Launched in 2018, the Equality Impact Awards honor the contributions and leadership of women and allies that are changing historically, and often notoriously, unequal industries.
The awards are given to both women and allies in tech, retail and publishing who are breaking glass ceilings, fighting for equal pay, championing diversity and inclusion and ensuring that the workplace is better for themselves and those who come after them.
Today, we honor one of our 2019 winners, Samantha Katz, CEO & co-founder of Left Tackle Capital. Samantha answered 5 questions about the state of equality in the industry. Take a look!
1. If you could tell 16-year-old you one thing, what would it be?
You can never be too kind! *Thank you Allen Katz & Fran Hauser – for this inspiration. If you have access, resources and privilege, please make time to help others. Your wealth will be created by what you give, not by what you receive.
2. What was your dream job when you were just starting your career? How has that dream evolved?
I was originally going to be an environmental engineer or scientist because I wanted help solve for the world’s biggest environmental problems. I discovered quickly that my time and talent could be better utilized in roles building community and consensus for innovation around the environment and I got to spend 16 years doing just that.
Along the way, I have never stopped fighting for what I believe is right, but I have now transitioned to spending my everyday trying to solve for what I believe is the biggest systemic problem in our own backyard: the culture of money, the barriers to entry, the treatment of those with truly differentiated views in finance. We cannot afford to have this bias leave the industry and now more than ever is the time to embrace diversity of thought, upbringing and experience. Innovation and talent can come from places you’d never expect. In order to solve problems you have to go directly to the root cause. Asset management is broken. The inequality in asset management, approximately a $70 trillion dollar market in the US with 1% managed by women and people of color, is no longer good business. Advocating for systems wide change and looking for new vehicles and pathways towards this progress is how we allocate our time at Left Tackle Capital. Because it is just that: our time to innovate and advance the next generation of thought leaders in finance, women and diverse led teams in asset management.
3. What does gender equality mean to you?
Economic & Social Belonging. Inclusion: at work, at home, in society. We celebrate, champion and invest in diversity.
4. Who is one person in your industry who has inspired you in your fight for equality? How have they done so?
Every week for the last year, I have been publicly thanking women and men #inspiredbyyou who are building community and engaging in what have historically been uncomfortable conversations: around financial literacy, investing, how to ask for a job, for help, for a raise, etc. I don’t think we’d even have this moment in time to change things, to progress, if it weren’t for the men and women generations before, who carved the path for this conversation, and those rising who continue to champion inclusion and equality. There are too many to tag so I will just throw out a few organizations and their leaders who do so much to help women and champion diversity within the industry: 100 women in finance, PE Women Investor Network, WAVE, All Raise, National Association of Investment Companies (NAIC), Diverse Asset Manager Initiative (DAMI).
5. What’s one concrete next step that others can take to promote equality (of any sort) in the workplace?
People need human, social AND financial support to be successful. Ask someone how you can be helpful to them and then help! One simple to do: open your rolodex. It takes years to build relationships and not all of us have had the time to do that because we have been focused on our performance. If you really want to help, think of one person in your network who could be of help to the person asking and write the introductory email or even better make the call. Show your support. It takes less than 5 mins and could mean the world to the person asking for help. And if you can afford to do so, write them a check too.