When you connect diversity to business outcomes, “people pay attention”
Very little about Lauryn Williams is typical. She’s a four-time Olympian who won three medals in two different sports. She was making six figures before she was old enough to drink. And she’s a certified financial planner. Which, given that she’s a black woman, is “almost like being a unicorn in the industry,” she said.
Sometimes, being one of very few black women in the field has its advantages. But sometimes it also means people look at her and have trouble thinking, that’s who I want to manage my money. She’s heard that pretty directly from guys who play in the NFL and NBA, in particular.
“I would think that a black player who has been raised by a black mother would be interested in the black female adviser, but I’ve actually been told, ‘that that’s not what money looks like,’” Williams said. “It’s kind of an awkward conversation to have. They believe that an old white man is the person that’s best equipped to help them handle their finances, because that’s all they’ve ever seen, and that’s their idea of what success and money and wealth look like.”
Like so many industries, the financial planning world in 2019 still skews heavily white and heavily male. Women and people of color are dramatically underrepresented in the profession across the board, but especially among certified financial planners — just 1.5% of CFPs are black, 2% are Hispanic or Latino, and 23% are women, according to a recent report from the Center for Financial Planning. The percentages have barely budged in years, despite study after study showing the myriad ways diversity benefits customers, employees and companies themselves...
by Samantha Fields
December 13, 2019