A few months ago I had a friend send me an audible book, BECOMING by Michelle Obama. I am going to speak blaspheme and admit that I wasn't very interested in the book. First Lady stories are just not that appealing to me, but I listened to it on a business trip. And I fell in love…
What we forget is that First Ladies aren't just extensions of their husbands, especially Michelle Obama. I had never paid much attention to where she was from (Southside of Chicago) and what schools she attended (Princeton and Harvard). Or that she had been a high-powered attorney before giving it up to work in the non-profit sector.
I loved the book and just this morning I finished up the Netflix documentary about her book tour. I am reminded of the single most important idea that I took away from BECOMING; seeing people "like us" accomplish great things plants the seed of possibility in us.
Michelle's work before, during and after her time in the White House has been focused on the idea of mentoring young people and showing them what is possible.
-She KNOWS that what she and Barack did by being the first Black President and First Lady broke through all of the barriers about what is possible for young Black people in this country.
-She KNOWS that attending Princeton and Harvard Law coming from the Southside of Chicago broke through what many people thought was possible.
-She KNOWS that she has the power to inspire a sense of possibility in the minds of Black youth and she has dedicated herself to that work.
It doesn't matter if you are a Michelle Obama fan or not. There is a lesson in this for all of us and it was reinforced on our recent MAKING PLANNING ACCESSIBLE panel that was held inside the IMPLEMENTATION Monthly Mastermind group coaching program.
We had four successful Financial Advisors from different backgrounds share what historic and cultural things might be getting in the way of your ability to effectively work with more client's of color. We also talked about ideas on how we can make planning more accessible.
One of the key takeaways was that we need more advisors of color to really make a meaningful impact on attracting people of color as clients.
In order to attract more people of color to the profession, we need to:
Be present and share about our career at the elementary and middle school levels.
Deliberately create internships and entry level positions to expose young people to the career.
Mentor young advisors and employees from diverse backgrounds.
There was a time, not that long ago, that the only perceived career paths for women were to become either teachers or nurses. It has taken decades of trailblazing women to show us that the options are endless. The same thing applies to career paths for people of color.
Very few people believe they can become something that they have never seen before. Especially if they have never seen people "like them" in those roles.
Growing up, I knew one rich person and he owned real estate. I knew I wanted to grow up to be successful, so I purchased my first rental property when I was 18 years old. Long story as to how an 18 year old without a job purchased a house, but that's for another day. :-)
We emulate what we know. And every time we see someone "like us" do something, we begin to see it as possible! If we are serious about changing the face of the industry, we have to channel our inner Michelle and become mentors in every way that we can!
We have to be willing to be seen in our community. We need to take positions of leadership. We need to speak at career days. We need to mentor young people. We need to invest our time and money into internships and entry level jobs.
You might say, but I am White, how can I do this? The answer is that exposure and access are still gifts you can share. Young people might see you as "like them" because you live in their neighborhood. Or they may see you as "like them" because of your family story.
The key is that we need to make a conscious effort to expose young people of all backgrounds to this life-changing career path and mentoring is the most direct way to do that.
I challenge you to commit to three things that you can do to share your story and mentor in your community!
If you would like to see the full MAKING PLANNING ACCESSIBLE panel and resources, it is available on-demand inside the IMPLEMENTATION Monthly Mastermind.
The IMM is a group coaching program for advisors who want to build an Advice-based Practice that is both purpose-driven and profitable. We meet live once a month via Zoom. I share a new training each month and I spend time answering questions live with our Mastermind Members.
If you would like to try out IMM, you can get the first month absolutely free. You will get instant access to the IMM Archives of past trainings including the MAKING PLANNING ACCESSIBLE panel. If IMM isn't for you, you can cancel in the first month and be charged nothing. Or, if you love it you can stay with us and become a part of the IMM Community.
You can get your first month free here: IMPLEMENTATION Monthly Mastermind