection of wealth management and broad societal inclusion.”
“As an elite international athlete and a woman of Trinidadian descent,” Williams said, “it dawned on me that it might be hard for firms to understand what I was passionate about creating…because none of them looked like me nor had they lived my financial experience.”
Adviser Investments hosted Williams as part of our Inclusion, Diversity and Equity at Adviser (IDEA) speaker series.
Our IDEA Committee promotes these eponymous qualities within our company and our industry. With ongoing education, awareness, open dialogue and community outreach, the committee strives to uphold a safe and inclusive workplace, while fostering growth and advancing best business practices.
As Williams noted, “Minorities are not meant to carry the burden of diversifying the industry alone. The more stories that are told, the better chance we have to make a meaningful change.”
She went on to stress the importance of a company-wide effort to create an inclusive, diverse workforce with greater representation at leadership levels. She also advised going beyond “surface-level” diversity.
“People are not one-dimensional, so [the financial industry’s] response should not be one-dimensional,” Williams said.