See it, Be it Role Model
Gurinder S. Ahluwalia
CEO 280 CapMarkets San Francisco
Gurinder Ahluwalia founded 280 CapMarkets in the belief that its strength would come from its diversity, and that effective leadership would ensure that cultural values were part of the fabric of his company. Mr. Ahluwalia, who is of Indian heritage, exemplifies these beliefs by hiring employees from all backgrounds and ensuring that every level of leadership contributes to an inclusive, collaborative workplace.
His firm, a broker-dealer focused on attaining best execution of fixed income investments for advisory firms, has a leadership team of 11 and five of them are either women or ethnic minorities.
"The first thing you have to do in a service-oriented company is to be approachable and disarm people. You have to create a connection with people if you don't know them," Mr. Ahluwalia said. "Our diversity helps us do that better."
He's met about 500 advisers through his firm, many of whom have told him that engaging with him allowed them to better understand a community they hadn't known anything about prior to that.
"Many ask if they can ask me a personal question and I tell them that if I minded, I wouldn't be wearing a turban," he said.
Being sensitive to the current issues of inequality and discrimination, he has been an active contributor to human rights initiatives in India as a board member of Ensaaf, a nonprofit organization that focuses on providing justice for those persecuted by religious discrimination.
Also, he supports the Sikh Coalition, another nonprofit organization that works to increase awareness of religious persecution and provide justice to those who have experienced it.
— Kathy J. Mills