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Baird: committed to inclusion & diversity

By Rodney Jones-Tyson, Global Chief Human Resources Officer - Baird

Baird has had Inclusion & Diversity programs for many years. In the past two years we have made an even more concerted effort to better support women and ethnic minorities within the firm and joining the firm. Our goal is to ensure that every associate can be their authentic self while feeling valued, respected and supported in building a meaningful career.

In 2020, a Special Task Force of Baird’s Executive Committee (EC) was formed to improve the experience of our associates from all cultures and ethnic origins. The Task Force was charged with implementing durable and sustainable changes to our organization. Some of our efforts include:

Bridge Builders Reverse Mentoring Program – In 2021, we launched our Bridge Builders mentoring program, which pairs members of Baird’s Executive Committee with associates of color. The roles are reversed where the Executive Committee member serves as the mentee. The program, which began its second cohort in 2022, aims to provide associate mentors a significant opportunity to engage and build relationships with firm leaders, while EC mentees continue their own I&D journeys.

UW-Madison Baird Scholars– This program offers four-year scholarships to 10 students from underrepresented populations across the country, to prepare them for a profession in wealth management.

Baird Multicultural Community Conference – In March, Baird hosted its first Multicultural Community Conference. The three-day event was an opportunity to network, learn and celebrate the contributions our diverse associates make to Baird’s success. More than 350 people attended including, EC members and other senior leaders.

Increased Representation of Women and Associates of Color at Baird – To help remove unconscious bias during the interview process, Baird’s Talent Acquisition team created hiring panels that focus on candidates’ competencies. To supplement that effort, we developed a training course called Interviewing Skills for Attracting Diverse Talent. We have also worked to increase the number of diverse candidates that are included in the second round of interviews and, for certain roles, we track where candidates are entering or exiting the process by gender and ethnicity. So far this year 46% of our hires have been women and 25% have been ethnically diverse.

Our innovative internship program has grown substantially and provides opportunities for hundreds of students each year. To develop a diverse pipeline, we partner with local organizations like All-In Milwaukee, MKE Fellows, Girls Who Invest, the Cristo Rey Network and Carmen High School, among others. Our undergraduate internship program in 2022 was 43% women and 30% ethnically diverse.

While we recognize that our efforts to create a truly inclusive and diverse workplace are an ongoing journey and we have a long way to go, we believe we are headed in the right direction.

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