LPL’s Chief Diversity Officer: “Be Yourself”
At LPL, nurturing a diverse and inclusive work environment is a priority to be able to attract and retain talented employees. Chief Diversity Officer Lisa Toppin recently discussed how engaging and empowering employees delivers outcomes on not just employees, but clients and communities as well.
Why is it important to include diversity and inclusion (D&I) in a company’s business plans and concepts?
Lisa: Given the evolution of our business and popular culture, we have to think more broadly about who’s included in the answers to the questions we ask. It’s important to look at your business and your messages through different lenses. By bringing different perspectives and experiences into the workplace, we’ll achieve better results and solutions.
How does creating a culture of diversity and inclusion have that impact?
Lisa: Diversity and inclusion delivers so much to a business-both to employees and the bottom line. Its power begins inside with the employees who make up the company’s heart and soul. Having a culture of diversity and inclusion helps us attract, retain and engage the best employees. That creates positive waves that extend outside to clients and our communities. We believe that when employees are able to bring their whole selves to work, it creates happier, more engaged employees who do better work. That will reflect on our advisors’ experience and position us to be able to support a more diverse advisor and investor population.
I’ve talked to advisors who are excited that LPL has dedicated resources to support employee as well as advisor diversity. I hear from advisors who feel positive about what we’re doing inside the firm, and want to be a part of it. It’s a two-way street: Our employees are excited to figure out ways they can connect with and support advisors, and our advisors are saying they are pleased to see this commitment extend into the varying ways we do business. We just put together a team to focus on diversity and inclusion programming targeted to advisors. We’re very excited about the opportunity this brings to increase diversity in our industry and create resources that will help serve the financial needs of a more diverse population overall.
What are some of the ways LPL supports its culture of diversity and inclusion?
Lisa: We’ve come a long way since our Chief Human Capital Officer Sallie Larsen launched the vision just a few years ago. Today our diversity and inclusion programs are a powerful part of our culture. We have a Diversity Council made up of leaders who are committed to effecting change and eight Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), which are employee communities that work together for personal and professional development and on behalf of business initiatives. LPL’s Language of Diversity Guide gives us a common language, and we’ve produced several different series of articles, podcasts, and videos for employees that help us recognize and celebrate the many perspectives our employees bring to LPL.
All of these programs have contributed in a significant way to promote the culture. But our ERGs stand out as a way for our employees to connect and become more engaged in the workplace—and in the community. They help us recruit new talent, tackle community projects and advocate for our employees and advisors and the value in our workplace, as we did when LPL received a perfect score in Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index in 2017 and 2018.
Lisa, you recently won the Charlotte Business Journal’s 2018 Women in Business Achievement Award. Winners were asked to share advice they would give to themselves back in high school. What advice did you have for young Lisa?
Lisa: The essence of it was my actual high school quote: “Be yourself. Nobody can ever tell you you’re doing it wrong.” I didn’t understand how wise I was back then. Ultimately it’s what we’re telling others to do. Come to work, and be yourself. Figure out what sets you apart, and the world will celebrate you—and you will celebrate others.