Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Belonging

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging

What if we didn’t need a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Statement?

What if equity and equality were the standard? What if DEIB was so baked into our DNA as a work community that this statement, and all our DEIB efforts – including our committee, budget, surveys, and metrics – weren’t needed? How would we look and be? How much could we grow?

We envision a work community where equity is normal, where team members are sought out for their differences and appreciated in their entirety. A community where cloaking and micro-aggressions have no place, where ‘doing things the way they’ve always been done’ doesn’t exist. A learning organization where different perspectives are embraced, where team members know that when something bad happens in life, their work community genuinely cares. This vision fits with how we see ourselves now, and yet there is much work to be done.

Wealthspire Advisors® believes that we have much work to do in our organization, our profession, and our communities to advance Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging.

Though Wealthspire had been demonstrating the value of inclusion and advancement of women and purposefully developing our corporate culture, we acknowledge that – prior to 2020 – we had not sufficiently elevated the importance or the urgency of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging work in its entirety. The racial injustice events of the summer of 2020 and our employees’ reactions to them, made it clear that we must do more. Since that time, we have committed to consciously investing our focus and talent, as well as time and money, to prioritize this journey of awareness and change. We have realized that Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging is not only a moral responsibility, but a business imperative as well. We are grateful to learn from the work done by others and are open to sharing our own experiences as we continue down this path.

Wealthspire Advisors remains a work in progress when it comes to advancing equity, and we are on a path toward creating a more diverse and inclusive culture, from our leadership to processes throughout our organization.

We will continue to increase our investment and leadership in this space and to embrace transformative work in our organization at all levels. We will initiate and welcome efforts to expose organizational deficiencies and challenges that previously went unattended.

Belonging is central to the way we think about Inclusion, and it is foundational to our broader cultural beliefs.

Belonging is a hard-wired need of our humanity; it isn’t a program, policy, or a goal. While metrics are crucial in measuring gaps and progress, and insightful for course correction, Belonging is measured in the heart. It’s the sense of being truly valued in a community as your unique and total self, and of having friends at work. Belonging is woven into all types of everyday experiences and is fundamental to sustainable change and growth on our journey.

Our History

While our current efforts build on previous foundations, we had not sufficiently elevated the importance or the urgency of this work, and it had not permeated all areas of our organization. Even our concept of Diversity itself has become more diverse with a greater appreciation of all the elements that make individuals unique from one another. Being an industry leader in the representation of women isn’t enough.

In January of 2020, following the May 2019 merger of Sontag Advisory and Bronfman Rothschild that created Wealthspire, our leadership and staff, encompassing two thirds of our total firm, met together over four days to purposefully construct our desired culture. An emphasis on honoring people, transparency, collaboration, uniqueness, ownership, and flexibility created a powerful guide for moving our firm forward across many fronts.

Then in July of 2020, our DEIB Committee was formed with an initial Charter and voluntary membership that spanned across our offices and included a wide range of paygrades, job functions, ages, and backgrounds. Initial sub-committees were formed with the full committee providing guidance, questioning, feedback, and support. Over the course of the next year, as concepts, ideas, and actions were explored, we committed a dedicated budget and fleshed out our Charter to reflect a governance philosophy that empowered decision-making at the sub-committee level.

In August of 2021, Wealthspire announced five strategic priorities to carry us into 2025. Two of the five are directly related to our work in Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging – The Wealthspire Experience, and Broaden Our Impact.

Fingerprint of many different skin tones.

Our DEIB Framework

Our Diversity lens now includes not only a focus on race and ethnicity, but also on those who identify as LGBTQ+, people with disabilities, those of varying ages, and veterans. While we expect to evolve with our transformation, we’ve identified three primary areas as an initial framework for setting DEIB priorities:

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We’ve started with a strong belief that change must start ‘at home’. This includes vetting and offering educational programs to build awareness and compassion, periodically taking the pulse of our team, and shining light on areas where team members feel excluded so we can expand our understanding and make meaningful course corrections.

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This focus on Culture Add vs. Culture Fit includes investing in the pipeline, fostering belonging through mentorship programs, and creating transparent systems within our organization to hold our leadership team accountable well beyond initial hiring.

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Done well, financial planning is a caring profession and the Wealthspire team has a history of supporting charitable efforts. However, through a DEIB lens, our efforts are becoming more focused on sharing our talents with underserved communities and partnering with sponsors that help to change us even as we are helping them.

Our DEIB Committee’s Next Steps

Industry Engagement:

A new commitment to partner with the CFP® Board’s Center for Financial Planning in support of their Diversity Summit and Career Fair, which will also include a multi-year scholarship.

Ongoing Accountability:

Expanding and honing the measurement of relevant metrics for honest feedback, highlighting both our gaps and progress, and providing insight for course corrections.

Next Tier Systems and Processes:

Moving beyond HR metrics and employee impact to vendor relationships including investment management teams and sponsors.

Serving Others to Make Lives Better

Wealthspire Advisors strongly believes that advancing Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging is critical to the success and growth of our organization, our profession and communities, and the clients we serve. This ongoing work is key to living out each of our cultural beliefs.

We ask to be held accountable on our journey. We expect to learn as we go, from our own experiences as well as from others and welcome feedback as an important aspect of learning. We commit to taking thoughtful and meaningful action on racial justice and all forms of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging work. Please watch for updates to this statement as we transform. See how much we grow.

Our Cultural Beliefs

1 Inspire – I value our people and invest in our team.

2 Go Big – I fearlessly embrace opportunities to grow, serve more, and change lives.

3 Open Up! – I demonstrate transparency, listen with an open mind, and share honestly.

4 Succeed Together – I purposefully collaborate without boundaries to deliver our best.

5 Pursue Balance – I create a flexible environment where scale and efficiency complement uniqueness.

6 Own It – I own the path. I own the result.

Meet Our DEIB Committee Members

Laura Barry, CFP®, CeFT®

Managing Director

Laura joined the firm in 2004 as an experienced advisor...

Yoni Berhane, CFP®

Vice President

Jonathan joined the firm in 2016 with a strong background...

Katrina Capul

Human Resources Manager

Katrina serves as a Human Resources Manager based in our...

Samia L. Clookie (née Reed)), CFP®, FPQP™

Senior Advisor Associate

Samia is a Senior Advisor Associate in the firm’s Annapolis,...

Crystal Cox, MBA, CDFA®, CFP®

Senior Vice President

Crystal Cox is a financial advisor based in the Madison,...

Jay Frank, CFP®, CLU, ChFC®

Senior Vice President

Jay has been helping individuals and businesses with their planning...

Anora Gaudiano, CFP®

Assistant Vice President

Anora is a financial advisor in our New York office....

Zachary Gering, CFP®

Managing Director

Zachary Gering is a Managing Director, financial advisor, and also...

Carolyn Jerome

Director, Human Resources

Carolyn Jerome is a Director of Human Resources and is...

B. Kelly Keydel, CFP®, MBA, CDFA®

Managing Director

Kelly Keydel is a Managing Director and Financial Advisor based...

Myka Koenen, CFP®

Assistant Vice President

Myka has been with the firm since 2014 and serves...

Emily Kurisky

Assistant Vice President, Marketing & Communications

Emily is an Assistant Vice President and serves as the...

Mike LaMena, AIF®

Chief Executive Officer

Mike LaMena is the Chief Executive Officer of Wealthspire Advisors,...

Marilyn S. Napoli, CFP®

Senior Vice President

Marilyn Napoli joined the firm after a long and successful...

Vilas Naralakattu, FPQP™

Assistant Vice President, Director of Strategic Growth

Vilas is a member of the Strategic Growth team based...

Julie Penwell, CFP®

Assistant Vice President

Julie Penwell is an Assistant Vice President and financial advisor...

Emily Platt, CFP®

Assistant Vice President, Investments

Emily joined the firm as a client associate in 2017...

Eric Sontag, CFA®

President & Chief Operating Officer

Eric manages the general business practices and processes of Wealthspire...

Emily Tiernan

Senior Client Service Associate

Emily joined the firm in 2009 and serves as a...

Tatiana Dadykina, CFP®, CDFA®, AIF®

Assistant Vice President

Tatiana is an advisor based in our Annapolis, Maryland office....

Travis Walters

Assistant Vice President, Client Operations

Travis joined the firm in 2011 and serves as an...

Andrew S. Weissman, J.D., CFP®

Vice President, Senior Wealth Advisor

Andy is a Certified Financial Planner™ professional who excels at...

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