When we say we’re going to do something—we follow through.
If you’ll remember back to Dave’s blog in July, we pledged to create new initiatives to encourage more diversity in financial services.
Importantly, we pledged that our efforts would be transparent, and we committed to being accountable for our efforts…and to place them into plain sight. As we’ve always strived to do with our clients, our team, and our interns, we want to move people forward.
Virtue signaling on social media may draw attention to the problem, but we wanted to actually do something.
After spending some time thinking, researching, and creating ideas, here’s what we came up with.
Focusing on the youth
Through a series of Team discussions to share our thoughts and ideas, we decided on a core group of people to focus on moving forward: the youth.
We will connect with diverse students from unique and challenged backgrounds to spark (or advance) an interest in wealth management as an area of future academic study and a career opportunity. If we enlighten and expose students to the industry, we hope to increase the probability they will pursue degrees and programs to prepare them for a successful career.
Our 2021 initiatives to increase diversity in financial services
With moving the youth forward as our primary mission, we set out to do some research on:
- Internship and externship programs that are already in place to provide opportunities for disadvantaged students and;
- Taking a more proactive approach to draw in more diverse applicants for our current Monument internship program.
After consulting with Community Foundation for Northern Virginia, the U. S. Chamber of Commerce, and various other community leaders (not to mention good old Google), we found our two matches:
Our Partnership with Urban Alliance
Urban Alliance partners with our local high school, T.C. Williams, to provide economically disadvantaged students who are on track to graduate with extensive 6-week pre-internship training followed by 500 hours of paid internship experience at a local business. They give the student check-ins and mentoring throughout the program, and the student finishes out the year with a presentation on their experience.
We’re looking forward to working with our first T.C Williams high school student from this program starting in fall 2021.
Our Partnership with Campagna Center
Campagna Center, an Alexandria-based non-profit focused on education, also partners with T.C. Williams high school but in a slightly different way. They work with either first-generation college-bound students, first-generation immigrants, students on a free lunch program, or students who currently have a C or below on exams. Along with weekly tutoring, college prep, and career advice, they offer a one-week externship three times per year.
We are excited to begin offering externships through this program beginning spring 2021.
Monument’s Small Business Internship
As you may already be aware, we’ve had an excellent internship program for years now at Monument, sometimes hosting up to 15 interns per year (not all at once!). Our internships have had various focuses, including asset management, financial planning, marketing, video production, and graphic design. We’ve also offered general internships with projects in all areas of our firm.
This year, to help increase diversity in financial services, we decided to make a more conscious effort to attract a more diverse applicant pool. One way we did this was posting the job description at women’s colleges and Historically Black Colleges and Universities. This has already resulted in a more diverse applicant pool than we’ve seen in the past, and we’re in the midst of interviews right now.
Through these opportunities, we hope that students will be inspired to pursue careers in wealth management, ultimately contributing to a more equitable, inclusive, and diverse financial industry.
However, even if it’s not wealth management they choose for the long run, we can provide an invaluable learning experience, where young people can be a part of an innovative, creative, entrepreneurial small business, like Monument.
That said, we stay in touch with our interns long after their internship is completed, provide them recommendations for future positions—wherever they may be—and these Monument “alumni” are some of the first we look to when full-time positions open at Monument.
How you can help
Please make suggestions on how you think we can increase diversity in financial services. This is a new initiative, and we realize that many of our clients, friends, and readers may have some good ideas that we could benefit from.
Let us hear them. We’d love everyone to contribute to our efforts in helping move people forward.
The Monument Team
Learn more about our Small Business Internship here!
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