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Diversitas’ Barry Mulholland Featured on ‘Conversations for Financial Planners’ Podcast

Diversitas organizer and University of Akron Professor Dr. Barry Mulholland was a guest on the “Conversations for Financial Planners” podcast hosted by Dominique Henderson, who is a trusted advisor and career coach.

In the episode, Mulholland and Henderson discuss the next generation of financial planners, Diversitas, and making a career change to the financial industry.

Mulholland talks about his upbringing, how it led to his career in financial planning (after making a switch from engineering), and how each step along the way provided additional opportunities for him to help others.

“I really love helping people, which is where the transition came, and that was almost 25 years ago,” Mulholland said. “My MBA program wanted to do something about financial literacy, so the dean invited me to create and teach a course, which started my next career path in academia.”

Mulholland is currently the Director of the Financial Planning Program and Associate Professor of Practice in the Department of Finance, College of Business at The University of Akron. He oversees program development and financial planning industry relationships, assists with student recruitment, and advises the industry-affiliated student organization.

“My core being is a teacher,” Mulholland said. “I found my spot. I love financial planning, and I love teaching, and I got to put them both together.”

His teaching includes personal finance, corporate finance, financial planning fundamentals, and the financial planning capstone course. He has led efforts to make financial planning technology available to universities. His research includes financial planning technology and life insurance consumer behavior.

Mulholland is also the Founder of Diversitas: Expanding Diversity in Wealth Management. Our signature symposium brings industry professionals together with career influencers and high school and university students to discuss why and how the wealth management industry and financial planning profession can become more inclusive.

“Part of what we do at Diversitas is openly talking about the underrepresentation in the industry,” Mulholland said. “We want students and career changers to know that it’s a known problem, and the people speaking at our events openly address it.”

Diversitas’ unique approach to changing the conversation is to have career influencers in the same room, such as teachers, guidance counselors, pastors, and members of the NAACP. Mulholland acknowledged that although change is slow in the industry, progress is being made.

“The bias that exists out there is based on old stereotypes, that financial planners are all salespeople, and we want to move away from that, so people understand it’s a profession that helps people,” Mulholland said. “We help people set their goals and then reach them.”

Mulholland encouraged others who are considering a career change into the financial industry to figure out what motivates them.

“Understand what drives you. We’re better able to serve those we help if we understand their motivations and biases,” he said. “Be willing to invest time in yourself. Passion will carry you where you need to go.”

Listen to the full episode here.