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ST. LOUIS – September 5, 2017 – Edward Jones today announced the launch of a firmwide network for female financial advisors – new and veteran – in a pledge to bring more women to the financial advisor role. The network, called WINGS -- or Women’s Initiative for New Growth Strategies-- offers tools, mentorship resources and coaching designed to strengthen and advance female career trajectories at the firm.
“At Edward Jones, more than one-quarter of our recruits are women – but the number should be higher,” said Monica Giuseffi, Principal of Financial Advisor Inclusion and Diversity at Edward Jones. “As the dynamics of our workforce and the clients we serve continue to evolve, we must embrace diversity of thought, background and experience across our firm. We are actively working to increase client impact by attracting, retaining and developing talented individuals from various backgrounds, with different life skills to most effectively address their needs.”
The reintegration of WINGS comes on the heels of a recent hiring pledge made by Edward Jones Managing Partner Jim Weddle in June. He was one of 150 CEOs to sign a CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion commitment to move forward and create a more diverse and inclusive work environment. Edward Jones recently was recognized as a one of the 100 Best Workplaces for Women by Great Place to Work® and Fortune magazine.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, women represent 57 percent of the labor force and currently control 51 percent of personal wealth, but comprise just 19 percent of financial advisors in the U.S. according to SIFMA. This is in part due to the lack of female representation and formal mentorship and sponsorship programs within corporations, as noted in previous Edward Jones studies.
“We see very few female mentorship programs in financial services across the board,” said Jennifer Marcontell, Edward Jones Financial Advisor in Houston. “But comradery, trust, people and confidence-building have always been part of Edward Jones’ culture. WINGS simply embraces all these core values in a larger, more structured program that builds both our female financial advisor and client base. Women are woefully underserved in both areas and we’re trying to change that.”
The re-energized WINGS program provides a greater network of Edward Jones’ female leaders – across many regions in the U.S. – who, like Marcontell, volunteer their time to attract, support and advocate for other financial advisors. It will provide more localized area and regional leadership through women and diverse inclusion specialists and bring women together for Early Success Coaching programs, Women Helping Other Women best practice sessions and networking lunches.
WINGS was originally introduced to the firm in 2009, and the firm has since seen a steady uptick in women joining the company as financial advisors. For more information about WINGS and Edward Jones’ women-focused initiatives, visit here.