Creating Intentional Career Paths for Diverse Individuals

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Lazetta Rainey Braxton.pngPeople seem to come into the financial planning profession by some other route, said Rianka R. Dorsainvil, CFP®.

Lazetta Rainey Braxton, CFP®, was one of those people.

“To be honest, I stumbled across [the profession],” Rainey Braxton told Dorsainvil in an April 2018 episode of 2050 TrailBlazers where she discussed how current planners can help nurture younger planners or future planners to make a more intentional effort to enter the profession.

There was not a financial planning track at the University of Virginia, where Rainey Braxton got her bachelor’s, nor was there one at Wake Forest University, where she got her MBA. She had a mentor who was a CFP® professional and introduced her to the profession and the rest was history.

The country’s shifting demographics are such that planners from different backgrounds and more women will likely enter the profession in the coming years and the women and planners of color who have paved the way can lend a hand in helping to welcome them.

Here are some key takeaways to make the profession a space people of color and women will want to intentionally enter:

Mentor. Mentors are necessary if you want to be innovative and inclusive. Mentoring is a mutually beneficial arrangement, Rainey Braxton said, especially if you’re an entrepreneur who oftentimes gets burnt out from constantly giving and working.

“Mentors, they hold you accountable, but they also pour back into you,” Rainey Braxton said. “Mentors have a way of giving you life back as you give your life to others.”

Dorsainvil herself admitted that she would have been applying for jobs outside the profession a few years ago had it not been for the mentorship of several women, including Rainey Braxton.

“There’s this quote saying you may not remember what the person said, but you will always remember how they made you feel,” Dorsainvil said. “I still, three years later, have that feeling of feeling so empowered and feeling a sense of belonging in this profession by seeing so many other people that look like me.”

Be welcoming and supportive. There was a time when Dorsainvil was going to start applying for jobs outside of the profession because she felt like she didn’t fit in. But then at an FPA Residency event,  Elizabeth Jetton, CFP®,  told her she needed to meet Rainey Braxton. She did. Then she attended the first-ever Quad A conference and suddenly felt like she belonged.

“Belonging does matter,” Rainey Braxton said. “We all want to feel as though we belong and are appreciated and valued for our contributions.”

Reach out to others who may feel peripheral and make them know that they are valued and welcome.

Create opportunities. Rainey Braxton has worked with partners like FPA, TD Ameritrade, CFP Board, and InvestmentNews, among others to create opportunities for stellar planners of color to come together, network, or showcase their knowledge.

The first of which is the Quad A conference, which launched in 2015 as a pre-conference to the FPA Annual Conference. This year will mark the organization’s fourth annual conference.

She was also instrumental in creating a the LeCount R. and Jewel W. Davis Scholarship, named in honor of the founder of Quad A, LeCount R. Davis and his wife. (In 1978 LeCount R. Davis became the first African American to earn the Certified Financial Planner designation.) The scholarship is for African American financial planning undergraduate students who have demonstrated success at a Historically Black College and University (HBCU).

Be an example and see students through. Student programs at universities and membership organizations continue to attract female and diverse students. Volunteering with these programs—especially women and planners of color—will help show them that the profession is becoming welcoming and diverse.

Plus, these programs are a great place to engage in recruitment. As the number of students intentionally choosing to become a financial planner continues to grow, it is imperative to continue to engage in all the above tips.

“We can’t lose those who we bring on board as students,” Rainey Braxton said. “We need to see them through.”

The Heart of Financial Planning

Rainey Braxton, along with Elizabeth Jetton, CFP®, and Janet Stanzak, CFP®, will be presented with a Heart of Financial Planning Award for her work in the realm of diversity and inclusion at the FPA Annual Conference in October. Rainey Braxton has been in the profession for 20 years and this year is celebrating 10 years of operating her own successful firm Financial Fountains.

“Congratulations to Lazetta, Elizabeth and Janet who have each made significant strides to transform the lives of others and move the financial planning profession forward,” FPA President Frank Paré, CFP®, said in a recent news release. “The noble profession we know today, and the advancement of it, can be attributed to these leaders, and others, who have demonstrated their ‘heart’ by sharing the benefits of financial planning with others and giving back to our community.”

Register for the conference today. Registration closes September 21.

About the 2050 TrailBlazers Podcast

Dorsainvil began streaming episodes of 2050 TrailBlazers in March 2018. FPA is one of the sponsors of the podcast that is sparking conversation on diversity and inclusion in the financial planning profession and attempting to address issues of recruitment and retention of professionals of color.

This podcast highlights ways to increase diversity in the financial planning profession. Listen to the podcasts by a previous FPA Diversity Scholarship winner during your commute and check out the show notes for more information about the people and topics covered. Subscribe on iTunes and Google Play or visit the website. Interested in the FPA Diversity Scholarship? Apply today to be considered.

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Ana Trujillo Limón is associate editor of the Journal of Financial Planning and the editor of the FPA Practice Management Blog. Email her at Follow her on Twitter at @AnaT_Edits.

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