Staffing & Culture | 08.09.23
BISA's Black Voices Unmuted Sub-Committee: A Conversation With Vanessa Wilson
Creating lasting efforts towards diversity, equity and inclusion within BISA, and in the industry as a whole, is a primary objective for this association. These efforts take a village, and Black Voices Unmuted — a subcommittee of the DE&I Committee — is a proud contributor to the positive change within this organization in recent years. We asked Vanessa Wilson, chair of BVU, what the group’s successes and goals are for the remaining months of 2023 and beyond.
How would you describe the BVU’s role in BISA’s mission, and why is this important?
VW: Creating an industry with zero barriers to inclusion is integral to the success of BISA. We gain understanding into each other's perspectives and motivations to build stronger relationships and foster an environment where everybody can bring their authentic selves to work.
As part of the BISA DE&I Strategic Plan, the BVU subcommittee continues to explore opportunities to further diversify our workforce and strengthen our culture of inclusion within the financial industry.
What has been a recent highlight during your time on the BVU?
VW: In July, we asked Beth Csengody , LPL’s VP, and Advisor of D&I and Regina Heyward, LPL’s SVP of Client Communities and Sustainability team, to our monthly meeting to provide insight into LPL’s commitment to recruiting diverse talent in financial services. The information that was shared was a pivotal moment in BVU’s young existence.
The most noteworthy part of our discussion was when we learned that only 3% of US Financial Advisors are African Americans and only 5% are Hispanic. The discussion revealed the single most important challenge minority advisors face is capital commitment. This data confirmed we were on the right path; our goals and objectives are to increase the number of Black and diverse advisors in the financial services industry.
Can you share a bit about the goals of the BVU for this year? How do you see the group making an impact?
VW: As a subcommittee, we’ve learned there are enormous opportunities to focus on; however, the question quickly became, “What will have the most immediate impact and long-term growth?” The challenge is how can we make a meaningful impact immediately.
For ME: the BVU committee creates opportunities to participate in development activities that helps remove barriers to success and address inequities.
For BVU: It creates advocacy as we build a more equitable workforce for the financial services industry. This partnership will build an understanding of each individual's unique needs and help us establish focused programs and education.
For EVERYONE: We will build an inclusive society through visibility and by driving greater connection to the communities where we live and work. Our work will provide equitable access and support for the career development of Black and Latino financial advisors and colleagues.
To build a culture of inclusion and belonging, we must foster an environment where people count themselves in and are open about differences.
About Vanessa Wilson
BMO Investment Services – Product Manager
Vanessa began her carrier in the Financial Services industry on the Options Exchange Floor in Chicago, IL where she worked for eight years before joining the Insurance industry. She has been a member of the Financial Services industry for 28 years.
In August of 2016, she joined BMO Wealth Management as the Insurance & Annuity Product Manager. She is responsible for the development of Annuity and Life insurance sales for BMO Investment Services sales professionals and Private Wealth Specialist across the U.S. She holds her Life, Health, Series 6, 63 registrations.
Vanessa enjoys spending time with family and friends and is a huge fan of Jazz, R&B and Gospel. Vanessa has two adult sons and one grandson who recently turned 17 and plays violin.