News / Info

Diversitas Wins Inaugural ThinkAdvisor Luminaries Award

What it means, why we won, and what’s next.

We started Diversitas five years ago with one goal in mind: make the financial planning profession and wealth management industry more inclusive through education, mentorship, and human connection. That focus has been at the heart of everything we do, and it has started to gain recognition nationwide.

Earlier this year, Diversitas was recognized as a member of the inaugural class of the ThinkAdvisor Luminaries in the Diversity and Inclusion category. Not only was the University of Akron’s Financial Planning Program the only school to be recognized by the award, we secured this win alongside some of the industry’s leading firms. It’s amazing to even be considered, but to win is a true testament to how our message is resonating in the industry.

So, what is the Luminaries Award?

The Luminaries Award as a whole honors firms and organizations that are driving the future of the wealth, investment and retirement industry. Within the award there are four categories: Diversity and Inclusion, Thought Leadership, Executive Leadership and Dealmaking/Growth. Diversitas was honored in the Diversity and Inclusion category, which was awarded to organizations that meaningfully embrace and strive to incorporate individuals of different ethnicities, genders, ages, religions, disabilities and sexual orientations through creative and effective programs.

The existence of this award in some ways validates the existence of Diversitas. We all know that the industry can do better. The question for years has been, how? That’s where we come in.

What is Diversitas doing?

Diversitas is the first and only program that brings together all of the pieces to the puzzle. Our events, including our annual symposium, involve students, career influencers (guidance counselors, high school teachers, principals, and college academic advisors, among others), industry leaders and professionals, and thought leaders in diversity. This meeting of minds helps us activate on our goal of attracting more women and people of diverse backgrounds into the financial industry and profession.

One way that this event sets us apart from other organizations is our focus on career influencers. Oftentimes, students don’t even know of the opportunities available in the wealth management industry or financial services as a whole. Educating them starts with educating centers of influence. We work with these high school and college level teachers, advisors, and faculty to help spread information on the financial planning industry and all the ways students of varying backgrounds can find success in financial services.

When the pandemic hit, we took the Diversitas symposium virtual. It was a move for safety, but ultimately led to an incredible outcome. Attendance skyrocketed. We went from 153 people attending our 2017 event, to 627 in 2020. On top of that growth, 413 of the attendees in 2020 were students. It’s clear that we are reaching our audience, and engaging far more students nationwide on what their futures could hold in the wealth management industry.

Our annual symposiums cover a wide range of topics – below are some of the main points we focused on in 2020:

  • Systemic and unconscious bias in financial services and ways to move forward.
  • lmproving diversity and inclusion in financial planning and wealth management.
  • lmpacting financial literacy: the collaborative power of educators and financial professionals.
  • Show me the money: scholarships and their impact (encouraging industry professionals and firms to fund scholarships).
  • Hidden truths about financial services (clearing up myths for career influencers).

All of these sessions are focused on providing actual advice to students and valuable information to career influencers. Resources to review, scholarships to pursue, organizations to connect with. Increasing diversity in wealth management takes more than lip service. It takes action and resources.

 What’s next for Diversitas?

Our annual symposium! After the success of last year’s nationwide program, we are back at it again. This year, the symposium will be virtual and free to attend. It’s taking place November 3rd from 12 pm – 3 pm ET and will be jam-packed with informative sessions from industry experts and rising stars. We’re excited to welcome nearly 30 Partner Universities this year, some of which will be hosting their own local events to coincide with the national virtual symposium.

Reflecting on our goal – to make the financial planning profession and wealth management industry more inclusive through education, mentorship, and human connection – we think we are in the perfect position to do just that. As we continue to gain recognition and grow our national and local events, we think Diversitas can have a real and long-lasting impact on the future of the industry.

So, do you want to be part of the future of wealth management?

If you’re interested in seeing why we won this year’s Luminaires award, register now!