Developing Black leaders in financial services

More community-building, more strategic decision-making, and more growth opportunities among advisors and associates – just a few of the ways that diversity benefits our firm, and our people, at all levels.

As part of our firm’s pledge to the Black community, the Developing Black Leaders in Financial Services (DBLFS) program was spearheaded by Raymond James leaders, Paul Shoukry and Chris Aisenbrey, in close partnership with the Columbia Business School, to help Black leaders grow by addressing ongoing challenges.

We as a firm recognize we must do more to attract, promote and retain Black professionals, and we are committed to being leaders in changing longstanding industry shortcomings. That’s just one of the reasons this program has been designed to take a direct approach in the development of Black financial service professionals.

The DBLFS program at a glance

An alumnus of Columbia Business School, Shoukry set out to leverage his network and push toward the goal of making a meaningful impact through the DBLFS program – which involved spreading the word to other financial institutions.

“Black representation is a void at a leadership level, but this isn’t just a problem Raymond James faces, it’s industrywide,” said Shoukry. “This program was built for up-and-coming Black senior leaders across the profession to develop the skills, establish the knowledge base and create a network of likeminded people who share similar life experiences. The program’s goal is to fill the gap in the professional development market, not solely at Raymond James.”

Consisting of two modules over two years, each session is taught by leading faculty at the Columbia Business School, both in person and virtually. Not only does the program help participants expand their network but also the subject matter and discussions directly address the challenges faced by Black financial professionals, especially those who have the ambition to become leaders of their organizations.

Aisenbrey, who worked closely with Shoukry to establish and promote the DBLFS program, said, “Internally, at a senior level, we were asking ourselves if we were doing enough to move the needle when it comes to the recruitment, retention and development of Black associates across the firm. That discussion – and reflection – was the catalyst when it came to establishing a program designed specifically to help develop and provide resources for Black leaders in financial services.”

Shoukry added, “I can praise the impact of the DBLFS program all day long, but the true value lies in what participants have to say about it.”

Hear from past program participants