Driving Change Through Diverse Leadership.
By: Carolyn K. - Director, Communications
Doug A., a Sr Manager in Compliance and member of Schwab’s Compliance Risk Testing team, considers his grandmothers to be his biggest influencers. He explains that they overcame adversity from discrimination, racism and sexism, and instilled strong values in him to be a resource for others and pay it forward.
This led Doug to seek mentors and sponsors, important building blocks for personal and professional growth, who could share personal insights and experience as Black leaders to help influence change in his community. Recently, Doug reached an important milestone in his development journey as a 2023 IMPACT Fellow.
Making a Difference Through Leadership
The IMPACT (Informed, Motivated, Perceptive, Authentic, and Connected Talent) Leadership Development Program, created by the Chicago Urban League in partnership with University of Chicago Booth School of Business, is intended to develop African American leaders by providing participants with skills and training to be effective leaders, and focuses on the actions leaders can take to better serve their community.
Schwab created a committee, consisting of the Chicago Senior Leadership Council, Diversity & Inclusion team, and Black Professionals at Charles Schwab (BPACS), to nominate an employee for the program who was involved in personal or professional volunteer activities and wanted leadership development to help affect positive change.
Doug was an ideal candidate—an active local leader with a volunteer heart. He participates in volunteer activities throughout Chicago, including as a local co-Chair for BPACS and as a participant in community programs like America Needs You (ANY). In addition, he has been a board member for the Chicago chapter of the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists (ACAMS), and is involved with Moneywise America®, Schwab’s flagship financial literacy program focused on underrepresented and low-income communities.
Doug’s opportunity to attend IMPACT, focused on the intersection of Black leadership and social impact, was a meaningful step in his self-development journey. “IMPACT boosted my confidence and helped me get over any ‘imposter syndrome’ feelings,” he explains. “IMPACT reinforced that I was on the right track in my career as well as civic life. I was selected for this highly selective program with some of Chicago’s best and brightest.”
The IMPACT Program: Building Connections
Over nine months, as a component of IMPACT, Booth faculty taught courses and hosted a speaker series that shared stories of challenges, triumphs and take-aways, providing a framework for effective leadership. “Hearing personal stories from leaders in the (Chicago) community was invaluable,” says Doug. “I learned so many lessons about challenges that Black leaders face. Typically, they’re the only African American in the room. Their candid account of highs and lows in their careers and personal lives provided me with perspective on how I could handle challenges and opportunities I may encounter.”
The program also hosts mentoring and networking events to connect participants with established professionals in the Chicago community.
“The mentorship has been invaluable,” explains Doug. “The opportunity to hear from one another, and step outside of your comfort zone by sharing personal stories, allowed me to be vulnerable. It’s given me a pathway forward to know that I’m not alone. I want to do more listening than talking to help change someone’s experience. It helps make me a stronger ally.”
So, what’s next for Doug? “I want to partner with more non-profits to let them know that Schwab is here,” he explains. “There are many paths to start investing. I want to help African Americans gain access to capital. It’s a huge challenge with Black businesses. I want to help develop a strategy to address this untapped market, build community and move our D&I strategy forward.”
Doug is putting into practice what he’s learned to help serve his community on behalf of Schwab, and he believes in his and the company’s potential to drive access and opportunity. He recognizes that diverse leadership brings together different life experiences, perspectives, and approaches to find solutions. “Schwab is taking action,” he says. “We value D&I and we’re on the right track. I want to spread the word about the resources and experts available to help. We have people who look like you.”
Doug also stresses the importance of getting involved with Schwab’s employee resource groups (ERGs). “I’m a big supporter of Schwab’s ERGs as a great way to network and gain skill outside of your job or group,” he explains. “ERGs provide an opportunity to network with leaders and participate in activities beyond your current role – transferable skills that also help to achieve diversity and inclusion (D&I) strategy. Collaborating with other ERGs helps to build camaraderie.”
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