• Diversity

Taking Pride in a Job Well Done

As co-chair of Morgan Stanley's Pride & Ally Employee Network, Jacqueline LiCalzi is a champion of LGBT+ rights.

Jacqueline LiCalzi wears many hats, as a lawyer, advocate, gay woman, native New Yorker, and, at Morgan Stanley, as Global Head of Regulatory Relations and a member of its Management Committee.

LiCalzi also proudly claims a small but meaningful part on behalf of Morgan Stanley in U.S. Supreme Court history. In 2013, as United States v. Windsor, the landmark case challenging the Defense of Marriage Act, was heading to the high court, she and her then-co-chair of the employee Pride & Ally Network, Chad Shampine, approached the firm’s Operating Committee about taking a public position on federal marriage equality. The Committee, led by CEO James Gorman, agreed to sign on to an amicus ("friend of the court") brief, and LiCalzi, with her legal background, not only helped usher it through the firm’s compliance and governance in time for oral arguments on the landmark case, but also got additional support from other financial institutions.

“Another bank with a big retail business felt that if Morgan Stanley could do it, then they could align alongside us,” says LiCalzi, and the court took notice. “The fact that we could show this broad support across corporate America gave the court comfort that they were not so far ahead of public opinion. From the court’s perspective, it seemed to have helped make a difference in ultimately recognizing the constitutional right for same-sex couples to marry.”

In 2013, the firm honored LiCalzi’s leadership for this and other efforts with its John Mack Leadership and Culture Award,  its highest internal accolade for employees whose service embodies its core values. 

An Unsought Opportunity

LiCalzi didn’t beat a direct path to Wall Street. She graduated summa cum laude with a liberal arts degree from Hofstra University, then headed to law school at Fordham, more because that seemed like a logical path for a political science major than anything else.

Then something happened. “I discovered that I loved law school,” she says. LiCalzi excelled and went on to clerk for a federal judge in the Southern District of New York. She then worked as a litigator and later in compliance at another financial institution before joining Morgan Stanley in April 2006.

By 2008, when the financial crisis hit, LiCalzi was a Managing Director in Compliance. “I got here just in time for the fun stuff,” she says with a laugh.

Her manager at the time, Stuart Breslow, “was a big promoter of his people and of diversity in particular,” says LiCalzi. When she was asked to co-chair the Pride & Ally Network, her first reaction was, “Oh, my, I don’t have the time,” she admits. “But Stuart said, ‘This is an amazing opportunity. You will have a chance to make an impact. And besides, it will be fun. So pick up your head from your desk and do it.’”

She did, and never looked back.

The Morgan Stanley Pride & Ally Network began with modest ambitions. “At first you're just glad there's a community and that you can get support from the firm and get things done,” says LiCalzi. But, with that strong institutional backing, it quickly grew. “I think that Morgan Stanley has a great culture and track record for anyone coming here as an open LGBT+ employee. It is a place where you'll be valued and recognized and find support and engagement.” She says her current manager, CLO Eric Grossman, is a “tremendous advocate for diversity and inclusion.  He has been incredibly supportive of the work I do with the Pride Network.”

The Network Grows and Thrives

Ten years later, LiCalzi—who also serves on the Executive Committee of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association Compliance and Legal Society, and co-chairs its Diversity Committee—supervises Pride & Ally working groups devoted to everything from employee engagement and recruiting to leadership development and community involvement. Her work managing the supervisory activities of the firm's key regulators globally takes her around the world, and wherever she lands, LiCalzi makes a point of hosting lunches, leading panels and giving fireside chats devoted to women's and LGBT+ issues in places like Hong Kong, Tokyo, Singapore and London, and—she hopes—Mumbai in 2020.

She continues to find opportunities for the Pride & Ally Network to act as a resource for the firm in providing the views of LGBT+ employees on equal policies and benefits, workplace climate, talent management and professional development, as well as corporate responsibility. That includes seeking to support internal as well as public policy that protects LGBT+ equality in the workplace and in life.

In addition to spearheading the firm’s efforts to join three separate amicus briefs before the Supreme Court in support of marriage equality, LiCalzi and her current co-chair, Chuck Burke, have done the same with regards to an amicus brief in support of the U.S. Department of Justice’s case against the infamous North Carolina transgender bathroom law.

More recently, they successfully guided the firm to join a brief before the Supreme Court with respect to three cases that will determine whether Title VII protections prohibit employment discrimination based on sexual orientation. And on behalf of both the Pride & Ally Network and its Veterans Network, the firm also made a statement in response to the Trump Administration’s stated ban on transgender individuals in the Armed Forces. “We choose where we make our voice heard based on a set of criteria, including where it will have the biggest impact with our employees, our stakeholders, our clients, and the broader communities in which we do business,” she says.

It’s kept her busy. “These have been a series of very active years on LGBT+ rights being debated in the courts and in the workplace. With my legal background, I could play an important role in parsing that and helping to define the voice of the firm on behalf of LGBT+ employees and other stakeholders. And I’m very proud of that,” she says. “Co-chairing the Pride & Ally Network has been a source of great gratification, personally and professionally.”

Looking Back and Looking Forward

LiCalzi’s and the Pride & Ally Network’s work alongside the firm’s overall Diversity and Inclusion  efforts has resulted in numerous recognitions globally. Morgan Stanley was named a Stonewall Diversity Champion by Stonewall Equality Limited in the UK, in recognition for having promoted supportive work environments for LGBT+ people, was awarded a Gold Standard for the 2019 Hong Kong LGBT+ Inclusion Index, and has maintained its perfect scores on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index for 13 years running.

LiCalzi also cherishes some less publicized but equally important accomplishments. Not long ago, a Morgan Stanley employee sent her and Burke an email that read, “Thank you for your amazing leadership. I’m the parent of a transgender child.” Says LiCalzi, “When I read something like that, it really brings home the personal impact of the things we are trying to do.”

And she’s not done yet. “As long as I’m here, I expect to be involved in LGBT+ causes, knowing that there is still a lot to be done.” When asked about Morgan Stanley’s support of this year’s WorldPride event in New York City, she says, “It’s a huge year because we are commemorating the 50th anniversary of Stonewall.  I am proud to say that Morgan Stanley is a Silver Sponsor of NYC Pride and we will be marching with a float and more than 400 representatives of the firm and its clients." LiCalzi, who will be marching with her partner, says, "We're totally excited about it. Being with people from all over the firm, some coming in from Asia and Europe, to march together in honor of this historic milestone—it's going to be great."

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