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In May, protests around the country sparked a wave of change in government, institutions and corporations toward a more inclusive, just and equal society. These issues were already top of mind for Ayco back in 2019, as the firm worked to enhance support systems for our multicultural workforce.
Ayco’s first-ever Multicultural Analyst Initiative (MAI) launched on January 27, 2020 to provide a program tailored to the unique needs of emerging leaders with diverse backgrounds. The program brings together over 100 participants, their managers, coaches and senior leadership of the firm to support the professional development of Ayco’s multicultural workforce and further the firm’s social responsibility commitments. “It falls upon all of us to use what power we have to correct injustice,” says Larry Restieri, President and CEO, and Managing Director at Goldman Sachs.
The MAI was created based on input from a racially and ethnically diverse group of employees and gives analysts who have been with the Ayco for less than two years and have self-identified as racially and/or ethnically diverse the opportunity to further their career growth through a customized professional development program. Participants in the MAI are matched with a tenured associate for coaching sessions aimed at fostering an inclusive workplace, and strengthening their networks and providing professional development opportunities and insights.
“My goal as a coach is to create a safe place for our team to get to know one another and to develop a sense of trust,” says Remy Chong, Regional Operations Manager, Financial Counseling, West Coast Region. “I believe trust is necessary in order for us to have open discussions on any topics, thoughts, ideas and questions.”
Ayco worked with Wokie Nwabueze, founder and CEO of The Seen & Heard Project® and a nationally renowned workplace inclusion, culture change and communication strategist, as this program was being created. The initiative kicked off in January with a full day of programming focused on understanding and breaking down obstacles to strong communication and career growth, inclusive leadership and “understanding your voice.”
The MAI helps participants develop confidence in themselves and their skills. Rosalee Jones, senior tax associate, Goldman Sachs Partners Family Office, quickly noticed a personal difference. “The discussions helped me feel comfortable setting up a meeting with the Senior VP/Region Head in my office and articulating my year end goals and the strategies I will be using to accomplish them.”
The MAI will continue to evolve and be expanded upon in response to the future needs of our multicultural employees. In the coming weeks and months, the Ayco Diversity Network will host additional initiatives and events celebrating the importance of diversity at Ayco, with input from participants of the MAI.