Rising Star

Desiree Coleman

First Vice President, Diverse Client Segments Wells Fargo Advisors St. Louis

“It’s important to build skills to be comfortable feeling uncomfortable,” said Desiree Coleman, first vice president, diverse client segments, Wells Fargo Advisors.

To that end, she has led diversity and inclusion initiatives within this business division since 2018, serving about 20,000 employees nationwide.

One of the programs she launched is the local “Courageous Conversations” discussion series in the St. Louis area, covering topics such as equity, building an inclusive community, race and the arts, unconscious bias, and what it means to be an ally. Audiences have included Wells Fargo employees, nonprofit organizations and the public at large, with some 40% of attendees being white.

On a larger scale, Ms. Coleman introduced a two-day conference which included 275 employees from around the U.S., drawn from upper-level branch leadership. The first day covered the “why?” of diversity and inclusion and the second day featured peer-sharing by way of breakout sessions with facilitated conversations on recruiting and building inclusivity. Ms. Coleman said the firm will hold these conferences in different cities next year.

“This work is so deeply gratifying. It’s invigorating,” she said. "I have two little girls and I want to make things different for them when they enter the workforce.”

— Deborah Nason

Lifetime Achievement

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