New York is my favorite city in the country to visit. I fell in love with it as a teenager and have visited dozens of times since on business and for vacation. I was back in NY recently to move my freshman daughter into her dorm in Manhattan and had the opportunity to walk the Financial District for the first time, including a walk by the New York Stock Exchange.
There I was able to snap a picture of the infamous “Fearless Girl” that stands outside the entrance of the Exchange. The plaque below the statue reads, “Know the power of women in leadership. SHE makes a difference.”
Despite the criticisms of the statue’s economic motive, to advertise an ETF from State Street Global Advisors, I found the symbolism moving; and not only because I was emotionally fragile on the eve of moving my oldest into her freshman dorm.
There are miles to go to address gender equity. Of Fortune 500 companies, only 41 are led by females (the all-time high). Data on board compensation also leans heavily towards males, but at least at the board level the trend seems to be towards greater equity. In 2019, Fortune 500 companies appointed 467 new board members, 44% of those were women, up from 40% of new officers the year prior. Not yet equity, but progress.
Earlier this summer, we delivered a presentation on our thoughts and plans for the future as a firm. COVID has provided us the space and perspective to think about our role as an employer. We find that the same Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) questions the committees we work with have are the same issues we are working hard to address within our organization.
We continue to discuss our role.
- Environment – How can we minimize negative impact on the natural world?
- Social – How do our policies impact people and relationships?
- Governance – What are our standards for the operation of a business?
We committed then and continue to work towards creating an organization that lives up to our ideals by broadening our employee ownership pool, developing a client forum to inform our strategic planning, and to maintain companywide EEOC tracking to ensure gender and racial equity are monitored as are other metrics for the operation of our practice.
As we move closer to a broader reopening of our physical office, we’ve built significantly more flexibility into when and whether employees return thereby allowing parents of both genders to do the difficult work of caring for children during this pandemic. I remember fondly (with benefit of hindsight) the earliest days of the firm as my oldest was a newborn playing on the floor in the same basement where we were launching a new firm.
As a firm we are committed to the side of progress, and we know and expect that our clients will hold us to that ideal.
If you’re interested in replaying our webinar on what the future holds, you can visit the replay here.
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