Continuing the D&I Journey: Partnering with INROADS to Develop the Next Generation of Talent

February 25, 2022

In September 2020, FSI President & CEO Dale Brown came to our Board with an idea: He wanted to launch a diversity and inclusion (D&I) initiative.

The aim was to increase industry representation among women and people of color and make sure every investor across the country gets the financial advice they deserve. The Board was quick to sign on.

We have since recruited a D&I Task Force comprised of financial advisors and member firm executives. In addition, we have invited our members to learn how to build diverse talent pipelines, develop more inclusive cultures and cultivate leaders at their firm. As we continue on this journey, we seek new ways to partner with outside organizations to drive change in our industry.

To that end, we were proud to recently announce a partnership with INROADS, a non-profit organization devoted to advancing the professional success of young people from ethnically diverse backgrounds.

Through this alliance, we will provide our member firms and sponsors with ways to advance their D&I efforts, such as mentorship programs, internships that will bring young, diverse talent into the financial services industry, and opportunities to provide financial education to underserved communities. 

Brown announced the partnership earlier this year alongside INROADS President & CEO Forest T. Harper, Jr. at FSI OneVoice 2022 in Dallas. Brown said he knows progress could be slow but indicated that we are committed to the cause for the long haul.

“We are excited to hit the ground running with INROADS,” he said. “The issues before us will not be easy to solve, but in the months and years to come, we will work to ensure not only that the industry works better for everyone but that it is more reflective of society. This mission is crucial to ensuring every investor is able to save for retirement and reach their financial goals.”

Forest Harper, INROADS
Forest Harper

Harper said his organization – founded over 50 years ago – is uniquely prepared to take on this challenge with FSI and our members.

“This is not a moment – it’s a movement,” he said. “FSI is the perfect partner for mobilizing our commitment. Our priorities align, and together, we will increase the presence, readiness and visibility of financial advisers of color.”

INROADS 50+ Year History of Success

Since 1970, INROADS has partnered with various large companies in an effort to close the -racial wealth gap. The mission is to create opportunities for underserved youth to develop leadership skills, secure paid internships and enter corporate America – the pathway to middle-class income and wealth creation.

And its efforts have been paying off. Today, INROADS boasts over 200 corporate clients and more than 30,000 successful alumni.

A recent study found that of 1,000 randomly selected INROADS alumni, 40% have a net worth of $500,000 – $5 million. That compares favorably to the 37% of college-educated white households with incomes in the same range.

Meanwhile, a 2020 Citibank report spotlighted INROADS as one of a handful of notable organizations that successfully promote academic achievements and steppingstones into business success.

INROADS believes there are several areas where it can help us advance our D&I vision, including:

  • Increasing Industry Representation – Expose minority high school and college students to financial services and encourage them to consider the industry as a career option.
  • Financial Education – Create the opportunity to educate underserved communities on how best to manage their finances.
  • Closing the Wealth Gap – Scale INROADS’ demonstrated success in helping to build wealth among its alumni.

Creating A Unique Roadmap for Your Firm

INROADS will work closely with FSI member firms and sponsors to build a roadmap that reflects their specific diversity and inclusion goals while addressing each firm’s challenges and opportunities.

This is not a moment – it’s a movement,

Forest Harper, INROADS President & CEO

As part of each roadmap, INROADS will look to create mentorships that will further high school and college students’ professional development and help foster more diverse and inclusive work environments.

This hands-on, holistic approach not only allows for coordination with a firm’s existing diversity and inclusion programs but acknowledges that one-size-fits-all solutions do not address each firm’s unique needs adequately.

Harper has a message for our members.

“We have a talent pool of over 5,000 students looking for paid internships this summer,” he said. “Welcoming some of these individuals into your firm as paid interns is the start of a continuum, where they would come back the following summer to build on their skills, and then hopefully get a chance for full-time employment.”

Be Part of the FSI-INROADS Partnership

If you would like to learn more about how your firm can partner with INROADS and start making a difference in the lives of underserved youths and communities, please fill out this form.

FSI Membership