The views and opinions expressed in these posts are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. 30% Club.
Eve Ellis is a financial advisor and portfolio manager in New York City.
When I was first invited to write a blog for this space, we were about a week away from electing our first female President. I was on my way to Miami to volunteer for Hillary Clinton for a few days.
I had made phone calls throughout the country and had spent a few days earlier in the campaign working on voter registration in Pennsylvania.
I, as most of you I assume, was confident that this time Hillary Clinton would become our President. But there was still work to do and no one was taking anything for granted.
Speaking with those on the fence was especially gratifying. (No need to engage with Trump supporters. They were not on my lists.) When I asked them if there was anything about Trump that scared them, they dove into monologues about how scary he was to them –sometimes on issues, sometimes centered on specific statements he had made. I didn’t need to do much persuading after that, especially when I told them I would never forget how Hillary, as my Senator, came to the rescue of the 9/11 first responders when she secured the money they had initially been promised that Congress refused.
I told them that I watched her, when she was First Lady, after her defeat of her efforts to secure healthcare for all. Instead of retreating after her loss, she fought and secured healthcare for 8 million children in our country.
I asked if there was anything they imagined she would do as our President that would be good for our country. They waxed eloquent.
What did I imagine?
I imagined a president who would appoint the first gender balanced Cabinet in American history. I imagined a president who would always remember the women in our workforce. I imagined a president with a focus on the children of our country. I imagined a president who would speak for LGBT fairness and racial fairness and economic fairness. I imagined a president who saw our country’s diversity as a core strength.
Not that President Obama had not been supportive. He had always embraced diversity and fairness. Remember his declaration on June 10, 2016 at the White House United State of Women Summit in which he pointed at himself, declaring this is what a feminist looks like.
But still. Hillary’s election would in her own person have brought a different imperative for female equality. Hillary, after all, is a woman who changed the world, not once but twice. Human Rights are Women’s Rights and Women’s Rights are Human Rights. 1995. Gay Rights are Human Rights. 2012.
All through the campaign, she made clear how women’s economic empowerment was economic empowerment for families.
Hillary focused loudly and clearly. You want to keep America great? Use the talents of all Americans. Build on our diversity.
She would have. But she did not win this election.
What does this mean for us, part of the 30% Club, who fight for diversity in corporate America? There are many of us who were somehow made invisible during the presidential campaign –folks on Wall Street and in corporate America — who fight for fairness.
I am one of these.
We are members of organizations you may never have heard of in which business leaders work to realize self-embraced commitments to diversity – organizations like the 30% Club, or 2020 Women on Boards or the 30% Coalition – which unite corporate leaders committed to fight for gender equality or groups like Out Leadership, that advises multinational corporations on LGBT issues, or Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow/Push which works on many social justice issues. The work of these organizations is often not adversarial. Business leaders are part of the solutions, while some are the problem. After Trump’s election, not surprisingly, many CEOs and business owners stepped forward to assure their workforce of the commitment to diversity.
Wall Street, in the end, is just a street, and many decent people work there. We are your friends and families too. You depend on us for many services – including your retirements, the growth of the company where you may work and the financing of your infra-structure projects.
Those of you who know me know that, as a financial advisor, I have created portfolios which seek financial gain because my investors and I invest only in companies that care about diversity. We believe diverse companies are the successful companies now and in the future. We also believe that diverse companies will outperform. We call this the Diversity Advantage. We put our money where our mouths are. We show our support for fair companies by investing in them.
My life’s passion is diversity in the workforce.
To me, a Trump White House is pale, male and stale. I don’t know about you but I don’t have a hundred years, give or take a few, to reach gender parity on corporate boards or fairness in pay or economic opportunity for people regardless of the color of their skin or their country of origin or sexual orientation or physical abilities.
I ask myself, “What would Hillary do?”
A visionary, a fighter, she would double-down.
She may not be president, but she’s still a super hero.
Can Hillary be more than the Most Admired Woman in the World?
I take my cue from her and ask you to join me on the issue of corporate diversity. We need to continue to work for the world we want. This is a guide for those who have investments in the stock market and for those who don’t but who are consumers. We all can make a difference.
1. Recommend a company for inclusion in the 30% Club. Add to the 59 company CEOs who care about and work towards gender diversity on their board and throughout their workforce.
2. For those with investments in the market – Question and pressure the boards of companies you invest in (including individual stocks in your mutual funds) to take steps towards board gender and other diversity. Use your power as an owner. Vote No on Boards that do not reflect diversity.
3. For everyone – Refuse to invest in or spend money in companies which reject diversity as a goal.
It will soon be 2017.
Hillary will not be our President.
Then quickly it will be 2018 and 2020.
In her concession speech, Hillary was clear- “I’m not giving up, and neither should you.” That should guide us. What would Hillary do? Now more than ever. In every aspect of our lives.