Financial Changemakers – Starting the Conversation About Diversity and Inclusion

By: Gretchen Betts
Managing Director & Financial Planner
Magenta Financial Planning

In 2020 following the death of George Floyd we saw the Black Lives Matter movement hit international press. This sparked conversations in families, friendships and offices.

A death of a black man in police custody is of course, nothing new, but for some reason, for many white people I know, this highlighted some significant problems. Maybe it was lockdown and more time to reflect, maybe it was because of Trump and the escalated political rhetoric and language?  Either way, it really made me look at myself, my whiteness and my privilege.

I read lots, I listened to lots and I talked to people in our profession who form part of the BAME minority.

In the Summer of 2020, NextGen Planners hosted their online virtual conference and I heard Olivia Parnell, a young trainee planner from Ascot Lloyd speak. Like many, her presentation impacted me – and so, I reached out and asked her if she’d like to work on a project with me.

Fast forward six months, further lockdowns and late night research and interviews – and here we are – having just launched the first series of the Financial Changemakers podcast.

This podcast series is for you if you are interested in learning more about diversity and inclusion and are keen to embrace and make positive change in your life, business, management style or company ethos. It’s all about being open to addressing issues we have, trying to be less fragile and defensive in our reactions when challenged and thinking about language, culture and privilege.

We’ve covered a multitude of topics including Race, Gender, Age and Mental Health – with some really interesting interviewees – some from the financial planning community and some from further afield.

In each episode we try to talk about how diversity and inclusion in each area has an impact on the future of business, financial advice and also staff. Each time we end with a key take-away – so that, if nothing else – each listener can reflect on that and really start to make positive change.

This podcast series is about creating a safe place for discussion and ultimately enabling our listener, to be a Changemaker.

Episode one – starting the conversation

In this opening episode, myself and Olivia start our podcast with guests Rohan Sivajoti, Director & Head of Innovation at NextGen Planners and Amira Norris, Head of account management, Nucleus Financial Group.

Our conversation talks about the many strides we still need to take in the Financial Services Profession to really open the conversation, to learn together and to embrace and influence change in the profession.

Open, safe conversations are essential – because if not – nothing will change. By having open conversations and being willing to learn new things, we can help to dismantle the system of discrimination, and give people insight.

We talk about how the Black Lives Matter movement affected each of us and how we each reacted to it.

Rohan and Amira both have experienced being in the minority in the profession and show some real insight into this and how seeing people ‘like you’ in a profession – cognitive representation – really is massive when we talk about attracting more people to our profession as a career and also as clients.

Greater diversity and inclusivity in our businesses and when considering our marketing / styles / culture is vital to the future of financial advice.

We end the podcast discussing the variety of different topics we will cover in this podcast series – far beyond the standout topics of gender and race, including age discrimination and sexuality.

In this podcast series are keen to discover little take-aways that can help people to make small changes, that eventually will become much larger changes for our community and profession.

“To drive change you must be comfortable being uncomfortable” 

Financial Changemakers Podcast – Episode One – Key Takeaway

Listen to the Financial Changemakers Podcast, Episode One with Rohan Sivajoti of NextGen Planners and Amira Norris of Nucleus.

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