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LINDSEY LEWIS

Director and chair of the State Farm Center for Women in Financial Services

The American College of Financial Services

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“Every top female performer I’ve spoken to, when I’ve asked if they ever wanted to leave the industry at some point, all said ‘Yes,’” said Lindsey Lewis, director and chair of The American College State Farm Center for Women in Financial Services.

There are a range of reasons, she said, including cultural nuances within a firm, the lack of a clear career path and a lack of flexibility regarding leaves of absence or part-time work. In response, Lewis is leading bimonthly discussion groups to generate ideas and solutions around attracting and retaining female talent. Ideas include a podcast featuring women in different roles in the industry and short master classes on practice management and career management.

“Women in the industry are at a reckoning point,” Lewis said. “We’ve been saying the same things for decades regarding lack of representation. But the volume of our voices is louder now because we have more female leadership, greater awareness of diversity and inclusion, and more male allies and advocates.”

“We [in the industry] are starting to rethink meritocracy, and what a good financial adviser looks like,” she added. “We’re looking more closely now at biases we may have, whether by age or gender.”

Deborah Nason