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Wednesday, July 06, 2022

MMI Builds a Gateway

Reported by Andrew Lusk, Associate Reporter

This spring, Sarit Abramowicz joined the Money Management Institute (MMI) in a new role leading the MMI Gateway Foundation. It's one change in a slate of initiatives from MMI that aim to promote diverse talent within the financial services industry.

Sarit Abramowicz
Money Management Institute
First Vice President, Director of the MMI Gateway Foundation
Craig Pfeiffer, MMI's chief, tells MFWire that Abramowicz's addition will make a big difference in the scope of projects the foundation will be able to take on, including in attracting and retaining talent from underrepresented backgrounds.

"We created the position of program director and then went out and found somebody with great credentials, energy, and passion," explains Pfeiffer.

With this new hire, the foundation's mission of boosting college graduates of color in the financial services industry will move forward in terms of internship offerings, entry-level career move opportunities, and community-oriented financial literacy programs.

This year also marks the second cohort of the MMI Gateway Foundation Executive IQ program, developed with the University of Virginia, Microsoft, and PWC. Pfeiffer explains that the Executive IQ program centers around "developing tomorrow's leaders in a world of innovation demands, disruption demands, and artificial intelligence."

The MMI CEO continues, "One of the biggest problems with entry-level [employees] is not finding them, but keeping them ... When underrepresented entry-level [employees] show up at our firms, by definition, they don't see anybody ahead ... who look like them."

Without a solid network of mentors and higher-ups from similar backgrounds, Pfeiffer explains, entry-level employees may find themselves wondering if it's even possible to be promoted within an organization that looks nothing like them.

"You need that diversity at the middle-management level as well as the senior management level," he notes.

Attracting individuals with transferable skills from other industries into financial services is another primary goal of the Gateway Foundation. Pfeiffer says, "There are very few positions within our industry where you have to grow up in the job."

The sheer number of roles within financial services — including strategy, marketing, management, and advising — means that folks from all across the board in previous career areas are eligible to switch into the industry.

Pfeiffer notes that insurance, banking, and the payment space are considered adjacent industries where recruiting will prove fruitful, while the "open field" of other professions will always be worth looking into for talent. 

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