The artist and actor Common told Sandra Richards, Morgan Stanley Head of Global Sports & Entertainment and Segment Sales & Engagement, that he so valued his honorary doctorate from Florida A&M University that he wore his gown and cap through the air terminal and keeps it in his Brooklyn home. “So, should I call you ‘Dr. Common’ now?” Sandra asked. “No, we’re good with just Common,” he replied with a laugh. The Grammy and Oscar winning performer was speaking to clients gathered with more than 400 top Financial Advisors gathered in Los Angeles for the 2019 Multicultural Leadership Summit. Common told Sandra that one of his goal is to inspire young people—as evidenced by appearances recently on Sesame Street.
Lisa Shalett and Andrew Slimmon told Morgan Stanley clients and more than 400 top Financial Advisors and managers that the economy and stock markets should be watched in the context of two themes: Monetary policy, and trade negotiations with China. Lisa, Chief Investment Officer and Head of Wealth Management Investment Resources, Morgan Stanley, and Andrew, Head of Applied Equity Advisors, Morgan Stanley Investment Management, agreed that reaction to recent market pullbacks seem exaggerated. But both also said a recession may occur as a natural part of economic cycles. The talk occurred during the 2019 Multicultural Leadership Summit in Los Angeles.
Lauren Ziadie, Morgan Stanley’s Chief Operating Officer for Diversity and Inclusion Wealth Management, said she felt like a fish out of water at first in the United States. “Where are you from?” she was asked by a Wealth Management colleague and her answer reflexively was: “Jamaica.” To which the questioner added, “I meant what bank.” She would return to Jamaica, which she had left at age 15 for education in America, but life had changed for her there, too. “I felt like a foreigner here and I felt like a foreigner going back.” The feeling stopped, she said, when she stopped telling herself “that my ‘different’ was a bad ‘different.’ Once I was able to get out of my own way, was when I could fully step into my owner power.”
Activist and producer Michael Skolnik told Susan Reid, the Global Head of Diversity at Morgan Stanley, that the path to change is not how many people you reach with your message, but how many those people reach. “Don’t worry about your following,” he said. “If you tell a great story to 30 people, they will spread your story for you.”
Actor Tzi Ma said his philosophy is to tell stories in movies that reach millions—a soap box that amplifies. “I think we need to stay on the soapbox,” he said. “People forget. We need to bring history back to the present.”
Both men were speaking before more than 400 leading Financial Advisors and managers gathered at the 2019 Multicultural Leadership Summit in Los Angeles.
Shaun Fulton, Associate Complex Manager for Morgan Stanley, is the son of Jamaican immigrants who moved to the United States 35 years ago. “They wanted to change our narrative and this lead to sacrifice,” he said. “My mother and father decided they would forego the big house and the retirement fund – and give us a private school education.”
Their gift to Shaun was to ingrain within him these life questions: Are you a perpetual student? Are you adding value to those around you? Are you allowing others to make mistakes and allowing them to be vulnerable? The wisdom of his parents is valid now as Morgan Stanley modernizes and moves into a new age of technologic aided advice, he said, particularly in the area of making mistakes. “That is where exponential growth is more likely to happen,” he said. “In soft touch ways.”
Golf and golfers aren’t what first comes to mind when you think of diversity and progressive values, said LPGA golfer Cheyenne Woods at the 2019 Multicultural Leadership Summit in Los Angeles, but the sport is making progress and is a great entry point into business for anyone. Cheyenne, speaking with Morgan Stanley’s Audrey Choi, Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Sustainability Officer, said the recent inclusion of women golfers at Augusta was overdue but very encouraging. “Look, golf opens doors in the corporate world and it’s a great sport,” she said. “Spend four to five hours on a course and you learn a lot about someone.” For that reason, she said, she visits underprivileged areas and promotes accessibility to the sport.
The niece of Tiger Woods, Cheyenne is among the six women of color to join the LPGA Tour. She is proud to be the niece of Tiger Woods, she said, but is defining her own career and life.
Born in Taiwan, Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Advisor Gillian Yu at first hated that she knew so little of American culture when she entered wealth management in San Francisco. “I tried to be everybody else,” she said. “Then, I became no one. I felt ashamed of it. I wished I was born here, I wished I understood American football. I was not happy because I was not being authentic.”
Things changed for Gillian when she realized she related naturally to the large Asian community in Silicon Valley. “It started to click,” she told the 2019 Multicultural Leadership Summit in Los Angeles. Entrepreneurs felt comfortable with her and even more so when they returned to Asia and planned their legacy for their families and children. Today, she is among the top Private Wealth Advisors at Morgan Stanley.
Monica Woodward, a Morgan Stanley Financial Advisor, told the 2019 Multicultural Leadership Summit in Los Angeles that she once saw her diversity as a disadvantage. “I worked with people who didn’t look like me and I had a lot of self-limiting thoughts,” said the Houston-based Woodward.
On the positive side, she said, her diversity was motivating in that “I had a little something more to prove.” Through coaching and exploration, she realized her difference also served as an asset. “I found a real niche with women going through divorce,” she said. “In my opinion, most women in divorce are looking for a woman Financial Advisor—and they’re certainly not going to their ex-husband’s Advisor.”
Monica made the comments in a panel session at the Summit moderated by Complex Manager Michael Robinson.
When Bea Luna Vida, now a Branch Manager with Morgan Stanley, competed as a young tennis player, she was penalized by an umpire for “speaking in a foreign language.” Her mother gave her some words of counsel. Choose to be angry. Or choose to be patient and transform the way people think. She chose the latter, she said. “You can let the labels define you or let them lift you and help you grow into a uniqueness and then become an ambassador.”
Vida said Morgan Stanley has become a true global company that feeds on its diversity and fosters a working environment where everyone can be unique and inclusive. “Be an ambassador for your culture,” she said.
Jeff Brodsky, Chief Human Resources Officer, Morgan Stanley, told the 2019 Multicultural Leadership Summit in Los Angeles that a key for success in diversity is bringing your genuine self to the job. “Every time someone tries to be someone other than themself, they aren’t successful,” he said. “Be genuine. Bring the real you. If you’re not comfortable with that, then the company you are working for is not for you,” Brodsky said.
Diversity at Morgan Stanley is vital because diversity is essential for the firm to reflect the composition of its clients. “Understanding that when people have different backgrounds, that's what makes them excellent at what they do,” he said. Jeff was interviewed by Nicole Dickerson, Morgan Stanley Branch Manager.
Vince Lumia, Head of Wealth Management Field, told the 2019 Multicultural Leadership Summit that the firm cannot possibly meet its goals unless the composition of the work force represents the world at large. “You are the foundation of how we reach our goal,” he said. “We will not win in the marketplace unless we reflect the community that we live in and the clients we serve.”
Vince told the crowd of more than 400 top Financial Advisors and managers that the wealth management business will see a fight for “asset aggregation.” Clients, he said, will tend not to hold investment assets at a number of firms but consolidate them at one firm. A diverse force of Financial Advisors will accomplish that, he said. “This is where the magic will happen,” he told the room.
“We might not all look the same, but we all deliver an excellent level of service, put our clients first and are passionate about moving diversity forward,” said Cheryl, who is Chief of Staff and Head of Human Resources for Morgan Stanley Private Bank and Morgan Stanley Bank.
“You all are our competitive advantage, all of you here,” Cheryl said. “You are the connection we all make with our clients.” Cheryl said senior management at Morgan Stanley is committed to diversity and pushes her every day to do a better job and “aim a little higher.”
“We have a potential that is limitless,” she said. “We need to celebrate our difference as a competitive advantage.” She was speaking to more than 400 top Financial Advisors and managers at the 2019 Multicultural Leadership Summit in Los Angeles.
But don’t forget your zip code lessons, either, said Morgan Stanley’s National Diversity Officer Raymone Jackson, who grew up in one of the most dangerous neighborhoods of Milwaukee. “Many of my friends died too soon, are in prison or are just stuck,” he said. “I dreamed bigger than my zip code, but I also carried with me the lessons I learned in my zip code.”
The challenge for all to improve and advance diversity is to make the choice to lead, he said. Raymone addressed more than 400 leading Financial Advisors and managers at the 2019 Multicultural Leadership Summit in Los Angeles.
By day, April Tam Smith is on the trading floor, working in Morgan Stanley Equity Derivatives Sales and Trading. By night, you’ll find her at one of her social enterprises— the PS Kitchen, a New York City vegan restaurant where profits go to the homeless and victims of domestic violence.
How can she do both? “Multi-careering,” she says, actually builds work-life balance into your life. “Instead of simply striving for work life balance, multi-careering is actually a nurturing cycle,” she said. “What I get to do outside of work is often what motivates me to work so hard at work. By living in this way, not only am I proposing that you will have passion at work, may I dare say you’ll also get to live in a more joyful and healthy way.”
This leads to another April construct: “Radical Generosity” where generosity— both its sacrifices and rewards—are built into everyday life. “When you live a life that’s radically generous, not only do you get to help others but life takes on a whole new sense of purpose.”
April was speaking to more than 400 top Financial Advisors and leaders at the Morgan Stanley Multicultural Leadership Summit in Los Angeles.
Investors report capitalizing multicultural and women-owned business at 80 percent less than business overall, Alice Vilma, Co-Head of the Multicultural Innovation Lab, told the 2019 Multicultural Leaderships Summit in Los Angeles. “That means there is an inefficient market within capital markets. “In this business, we all know what inefficient markets mean,” she said. “And that’s opportunity.” All told, Alice said, the gap in financing women and multicultural businesses amounts to what Morgan Stanley calls “the trillion-dollar blind spot.” 2019 marks the third year of the Multicultural Innovation Lab, Morgan Stanley’s in-house accelerator supporting early-stage tech and tech-enabled startups led by multicultural and women entrepreneurs.
Over 300 entrepreneurs in 13 countries and 90 cities applied to be a part of the latest cohort, and from this pool, we invited 30 finalists.
Media Entrepreneur, Emmy Award Winning Producer, Founder of The Adelante Movement and Author of the New York Times Best Selling book, SELF MADE, Nely Galán, spoke with Morgan Stanley’s Carla Harris during the “Power Hour” at the 2019 Multicultural Leadership Summit in Los Angeles. In a lighter moment, Nely told Carla that one motto she had for herself was, “Don’t buy shoes, buy buildings.” That way, she said, you can “make money while you sleep” and earn passive income from your investments.
That is a little oversimplified, of course, because investments don’t automatically just go up. But her point is long term investing can be more rewarding than wages.
Carla is Vice Chairman Wealth Management and Senior Client Advisor of Morgan Stanley. Nely, born in Cuba, said her life experience as an immigrant has been fundamental to her drive and achievement.
Sol Trujillo, a global media-communications and technology executive, told Morgan Stanley’s Carla Harris that Latinos in America, are in fact “the cavalry coming to the rescue” of the U.S. Economy. It is an observation first uttered by publisher and noted conservative Steve Forbes, Trujillo said, based on population data. Demographics show that Latinos will provide a vitally needed steady supply of young, sustainable talent, Trujillo said. Forbes is smart enough to understand the data, he continued, and that is the challenge Trujillo placed before more than 400 Financial Advisors and managers at the 2019 Multicultural Leadership Summit in Los Angeles.
“Gather the data,” Trujillo said. “Help change the conversation!” he said. “Make our country great again? Yeah. I agree. Because this is my country, and we need to take it back.”
Carla is Vice Chairman Wealth Management and Senior Client Advisor of Morgan Stanley. She hosted the “Power Hour” at the Summit, interviewing several multicultural executives and entrepreneurs.
Arlan Hamilton, who was homeless when she founded Backstage Capital, told Morgan Stanley’s Carla Harris, that one part of her success has been staying true to herself and her identity. “Even if people don’t like it, I’m going to be me. It’s so simple, but so many people are putting on a mask to go to work. I believe we have only one life on this earth and I’m going to amplify it.”
Carla who is Vice Chairman Wealth Management and Senior Client Advisor of Morgan Stanley, hosted Arlan and others as a part of the 2019 Multicultural Summit in Los Angeles. The theme, Carla said, is how people break barriers.
"We invest in the very best founders who identify as women, People of Color, or LGBT, in the U.S. I personally identify as all three," Arlan told the crowd.
Andy Saperstein, Head of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, told more than 400 Financial Advisors and managers attending the 2019 Multicultural Leadership Summit, that diversity ranks among his highest priorities.
“My goal is that diversity will be so ingrained in the organization and our culture that our children will never have to experience a workplace that doesn’t completely reflect the communities where we live and the clients that we serve,” Andy said. “I believe someday that a generation of people at Morgan Stanley look back and are amazed that diversity was ever an issue.
“Until we walk into a room and the comfort is in the diversity in the room,” he said, “we have work to do.”
Andy told the Summit that he grew up on Staten Island in New York City in a diverse community and high school.
“My classmates, my friends, my teammates were all different ethnicities and different races,” Andy said. “Actually I didn’t know anything else.
It wasn’t until I graduated from high school and left Staten Island that my world became less diverse.
“In retrospect, until that point I had simply taken diversity for granted. It was a normal part of life, as it should be,” he said. “I believe diversity is the natural state and we can’t rest until we get there.”
More diversity at Morgan Stanley is needed and also a new diversity of skills, he said.
‘Just as we need diversity of people, to properly build relationships with clients across the country,” said Andy. “We also will need people who understand technology, understand big data, and are skilled in tax and trust and estates. All to make sure we touch and build relationships with our clients in so many different ways.
Clients will continue to look to financial advisors for more than just financial advice, he said.
“People are living longer. Clients will need the resources to take care of aging parents and for themselves during longer retirement periods. You can’t advise someone financially unless you fully understand their life’s dreams and goals.”
Shelley O’Connor, Chairman and CEO of Morgan Stanley Private Bank and Morgan Stanley Bank, told the Multicultural Leadership Summit attendees that “when we embrace diverse perspectives, we create an organization where every employee and every client feels understood and valued—a place where they belong.”
She spoke to more than 400 of the Firm’s top multicultural Financial Advisors and managers who gathered in Los Angeles to explore modern wealth strategies, celebrate differences, and define what it means to be the firm of choice.
“All of you in this room are helping us shape the future of our Firm, and our industry.” Shelley said. She added that today the attendees have the ability to deliver truly sophisticated advice to clients by creating a tailored plan, regularly tracking progress to goals, addressing family wealth across generations and across both sides of the balance sheet, and leveraging tools that support tax optimization and risk assessments.
Shelley also highlighted the Firm’s competitive advantage in having the three essentials for providing sophisticated advice: robust intellectual capital, cutting-edge technology, and some of the best Financial Advisors and managers in the business.
“Diversity—not only in terms of who we are, but also in terms of all we offer—is fundamental to our future growth and critical to meeting the individual, and often unique, needs of the many, many clients and communities we serve.”