Change Needed: Take action to advance our industry and open the doors for all

Written by John Coyne, Chairman

We must strive to be moved by a generosity of spirit that will enable us to outgrow the hatred and conflicts of the past.” – Nelson Mandela


My daughter, Kelly, took my wife and I to Robben Island when she was studying in Cape Town, South Africa where Nelson Mandela served much of his 27 years imprisonment while fighting for racial justice and equality in his homeland.  Our guide was a fellow prisoner who was with him on this harsh, uninhabitable island.  He told us a story not of hatred and bitterness, but of hope and love.  It was impossible not to be moved by his words and the message of “generosity of spirit.”  Today, as a country and an industry, we need to embrace the same spirit with our behavior and more importantly our actions.  It will not be enough to engage in more platitudes and hand wringing but will require real action at every level of our personal and professional lives. 

I am fortunate to be involved in the Money Management Institute’s (MMI) Gateway Foundation since its inception and am honored to be its chair.  The program was created under the leadership of my former partner to help young people of color find meaningful employment in financial services. From the start, hundreds of students of color have been exposed to a myriad of opportunities that exist in the financial services industry.  We must do more, much more.

 A request to my friends and colleagues, we need to get behind creating a community in our profession that reflects the generosity of spirit that will lead to an industry that looks like America.

I once asked a young woman why she was interested in our business and she replied “I need a well-paying job to help my younger brothers and sisters get an education as I’m the first in my family to attend college.”  Most of us do not hear this as a motivation for a position.  I’m asking you, at the firm level and personally, to support MMI’s Gateway Foundation in growing this initiative in underrepresented communities.  I’ve never known a group of people more dedicated to making people’s lives better than all of you.  I hope you will take action and reach out to Shewanna Grasty, Director of the Gateway Foundation, and Craig Pfeiffer, MMI President and CEO, to ask what you can do to make this possible. Please consider making a donation to MMI’s Gateway Foundation.

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