OVERLAND PARK, Kan.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Waddell & Reed Financial, Inc. (NYSE: WDR) continues to actively build and enhance diversity & inclusion initiatives across the organization, recently announcing several new partnership and program initiatives:
In conjunction with its celebration of International Women’s Day, the Company launched a corporate sponsorship and partnership with Forté Foundation, a non-profit organization connecting female MBA students and recent graduates with job opportunities in the financial services industry. Forté's alliance network links talented women, influential companies, leading universities and business schools, and pioneering donors. The partnership with Waddell & Reed Financial helps introduce students to careers in the financial industry, while allowing the Company to participate in campus programs or Forté-led events. It was announced as part of Waddell & Reed Financial’s celebration of International Women’s Day, which included an employee panel discussion on mentorship, leadership, opportunities and challenges faced by women in the workforce, in support of this year’s Women’s Day theme of #eachforequal.
“An important part of our shared Culture of Belonging is the ability to enhance our diversity of perspective, sharing knowledge and experiences, which leads to a stronger culture and better results for our clients,” said Philip J. Sanders, CEO of Waddell & Reed Financial, Inc. “This also aligns with our ongoing growth strategy as we continue advancing our position as a values-based and purpose-driven organization.”
- The Company also announced it has committed to expanding its partnership with Rock The Street Wall Street (RTSWS) by partnering with a to-be-announced high school in Kansas City, Missouri. Last year, Waddell & Reed Financial became the first organization in the Kansas City area to partner with RTSWS, a national, non-profit organization offering a financial and investment literacy program designed to spark the interest of female high school students in careers in finance. Partnership engagement includes financial literacy sessions, mentoring programs and a field trip to Waddell & Reed Financial headquarters. Surveys conducted after the initial program year with Shawnee Mission North High School showed a 65% increase in financial literacy among students who participated, and a 100% increase in those who said they are likely to pursue a major/minor in finance or economics. “This is a dynamic, growing program that data shows is very successful in raising financial literacy levels and encouraging young students to pursue their dreams of a career in finance,” said Sanders. “We’re pleased to expand our partnership to a second school this year.”
- Waddell & Reed Financial also is pleased to become a sponsor of Kansas City Women in Technology, a non-profit organization whose vision is to grow the number of women in technology careers within the Company’s headquarters area, Kansas City. The goal is to inspire girls toward an interest in technology careers early, through educational workshops and mentoring for high school and college students considering technology career paths. The sponsorship, which aligns with one of the Company’s key strategic enablers of advancing technology and data analytics, includes networking events and volunteer opportunities for professionals to retain women currently working in technology.
- A new employee mentoring program has been introduced, enabling all employees to either connect with a mentor or act as a mentor to colleagues. The program facilitates interaction and learning opportunities across differing ranges of experience, skills and departments. The goal is to actively support employees as they pursue personal and professional goals. Mentees choose their own mentors based on their areas of expertise through a new online mentoring platform. The Company provides the tools, resources and education to support the partnership, while letting the mentee drive the experience. Mentors and mentees can be anyone in the organization, regardless of tenure or title, supporting the desire for diversity in thought and experiences and creating unique pathways to success.
These initiatives mark a continuation of actions the Company has undertaken in the last two years, including:
- CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion™ pledge, signed in early 2019 by Sanders, acknowledging that the organization will act to cultivate trust, diversity, flexibility and understanding. By signing the pledge, Waddell & Reed Financial has acknowledged it will take specific actions to advance an open and empowering environment.
- The Company launched an initiative in 2019 called Culture Connections, centered on core components of Diversity & Inclusion, Employee Appreciation, Philanthropy, Strategy & Values and Well-Being. Culture Connections is a purposeful and planned strategy to directly and authentically illustrate the company’s commitment to advance its position as a values-based and purpose-driven organization. As one of the core components, Diversity & Inclusion facilitates a range of internal education programs and events to advance knowledge and understanding, such as Black History Month, International Women’s Day and Pride Awareness, among many others.
- The Company over the last year also has continued to broaden the diversity of the composition of its Board of Directors -- incorporating important, new perspectives into the group – by appointing to the Board three women with expertise across multiple industries and professions. According to executives, having a strong, diverse Board of Directors working in a collaborative partnership with the executive leadership team will better position the Company to build upon the transformational progress to date and achieve long-term growth strategies, all while advancing its position as a values-based and purpose-driven organization.
“It’s exciting to see the change and cultural growth around the Company,” said Brent Bloss, President of Waddell & Reed Financial. “These steps are actionable, they drive progress and enthusiasm across our workforce and illustrate our commitment to our purpose, vision, mission and our core values.”
About Waddell & Reed Financial, Inc.
Through its subsidiaries, Waddell & Reed Financial, Inc. has provided investment management and financial planning services to clients throughout the United States since 1937. Its subsidiaries include Ivy Investments, an asset manager and distributor of investment products to retail and institutional clients; and Waddell & Reed, Inc., a broker-dealer with nationally based independent financial advisors. For more information, visit ir.waddell.com.
IVY INVESTMENTSSM refers to the investment management and investment advisory services offered by Ivy Investment Management Company, the financial services offered by Ivy Distributors, Inc., a FINRA member broker dealer and the distributor of IVY FUNDS® mutual funds and IVY VARIABLE INSURANCE PORTFOLIOS®, and the financial services offered by their affiliates.
About Forté Foundation
Forté Foundation is a non-profit consortium of leading multinational corporations and top universities and business schools. It was called to action by a landmark research study, Women and the MBA: Gateway to Opportunity, that looked at why women are underrepresented in top business schools compared with medical or law schools. Forté Foundation was launched in 2001 to address this inequity and its impact on the business landscape and grew to 25 member schools in 2005 in the US. Today it includes 54 member schools: 39 in the US, four in Canada and 11 in Europe.
About Rock The Street, Wall Street
Rock The Street, Wall Street, founded in 2013, inspires and equips girls with skills to succeed financially throughout their lives and potentially pursue careers in finance. Girls learn about savings and investment, budgeting, the capital markets and their role in maintaining the welfare of their families and the economy, while simultaneously helping them see the real world application of the math content they learn in the classroom. Visit rockthestreetwallstreet.com.
About Kansas City Women in Technology
Kansas City Women in Technology is an organization unique to Kansas City and was created to serve the needs of the Kansas City community. Kansas City Women in Technology is not a chapter of a larger organization and is not affiliated with any other organizations like Girls Who Code, Girl Develop It!, Women in Tech, Women Who Code – though we do promote their efforts. Kansas City Women in Technology has launched several programs that reside under the umbrella of Kansas City Women in Technology as a larger organization. Those programs include CoderDojoKC, Tech sHeroes, TechTalks, Coding & Cupcakes, and Coding & Cocktails. Visit kcwomenintech.org.
About CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion™
CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion™ is the largest CEO-driven business commitment to advance diversity and inclusion within the workplace. This commitment is driven by a realization that addressing diversity and inclusion is not a competitive issue, but a societal issue. Recognizing that change starts at the executive level, more than 600 CEOs of the world’s leading companies and business organizations, are leveraging their individual and collective voices to advance diversity and inclusion in the workplace. CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion™ aims to rally the business community to advance diversity and inclusion within the workplace by working collectively across organizations and sectors. It outlines a specific set of actions the undersigned companies will take to cultivate a trusting environment where all ideas are welcomed and employees feel comfortable and empowered to discuss diversity and inclusion. Visit ceoaction.com.