Celebrating Black History Month
In commemoration of Black History Month, members of Societe Generale Americas's Black Leadership Network (BLN) shared their insights on a variety of topics, such as their own experiences in the financial services industry and their observations on how the industry can improve opportunities for black professionals. The second interview in this series is with Keisha Flint of Global Markets, Sales.
How long have you been a member of the BLN?
Since its inception. I also serve on the board of America's Woman's Network (AWN), so I'm conscious of how powerful Employee Resource Groups can be. BLN can make a difference by raising visibility and bringing issues to the forefront.
How would you compare your experience with BLN to your experience with AWN?
I think about being a woman before I think about being a woman of color. Promoting women's issues at work is near and dear to my heart. But it also makes me aware of how important BLN is, and I try to go to as many BLN events as possible. It's a great network to be part of and a great way to show people that we're here.
What do you think the industry should do to improve the situation for black professionals in finance?
Overall, there is a lot of room for improvement. The numbers are still too low, and from what I read, we're losing ground, especially in the front-office capacity.
As an industry, the recruiting efforts toward minorities must be more targeted and aggressive. If you cast a wider net, then you're going to find qualified people. And if you're successful in recruiting them, you have to work hard to keep them.
But it's not only about the industry. The desire has to come from within. I got my start by going around the trading floor at my first company and looking for a job. I found someone who needed a junior salesperson to work on their team, and I asked him to give me a shot.
What's your personal call to help bring about change?
Senior minority people, including myself, need to go into universities and focus on finding the right people -- just like we do when it comes to recruiting women. If people don't see themselves represented somewhere, they're not going to aspire to that because they don't think there's a place for them.
I'm often in a professional situation where I am the only woman of color, or even the only person of color. I know people look to me as an example. I feel I have a responsibility that goes beyond my role of producing for the bank. I like inspiring other people around me, so it's a responsibility I take very seriously and wear proudly.