• Multicultural Financial Advisor Forum

Morgan Stanley's Carla Harris Rocks the Stage at the 2016 MAKERS Conference

The diversity champion shares hard earned pearls of wisdom as a 28-year veteran of Wall Street.

Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. -- Carla Harris wasn't the only speaker at The 2016 MAKERS Conference in California last week; however she was one of the most popular and received a standing ovation for her passionate and poignant talk on the realities of the workplace and what to do to advance your career.

Appearing in front of an audience of over 400 at Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., plus a global audience via livestream, Carla opened up her inspirational presentation singing a gospel rendition of a song she's recorded called Oh What a Joy.

From there she transitioned into three of what she calls, "Carla's hard earned pearls after being a woman on Wall Street for 28 years."

These particular pearls provided practical advice on how to advance in your career or earn more money, both of which touch on something the MAKERS organization is trying to eliminate─ inequality in pay and a greater representation of women in the workplace.

The author of two books, Expect to Win, and Strategize to Win, Carla, who graduated Magnum Cum Laude from Harvard, proclaimed that "being smart isn't enough. Perception is the co-pilot to reality. How people perceive you will directly impact how they deal with you."

It was her closing words that brought the room to their feet when she told the audience to "make 2016 the year of no regrets. Put your foot on the gas and, ladies, let it rip."

Writing about Carla's appearance doesn't do it justice so we encourage you to click here to see and experience her MAKERS 2016 Conference talk.

In the audience were 23 Morgan Stanley MAKERS from the 2015 and 2016 classes, including Ellen Bailey, the Financial Advisor who brought the MAKERS relationship to Morgan Stanley.

Sandra Richards, Kara Underwood, Ellen Bailey, Crystal Ho, Gwen Cohen, Susan Wolford.

"The theme of the conference was #TheTimeIsNow," said Ellen. "Morgan Stanley was an early believer and founding partner in the MAKERS@ initiative. The firm has recognized the power of bringing men and women together to hear the stories of women who have made a difference in their communities and at Morgan Stanley by living our core values.

"We are taking a leadership role with MAKERS@ in demonstrating to other organizations the power of inspiration and leveraging women leaders to finally move the needle on gender diversity in a meaningful way," she added.

Another attendee, Gwen Cohen said, "Carla is someone who so brilliantly expresses what Morgan Stanley is all about. She came on the stage and took the audience's energy to a new level and it never waned after that. As I spoke with people for the rest of the day, almost everyone said Carla's presentation was the highlight of their day. I've read both of Carla's books and have heard her stories many times over and she somehow finds a way to impress you with something new every time I hear her speak."

Rachael Tobor, Susan Wolford, Carla Harris.

"Carla's energy and passion about being true to your authentic self is contagious," said Rachel Tobor. "After Carla spoke, speakers and attendees quoted her and wished they could sing their opening remarks. Her story is powerful and one that places Morgan Stanley in a wonderful light. She is truly one of Morgan Stanley's pearls."

Prior to the conference, co-head of Wealth Management Shelley O'Connor was named to the MAKERS@ Board of Directors.

"The conference was an opportunity to bring women from different industries, academia, and the government together to reflect on how far we've come and to gird ourselves for the work that lies ahead," said Kara Underwood, Head of Diversity and Inclusion, Morgan Stanley Wealth Management.

"This year it was very much a call to action," added Kara, "We are working towards equal representation, eliminating the gender pay gap, and driving the economic power of women. We want to see a greater representation of women in our Financial Advisor and Branch Manager ranks."

Diane Pacuk, Cynthia Newman, and Cathy Galgano.

"We're thrilled to partner with Morgan Stanley," said Samantha Storch, MAKERS' partnerships lead. "Our partnership program has grown from 10 companies to nearly 50, and Morgan Stanley's innovative, groundbreaking participation has helped us achieve these results, recognizing outstanding women across varying industries."

"There was amazing power in the group, with each of us sharing the vision of equality and fairness," said Diane Pacuk. "I left the Makers Conference even more convinced that truly #TheTimeIsNow."

This is Morgan Stanley's third year partnering with MAKERS, and each fall we invite Wealth Management employees to nominate women who serve as groundbreakers, innovators, and advocates. Over the past few years, we have recognized 47 women within the business and shared their stories internally and externally.