At Wescott, our mission is and always will be to provide the best financial planning services for all of our clients to achieve their goals. With that as our driving force, we have always been purposeful in the fabric of our culture and ensuring our team is reflective of those we serve. As the industry, our clients, and their needs evolve, we are focused on continuing to elevate diverse voices within our team, as we believe unique perspectives are what lead to better outcomes for everyone.
Since 1987, Wescott has prioritized diversity and encouraged female representation at all levels of the firm. Throughout the company’s history, there has been a female presence on the executive and management teams, and today more than half of our professionals are women. “Within Wescott, we’ve always been on the leading edge of female representation,” said Susan Green, Principal, Senior Financial Advisor and Director of Financial Planning Standards at Wescott. Fostering diversity has long been a cornerstone of Wescott’s growth strategy, not only because it helps to build a strong, inclusive culture that supports employee tenure, but also because it positions us to serve a diverse, ever-evolving client population. Our B Corp Certification reinforces our commitment to DEI, women in the profession, our team, and our clients.
According to CNBC, women now control more than $10 trillion (about 33%) of total U.S. financial assets, and by the end of the decade, it will rise to $30 trillion. With this evolution, more and more prospective clients are women, and they are requesting to work with female advisors. Female representation is even more critical to continue meeting the needs of the modern client now and into the future.
Empowering Women in Financial Planning
For Wescott, elevating female voices is about more than meeting the needs of our clients. We strive to empower women at all stages of their careers to consider a future in financial planning, which is becoming more attractive to women. Technology and the ability to provide financial planning from anywhere has made these jobs more accessible to women who are seeking a meaningful career that offers flexibility and security, according to Stephanie James, Partner and Senior Financial Advisor at Wescott.
The greater prevalence of women in leadership at wealth management firms like Wescott has also made the industry more appealing to women by showing them that they have a place in the financial planning profession. For both Green and James, the steadfast female leadership at Wescott has had a large influence on their careers by giving a female voice – and face – to financial planning and providing critical mentorship that set them on a strong path forward. In particular, Lydia Sheckels, Wescott’s Partner, CIO Emeritus and Senior Financial Advisor, was, and is, a strong female role model for both Green and James. Sheckels took them under her wing, guiding their early careers with advice and support. They hope to be able to offer the same roadmap to other women just beginning their professional journey.
Advancing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Wescott
Providing continued pathways and opportunities for success is the basis of Wescott’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) program. It is a formalization of the work the firm has been doing for decades to elevate diverse voices within financial services and to show younger generations that there is opportunity for all in the organization.
The entire Wescott team is committed to creating an inclusive workplace that promotes and nurtures diversity. The firm’s DE&I Committee works to offer ongoing education and resources to our team members in order to better serve our clients and each other. “DE&I is extremely important as an ever-expanding concept in the way we conduct ourselves. We know that we need to be prepared to serve a diverse array of clients and, equally important, we want to allow our employees to show up fully as themselves,” Green said.
Wescott has built DE&I topics into town halls and firm-wide forums with the main goal of educating employees on the core concepts of inclusion and how to respectfully engage with diverse populations. These lessons translate to interactions with both colleagues and clients. “If you’re speaking to a diverse group of clients, you have to consider all parties and the firm’s DE&I initiatives have very much impacted the client experience in a positive way,” James said.
While Wescott has long focused on DE&I initiatives, our team is committed to continuing the advancement of the movement within the industry and our firm, while also serving new and longstanding clients in ways that make them feel welcome and valued. From fostering an inclusive environment that promotes equity to ensuring that women are well-represented in all roles, this work will remain at the forefront of our professional and personal goals. To learn more about Wescott’s female leaders and advisors, or about our DE&I Committee, reach out to one of our team members today.