Voices: I am a black woman advisor. Am I valued by this industry?
June 9, 2020 by Zaneilia Harris
(Editor’s note: As protesters march worldwide in response to the death of George Floyd at the hands of police, we are highlighting stories that address racism and inequality in the wealth management industry. This first ran March 8, 2019.)
There’s been a lot of talk lately about diversity and inclusion in the financial services industry, and how we can improve both. But to me, it’s just that — talk. Why? I need look no further than my own experience as a woman, minority financial advisor.
As I’ve grown my independent financial advisory firm, there have been few mentors, let alone sponsors, willing to counsel me along my journey. Once at an industry luncheon, I approached an older, well-respected female advisor. I introduced myself, hoping for a connection, and was stung by how she blatantly disregarded me. She didn’t look me in the eyes and didn’t want to shake my hand when I extended it. Mind you, we’d both spent hours seated at the same table and I was the only black woman at the event. I persisted in getting her to talk by asking about her journey as a woman in this industry but what I remember most about her is how she treated me like I was insignificant.