In 2016, the CFA Institute set a goal that 30% of its governing board would be comprised of women. This was a lofty goal considering women make up about 18% of the organization's members — a number that has held steady for two decades.
But the goal was reached ahead of schedule in 2017, and 5 of the 15 governors on the incoming board are women.
To top it off, the board made history Wednesday by electing women to fill both the chair and vice chair positions of leadership on the board. We already knew Heather Brilliant would succeed outgoing chair Robert Jenkins in September, but the election of Diane Nordin as vice chair cemented an all-female leadership team.
There are few professional organizations with a membership as diverse as the global network of CFA charterholders and members. The incoming board of governors includes members from seven countries and four continents.
It's an exciting time to be a woman who is a CFA charterholder.
The CFA Women in Investment Management Initiative is encouraging young women to consider a career in finance by awarding exam scholarships, conducting outreach on college campuses and raising the profile of senior women in the industry. Early results show an uptick in the number of female candidates sitting for the chartered financial analyst exams.
In 2015 my friend and CFA governor Leah Bennett established an annual conference focused on gender diversity that has grown in both the number of attendees and quality of content each year. This year's event in San Francisco in September will broaden the conversation to Diversity & Inclusion.
And Lauren Foster, co-lead of the Women in Investment Management Initiative at CFA Institute, has long curated and shared the work of female CFA charterholders on her blog and on Twitter using the hashtag #cfawomen.
Earning the CFA charter has enriched my life in more ways than I ever imagined when I spent hundreds of hours each spring cramming for the exams. I served as president of the CFA Society of Louisiana last year and have attended numerous leadership meetings around the globe. I was invited to speak on a panel at the 70th Annual Conference in Philadelphia, and recently moderated the CFA Wealth Management Conference in Los Angeles. Under the leadership of current CEO Paul Smith, I've noticed a remarkable emphasis not only on diversity and inclusion, but on the importance of raising standards in our profession in order to repair and build trust with clients and the public.
Congratulations to chair Brilliant and vice chair Nordin. Your service to our organization allows young women to see the possibilities that a career in investment management can bring.
Blair H. duQuesnay is an investment adviser at Ritholtz Wealth Management.