Lule Demmissie

There’s something different about this moment in our history. A collective awakening is taking place that is fostering a feeling of “we’re in this together” among many shades of Americans. Yes, there is also an ugly intolerance showing its face, but I’m much more energized by the numbers of people realizing that the problem of systemic racism is a collective challenge we all have to band together to take on for the collective health of our families, communities and places of work.

For many folks in the corporate sector, this meant a shared sense mission and an ability to openly discuss the needed reforms in our places of work, both on a policy scale and in small but meaningful ways. I’m finding myself challenging policies I did not think I could before. The moment has called on us all to be braver in our places of employment. And to their credit, many companies like Ally are earnestly looking to advance equality in this second Civil Rights era. Embracing diversity, equity and inclusion is not just the right thing to do, it is good business in an increasingly multi-racial world. It’s good for our employees, it’s good for our customers, it’s good for our communities and ultimately, it’s good for our shareholders.

This latitude to make an impact in an essential sector like financial services is the reason I relish my role at Ally Invest. Wealth accumulation through investing is not simply for the wealthy. Long term investing, be it via our 401(k)s, IRAs or other investment accounts is an essential tool to help close our personal wealth gap. As barriers to investing are obliterated through digital innovation, we as an industry now need to help make investing a welcoming place for a wide range of Americans – both in the products and services we design as well as the “voices” of investors we highlight. I’m hopeful that we will not let this moment pass. That we’ll continue to challenge ourselves and our institutions to further open the gates of opportunity for diverse stories and leaders which will, no doubt, shape a more vibrant and purpose-driven future for fintech.