By Ronald J. Adams, Vice President, Field Diversity & Inclusion, Northwestern Mutual
At Northwestern Mutual, we know that being a strong and thriving company for our clients starts with our people — building a diverse team and an inspiring, inclusive workplace where everyone can be, and do, their best every day. The collective ideas, opinions, and creativity of a diverse workforce are necessary to deliver the financial security our clients need.
But we can’t stop there. We’re dedicated to supporting and promoting diversity not just within our company, but within our communities and the businesses and suppliers we partner with.
We want people to feel valued and respected for who they are and what they bring to the table. Which is why we cannot, and will not, tolerate racism, prejudice, or discrimination in any form.
To us, this isn’t just a corporate initiative. Creating a more inclusive company takes all of us working together in authentic ways at all levels of the organization. Nearly 50 groups representing employees and financial professionals across our company give input and insight into recruitment and retention, education, and community engagement to help us make an even bigger impact. Our award-winning Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are one example. They help us create a more diverse and inclusive mindset and workplace from the ground up – and are formed among commonalities of ethnicity/race, ability, gender, nationality, generation, military/veteran status, gender identity, and sexual orientation.
We also have significant focused efforts underway to drive specific impact across the enterprise and in our communities.
First, we are accelerating our efforts on sustained action for racial equity
Our business is designed to serve for generations to come – and so our approach to fighting racism is equally strategic and long-term.
This year, to build on our commitment to diversity and inclusion, we launched a new task force, chaired by our CEO John Schlifske. This team is looking at racism and inequality from multiple perspectives to identify what we can do to make the biggest difference in our company and communities with a long-term view – including a focus on creating a culture of belonging, advancing world-class talent, ensuring financial inclusion, and driving marketplace impact.
We have already taken bold steps to invest $20M in startup businesses with Black and African American founders and elevate our culture as we build momentum, and we will launch a broad slate of initiatives in 2021.
Second, we are focused on being a company where women want to join, stay, and grow as employees, financial representatives, and clients.
Women – of all races and ethnicities – are underrepresented in the financial services industry. We are committed to changing that by ensuring Northwestern Mutual is a company where a diversity of women thrive as employees, leaders, financial representatives and advisors, and clients.
We are taking steps to ensure we are recruiting women, delivering a comprehensive approach to developing women, and ensuring women have opportunities to advance at all levels of the organization.
We have also made significant commitments, including $20M invested in startup companies founded by women and we launched our inaugural Women in Technology conference.
Third, we’re committed to supporting and advancing inclusivity in the communities we serve.
For nearly 30 years, the mission of the Northwestern Mutual Foundation has been to improve the lives of children and families in need through financial support and volunteerism to build stronger communities. We’ve invested $28M to help under-served neighborhoods with housing support, access to youth and family resources, food programs and more.
Additionally, we’ve partnered with All-In Milwaukee, a college completion and career placement program strengthening education and career opportunities among talented-yet-underrepresented youth. It provides scholarships and internship, mentorship, and career opportunities to high-performing students.
We’re committed to taking deliberate and dynamic action to address deep-rooted issues that require a comprehensive approach. We won’t be silent – or sit on the sidelines today, or tomorrow.
As a mutual company, it is our responsibility to stand against that which divides us. We will work to comprehensively drive lasting change, in all the ways that we uniquely can – for our clients, employees, financial representatives and advisors, and our collective future.
Northwestern Mutual is the marketing name for The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company and its subsidiaries. Life and disability insurance, annuities, and life insurance with long-term care benefits are issued by The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, Milwaukee, WI (NM). Not all Northwestern Mutual representatives are advisors. Only those representatives with “Advisor” in their title or who otherwise disclose their status as an advisor of NMWMC are credentialed as NMWMC representatives to provide investment advisory services.