Around the Table Episode 6: How Diversity and Inclusion is Personal

Around the Table Episode 6: How Diversity and Inclusion is Personal

June 13, 2019

LPL Financial

Diversity and inclusion is more than awareness. It’s more than a social responsibility. It’s more than a competitive advantage. It’s more than an employment strategy. It’s personal — and it affects everyone at some level.

Diversity and inclusion isn’t a vague, only-affects-someone-else concept. It’s a daily reality that shapes perceptions, influences behaviors, and drives experiences — including for financial advisors and their clients.

In this episode of “Around the Table,” LPL leaders and advisors share examples from their own experiences that demonstrate just how personal diversity and inclusion is.

One financial advisor discusses being mistaken for another advisor just because they have the same ethnic background. Another advisor cites an experience at a conference where she was assumed to be the spouse of a financial advisor — not a financial advisor herself — just because she’s a woman.

Understanding how various aspects of diversity and inclusion affect us can help us all be more understanding of and welcoming to others that aren’t like us. It’s critical in the financial planning business if we’re to reach new markets and prospective customers. And in the words of LPL’s CEO Dan Arnold, “it’s simply the right thing to do.”

Watch the complete episode for more insights on diversity and inclusion from people experiencing it on the frontlines of the financial planning business.

You can also watch the entire "Around the Table: Diversity and Inclusion" video series and learn more about what we’re doing at LPL to create a more diverse, inclusive culture.

Kathleen Zemaitis:  Well the interesting thing about diversity inclusion, is it's personal to each person's perspective, right. So what are some of the ways that you might have felt unheard in our industry?

Bobbie Meola:  I think for me one of the things that's frustrating is sometimes when I've been at conferences in the past, it is assumed that I am a spouse, or that I am an admin.

Kathleen Zemaitis:  Oh, my gosh. We hear that all the time. Yes.

Bobbi: Yeah.

Kathleen Zemaitis:  How does that make you feel?

Bobbie Meola:  It makes me sort of step back in time. Obviously I did come through the ranks and I'm very proud of that, but it's once you get here you want to be recognized for that and sometimes it's just assumed-

Kathleen Zemaitis:  Yeah.

Bobbie Meola:           ... because I am a woman-

Kathleen Zemaitis:  Yes.

Bobbie Meola:  ... so it's been a frustration.

Jason Valle: I was at a conference one of my very first conferences, I was 23 or 24 years old when I qualified, and I made the mistake of wearing a black and white suit. So I wore a white shirt with a black jacket.

Kathleen Zemaitis:  We know where this is going.

Jason Valle: Yeah. So I was walking around and you know I was trying to talk to people, but the assumption was that I was either the help or I was somebody's assistant or something like that to the point where I was holding a drink and somebody came and put their drink inside of mine. And so-

Kathleen Zemaitis:  Welcome to the conference.

Jason Valle:   Absolutely. No don't worry [inaudible] conferences.

Ye Su: Well, I experienced it, it wasn't that severe, but it was actually ironic, you know sort of sarcastic in a way. The super in our building keeps calling me a different name.

Kathleen Zemaitis:  Oh, no.

Ye Su: Turns out, it's the name of another advisor in my program who's also Chinese. You know, he's about my height, so I understand there could be a little mistaken here and there, but it depends on how you think about it.

Lauren Taylor:         Sure.

Marci Bair:    So do you think he just thinks there's one person? He knows there's two, but just...

Ye Su: We've worked in that building for five years.

Marci Bair:    No excuse.

Ye Su: He saw us day in and day out.

Marci Bair:    Uh-huh.

Ye Su: I mean go figure.

Jason Valle:   Right.

Ye Su: So...

Marci Bair:    You show up at the same time.

Bobbie Meola: "Just so you know, I'm him."

Ye Su: Well, we did one time.

Marci Bair:    Did you.

Ye Su: And he didn't-

Marci Bair: He still didn't.